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STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: S. (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 09, 2003 08:17AM

Vincent Van Gogh -- Starry night --

I realize it's an old song, and this is probably an ignorant question; but ... could you please help me understand who ... "They" are? throughout the lyrics? (eg: "They would not listen, They did not know how, Perhaps they'll listen now", and etc.)

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

I'd appreciate any insight you can offer. TY.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Les (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: June 09, 2003 12:08PM

Critics.

Les


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: marian2 (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: June 09, 2003 01:26PM

Van Gogh got almost no recognition of his talent as an artist during his lifetime. One article published just before his death appreciated and praised his work. The public, other artists and critics just didn't seem to understand or appreciate what he was trying to do, so he had a constant fight to establish himslef and keep his self-belief. Starry, starry night is written from the viewpoint of someone more modern, who understands and appreciates Van Gogh's work and Van Gogh himself, and is trying to tell him so. 'They' are Van Gogh's contemporaries, who undermined his confidence and that, and the personal problems in his life eventually led him to shoot himself.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Marian-NYC-Alaska (---.anc.acsalaska.net)
Date: June 11, 2003 05:18PM

Now I understand ...
How you tried to set THEM free.

For THEY could not love you
and yet your love was true.

====

I agree that some of THEM are critics who failed to embrace Van Gogh's art until after his death -- LONG after!

But in the four lines above, I think that "they" also refers to the people Van Gogh drew and painted, esp. when he was unable to connect with them socially or emotionally. In his early, dark drawings, he wanted to draw attention to the suffering of poor agricultural workers, but THEY did not appreciate his interest or his representation of them at their worst: e.g., filthy and drunk. And later, less dramatically, there were people whom Vincent could relate to only by painting them, esp. when his mental illness made a normal social life impossible.

====

There's a pretty good movie, VINCENT AND THEO, about the artist and his brother. Theo was Vincent's best friend, maybe his only close friend, his agent and representative, his financial supporter... Theo's commitment to Vincent cost him his marriage and his health, and after Vincent died, Theo basically died of grief. The Don McLean song sounds to me like Theo's stream-of-consciousness after Vincent's death, so it never bothers me that the word "they" changes meaning during the song.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Keeper of Light (---.texoma.net)
Date: June 12, 2003 04:45PM

S.

I am surprised to see this on here. This is my favorite song of all time. Vincent by john mclain. Lovely. The they he is refering to is probably everyone.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Antares (---.74.40.242.Dial1.SanFrancisco1.Level3.net)
Date: June 12, 2003 07:26PM


other than the song "Amazing Grace", this song is also amongst my favorites. and for a number of years in my life, it was my favorite.


Thank you all!
Posted by: S. (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 13, 2003 08:01PM

I appreciate the insight, thank you for taking the time to reply! This has always been one of my favorite soulful songs, I have a print of the artwork over my bed.

Obviously those of us that peruse the "Poetry Archives" website, have a shared love of the art, and personally speaking, I've always identified with Vincent's "heart".

Until next time --

Susan


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: S. (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 13, 2003 08:04PM

Thank you for the reply --

It's funny that you mention "Amazing Grace", because it's another one of my favorites!

Take care --

Susan


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: holly sharp (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 16, 2003 06:25PM

Although I do not KNOW...my interpretation is that the art world, and the impressionists of the time, did not understand his art, his view of the world.

The author understands what Vincent is trying to say in his paintings. Now that he is dead (?) people understand his work. During his lifetime, they discounted him. He was unable to sell his work, and he was disparaged as insane.

I used to use this song in an art/poetry lesson. Do you know who sings it, what album it is in? I'd like to buy it.

Holly


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Les (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: June 16, 2003 06:59PM

Holly, a list of albums containing the song Vincent can be found here:

[www.allmusic.com] />
Les


Starry, starry night ...song
Posted by: Henryp (213.78.106.---)
Date: June 16, 2003 07:56PM

Yes, but you ought to go for Don McLean's original version on his 1971 album American Pie.

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton and published in the Olney Hymns in 1779 as Faith's Review and Expectation. Judy Collins sang it with a woderfully atmospheric sound on her 1970 album Whales and Nightingales.

JUDY COLLINS: With 'Amazing Grace,' which I had always sung with friends, I said to Mark, "Let's open it up, get a bunch of friends together." Some of the people from the encounter group. My brother. Stacy. Josh and his girl friend. Susan Evans, who played drums for me, still does from time to time. John Cooke, Alistair Cooke's son, who had a fine voice. Not professional singers, just a whole gang of friends, really.

JAC HOLZMAN: People that Judy or Mark knew, mostly white, mature, some music business people, but non-professional voices. And me.

JUDY COLLINS: I said to Mark and John, "Where to record? What's wonderful?" Mark had gone to Columbia and knew about St. Paul's chapel. He and John went up and took a look, and it was ideal, a beautiful, tiny little round-domed stone-tiled cathedral, green tile, with a stained glass window.

Henry


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: S. (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 17, 2003 07:41AM

I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. I have always loved this song, of ... Vincent.


Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds and violet haze
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colours changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artists' loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left inside
On that starry, starry night
You took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you Vincent
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen
They're not listening still
Perhaps they never will...


