That such a final, tragic, and awful thing as suicide can exist in the midst of remarkable beauty is one of the vastly contradictory and paradoxical aspects of life and art. The extraordinary and seemingly counterintuitive level of control found in many of van Gogh's last canvases, completed just before his suicide, finds comparable calm and lyricism in lines by Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky who, like van Gogh, committed suicide when he was in his mid thirties:
It's after one.
You must have gone to bed.
The Milky Way runs like a silvery river through the night.
I'm in no hurry
and with lightning telegrams
there's no need to wake and worry you.
As they say
the incident is closed
The love boat
has smashed against convention
Now you and I are through
No need then
To count over mutual hurts, harms, and slights.
Just see how quiet the world is!
Night has laid a heavy tax of stars upon the sky.
In hours like these you get up and you speak
To the ages, to history, and to the universe.
This excerpt is from a book titled: Touched With Fire, Manic-Depressive Illness and The Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison (who incidentally suffers from manic-Depressive illness and is also the author of a revealing memoir titled: An Unquiet Mind
** This poem is really profound and lovely. I am amazed at the clarity and ease by which it seems these poets and artists create, especially just before their suicides. The same seems to have held true for Sylvia Plath who wrote some of her most revealing and profound writings and poems just prior to her death by suicide at the age of thirty. As you will find this is 'The' subject I am deeply involved in researching; the correlation between psychiatric illness, melancholy, the creative temperament and its relation to spirituality or lack thereof. My research is evolving each time I find something new that sparks my creative urge to find out more...call it an obsession, but it is also a deep seated need to find the seemingly 'elusive' answer to what, why and how this happens to amazingly creative souls of this world.