Take This Tune

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009 by Travis Cody in

Take This Tune is a new meme hosted by my pal Jamie at Duward Discussion. Jamie puts up a video prompt complete with lyrics to the song, and the task is to write something inspired by the title of the song or something in the lyrics.

I'm including the video this time because this is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists. This is Vincent by Don McLean.

I can feel myself becoming uneasy as September approaches. It's an unease that builds slowly. It makes me jumpy and I don't really sleep all that well. I haven't quite been able to minimize it, even after 8 years.

The events of 11 September 2001 haunt me still.

But the unease runs it's course. In the days following 11 September each year, it fades and I find that I can breathe again and let the ache recede. The day never really goes away. But the images from it aren't constantly in my thoughts after the day goes by.

The lyrics to the song Vincent are so evocative. Even if you knew nothing of Vincent van Gogh, you can be moved by these lyrics in some way. And I think that is the power of art and music. It can bring whatever you might need to a moment. It can stir passion, or settle unease, or do both at once.

At this time of year, I need to know that beauty can still be found despite unimaginable pain and loss. I've never looked at a van Gogh and not been disturbed by the warped yet magnificent beauty in it.

Disturbed...put out of order, disarranged, unsettled, agitated, distressed.

Sometimes I need to be disrupted a little. And I guess that's what this time of year does for me. It disrupts me, reminding me that although I feel safe and comforted in my life right now, I need to keep working to maintain it. It's not time yet for me to relax.

I still owe a lot to my family, my community, and my country. And that helps me find perspective. The perspective gives me strength. And the strength keeps me from being frozen in place like I was on that Tuesday 8 years ago.

Thank you for this prompt, Jamie. It's perfect timing.

Vincent (Starry Starry Night) by Don McLean

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 the 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,
How you suffered for your sanity,
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 in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
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 in sight
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.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the strangers that you've met,
The ragged men in the 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,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will...

If you're new to the Peace Globe movement, please go here to view the Peace Globe Gallery and here to learn how to make your own Globe. Then join us on 5 November 2009 by flying your Globe under the post title Dona Nobis Pacem.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.

The Silence of Peace, Papa's Marbles
The Doll Box


  1. Anonymous says:

    September 11th makes me uneasy as well. So much happened that day to change our world. So many innocents lost.

    It rocked my sense of peace...My view of the world is no longer the same as it was before that event.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Great post Trav and the song is one of my absolute favourites! :)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let me add, that I had the pleasure of seeing a major Van Gogh exhibit many years ago during a trip to Amsterdam. I adore his impasto technique. It lends a textural quality to his work.

  1. barb says:

    I absolutely adore this song!

    Nothing will ever be the same after 9-11. How could it be? We now know with complete certainty how easy it is to be attacked and also we know that there are many who are actively seeking to do so.

    I remember sitting in my office and seeing the first news alert come up on my computer. I knew it was no accident - that it was an attack - immediately. I closed the office and went home and watched the second tower get hit.

    "Not the end... but the beginning of the end" was the phrase that came to my mind.

  1. Jamie says:

    Travis, You again totally captured that idea of the Take This Tune meme. Art can be upsetting and rearrange the viewpoint or express the power of a moment. It can both disturb and bring peace. I hope that this 9/11, you will find comfort and resolution to face the day.

  1. Outstanding post, Travis. I had never heard this particular Don McLean song until today, and I love it.

    And I agree with you. I need to be "disturbed" once in a while too.

  1. Bond says:

    You know this is how I deal each year also Travis...

    This year, Nancy and I will be in Jamaica and I had not thought about it before this weekend.

    Pre-planning posts for while I am away and will link to my original post from that day...but still not sure if it will be anything else.

  1. Linda says:

    "Starry, Starry Night" always makes me cry due its poignancy and pain as well as its beauty. It just describes Van Gogh's life so perfectly.

    September 11th will never be the same for any of us again, I'm afraid. It's a day when we all probably wonder how safe we really are in this world. I can't look at a beautiful blue September sky here in Connecticut without remembering the horror that came out of those skies and the death and destruction that men visited upon other men. It changed September so very many of us which just goes to show that terrorism is far-reaching and long-lasting and needs to be wiped out.

  1. I'm pretty sure I've never heard this song.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Awesome Travis. 9/11 changed every single one of us some how and in some way. Something we will all have to endure for our life time. Great post.

  1. Wonderful post for Jamie's meme, Travis. Similar to mine but mine has a slightly different point... The song "Vincent" still makes me cry. :)

  1. The day approaches again. We need to stop and remember. It is strangely healing to be jolted in this way, isn't it? Odd, but true.

    Beautiful post.

    And thank you for promoting peace globes.

  1. Julie says:

    "Sometimes I need to be disrupted a little."


    I enjoy reading your poignant thoughts.

  1. samantha says:

    I love these tag thingies. Gives me something to write about when I think all the rest of my life is boring. :)
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