the ineffable secrets of light

Greetings, my delightful digital friends!

I wrote this poem after reading a fascinating article about Vincent Van Gogh this morning, citing some new theories that he did not in fact commit suicide.

Whether or not that is true, Van Gogh suffered greatly from depression and psychosis throughout his cruelly short 37 years of life.

Most sad of all, his recognition as a master of the Post-Impressionistic period of Western art came posthumously. He died in poverty, considered by many a madman.

So this poem arose from my immediate need to honor the artist as well as offer some modicum of hope for those struggling with mental illness.

Van Gogh wrote about the redemptive power of (and potential for) transformation after his series of paintings titled Butterflies was released in 1889 and 1890.

This poem also seeks to incorporate that metaphor as well.

I loved writing this poem, and I truly hope you feel a connection with it, too.

As always, please let me know your thoughts / feelings / reactions to the poem in the Leave a Reply comment section at the bottom of the page.

-PS Conway ☘️ ☘️ ☘️

☘️ ☘️ ☘️ ☘️ ☘️

the ineffable secrets of light

lost in dark thoughts that swirl ‘round my mind

like moths at night seeking to discover

the ineffable secrets of light

caught in a museum, captive on a bench,

less the aesthete and more the subject of the art

a snapshot of a life that accretes dust

until buried ‘neath the detritus of time

and yet there is dogged hope in beauty

to be transformed like Van Gogh’s butterflies

and ne’er refute our lines or colors or form

designed and curated, our pain displayed

like the old man in At Eternity’s Gate

until the requirements of the day call us away

to find soft joys such distractions sustain

for outside that gallery, we are dandelion seeds

fragile on a breeze ‘long life’s gray highways

only to settle deep, take root, then fight to re-create


  1. I love this image of the viewer sitting in the museum dreaming of being captured for eternity by the artist. Otherwise, we are just grey dust. This encapsulates the value of art as a record-keeper. Without it, nothing beautiful would exist for more than a few seconds. Perfect poem Pat.

  2. As someone who battles with mental health disorders, I appreciate the thoughts in this poem. The idea that we can feel down and depressed but be memorialized through art. And how we will end up as dandelion seeds after leaving the gallery makes me never want to leave. Lol. People just mow over dandelions like they aren’t there and have no purpose, which tells me to continue to always be molded into that perfect work of art so not to be reduced to life as dandelion seeds along the Highway.

    1. Thanks, PS. Yeah, i think art can sometimes be the refuge as well as something transformative, much like what Van Gogh was after with “Butterflies.” The notion of re-creating ourselves and the hope that could bring is also in play with those pesky dandelion seeds. Big hugs, my friend. 🦋🙏🏻🍷🌹✨

  3. Van Gogh, an inspirational artist but a troubled soul. He chose a life of austerity to follow is dream … “I dream of painting and I paint my dream” which he did prolifically, at a cost to his physical and mental health. A man with fire in his belly, little food and ultimately a bullet, so sad.
    Art was in a state of metamorphosis, risk taking and rule breaking became the norm, Van Gogh and others were pioneers of this movement. He was and is an inspiration to artists.
    If you have a dream, paint it, write it, be it, never give up on it. That is his legacy.
    Sensitively written as always on a subject that is also my passion.
    Thank you 🙏

    1. Sandie! How I loved this response. Your passion for the man, the art, and his struggles is simply amazing. Thank you so much! 🦋🙏🏻🌹🍷✨

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