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Why you need to have a happy workforce

13th June 2023

Tuesday Poem: Omar Sabbagh’s ‘After Van Gogh’

The poet Omar Sabbagh gives us a meditation on the work ethic of the great painter.


After Van Gogh


Think of a man gone past like this:

unschooled by any length of scholarship,

but still seeing a path through and by

the brimming cup and rip of his seeping madness,

a way of doing things with paint

and an eye, a wholly newly naked way

of haggling with the daylight and the night,

and then to let all the others see the whip-

like pictures built from a mind’s priest-less cathedral.

He made his mark on history, fusing to a trouble

time’s wide white canvas, mimicking the rain,

the fearsome hail-stroke of living.  What was natural

to him, his early death, was the very letter of that

early death spelt in the desperate, breathless color

and might that crowned him with their feats

and with the more halcyon golden bells of hindsight.

He died penniless, disregarded, going under

the earth alone; but he’d made, the while, color wonder,

and light made to sunder the gift of light.


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