If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,”

Then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

 

-Vincent Van Gogh

 

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There came a key to mad Van Gogh;

There came a madman’s eye

 

That saw a terror in the crows

That swarmed a trembling sky;

 

And though mad Vincent never knew

The gain within the gift,

 

He never lost the golden key

That scarcely he could lift!

 

Dwarfed by the trees that rose like fiends,

He painted where he stood,

 

And through the branches brushed the stars

That swirled above the woods

 

And in each star, the face of Man,

He claimed as if his own;

 

And in their beauty, found a truth

That is by wise men known;

 

For God, in trust, gives not his keys

With charms and binding strings,

 

But patiently will wait on faith,

The rarest of all things

 

He gives what keys cannot be lost,

But leaves not his consent

 

For gifts to perish in disuse

Or bleak bewilderment

 

He gives keys freely like the dawn

That crushes as it thrills

 

By pouring forth its Light Divine

Upon the waking hills

 

He gives keys heavy like a heart

That bears a burden old

 

Or beats beneath a hoary breast

In rhythms, quick and bold

 

Therefore, did Vincent turn the lock;

Therefore, did he descend

 

Into the pit of Man’s despair

And, there, his key, defend

 

Against the craven beast within

That shudders in the fear

 

Of those who have not keys themselves

Or have no business here.

 

 

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