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Antares (---.74.42.214.Dial1.SanFrancisco1.Level3.net)
Date: June 18, 2003 10:19PM


thanks for posting the lyrics to the song about vincent.

and thanks for suggesting the vocal version of "amazing grace" to buy. this question has been in the back of my mind for many years. much appreciated.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: vicki (---.elztwn01.pa.comcast.net)
Date: April 21, 2004 07:14PM

Van Gogh spent quite a lot of time as a missionary and he helped people to be happier, as he was dealing with his own depression. I think that has something to do with the faces that he saw in pain, along with his own epilepsy and lack of recognition


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: lg (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 21, 2004 08:32PM

Pretty good artist:

[www.vangoghgallery.com] />

Les


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: lg (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: April 21, 2004 08:44PM

Here's the referenced painting with some commentary:

[www.vangoghgallery.com] />

Les


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: michel (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: May 21, 2004 03:17AM

"Vincent fell in love with Kee and was devastated when she rejected his advances. The unfortunate episode concluded with one of the most memorable incidents in Van Gogh's life. After being spurned by Kee, Vincent decided to confront her at her parents house. Kee's father refused to let Vincent see his daughter and Vincent, ever determined, put his hand over the funnel of an oil lamp, intentionally burning himself. Vincent's intent was to hold his hand over the flame until he was allowed to see Kee. Kee's father quickly defused the situation by simply blowing out the lamp and Vincent left the house humiliated."
[www.vangoghgallery.com] />
Vincent never had a happy love life. Another way of interpreting "they" in "For they could not love you..." is as a reference to the women in his life.
That makes sense because, if i am not mistaken, vincent main objective in his art was expression rather than recognition. Thatīs why I donīt think "they" refer to people in general at the time.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: michel (---.user.veloxzone.com.br)
Date: May 21, 2004 03:18AM

"Vincent fell in love with Kee and was devastated when she rejected his advances. The unfortunate episode concluded with one of the most memorable incidents in Van Gogh's life. After being spurned by Kee, Vincent decided to confront her at her parents house. Kee's father refused to let Vincent see his daughter and Vincent, ever determined, put his hand over the funnel of an oil lamp, intentionally burning himself. Vincent's intent was to hold his hand over the flame until he was allowed to see Kee. Kee's father quickly defused the situation by simply blowing out the lamp and Vincent left the house humiliated."
[www.vangoghgallery.com] />
Vincent never had a happy love life. Another way of interpreting "they" in "For they could not love you..." is as a reference to the women in his life.
That makes sense because, if i am not mistaken, vincent main objective in his art was expression rather than recognition. Thatīs why I donīt think "they" refer to people in general at the time.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: May 21, 2004 11:58AM

How did he blow out the lamp if Vincent's hand was on top of it? Turned down the flame, sure.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: May 21, 2004 03:02PM

Maybe he raised the glass to blow at flame height, that's what I do with my lamp, otherwise I have been know to turn too far and the wick falls into the oil.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: May 21, 2004 03:11PM

Vincent Van Hand
Vincent Van Lamp
Lamp out blow
Vincent Van Go


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: May 21, 2004 07:20PM


Johnny, you've written a very nice little poem (despite your best efforts, it seems).

========

I don't know much about oil lamps (don't know much biology...), but I know that the air comes IN through the bottom to feed the flame, and the heat rises UP through the opening at the top of the funnel. So I think you could blow the lamp out. Interesting the subjects we get too...

=======

And while we're on the subject of STARRY STARRY NIGHT (the painting -- thanks, LG, for that link): A lot of people buy posters of this painting for their homes. Personally, I never wanted it in my home. To me, it's a paranoid schizophrenic's view of the night sky. The stars look like bombs exploding. The sky itself looks like an ocean with a tidal wave about to drown the world. Interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

I much prefer Van Gogh's harvest scenes.

There is only ONE VG painting that I've seen that portrays a desireable world. I saw it for the first time when the new big paining galleries opened at the Met (museum) in 1980. It's called THE FIRST STEPS and you can look at it here:

[www.vangoghgallery.com]


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: May 22, 2004 09:45AM

I have to raise the glass because the ventilation holes are small and form a ring on the underside of the wick holder, the glass is too tall and the wick too wide to blow from the top effectively. We keep a couple of lamps available in case the power lines come down again.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: May 24, 2004 09:41AM

Lol @ "despite my best efforts"

thanks


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: May 24, 2004 11:29AM

I have a tie with starry night on it.

Just because you're paranoid doesnt mean people aren't following you.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: Graci (---.plus.com)
Date: June 22, 2004 02:33PM

he has a way of painting. it is very touching


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: lg (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: June 22, 2004 04:02PM

Errant post, sorry! sad smiley

Les



Post Edited (06-22-04 16:27)


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: R. (---.range217-44.btcentralplus.com)
Date: July 23, 2004 07:06PM


S.

ugly poem and and even worse as a song


R.


Re: STARRY, starry night ... lyrics
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: July 23, 2004 09:16PM

Only in the eye of the beholder / ear of the listener




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