A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tower Of Song

But you'll be hearing from me baby, long after I've gone / I'll be speaking to you sweetly from a window in the tower of song LEONARD COHEN Tower Of Song

It's a strange but interesting fact that Rilke, Hölderlin and Yeats — three of our most brilliantly creative European poets, and three of my favourite writers — all spent part of their lives in hermit-like seclusion ensconced in 'towers', from where they produced some of their most intense and inspired work.

Here's a quatrain I wrote the other day about the ambivalent private/public life of the artist. You may also interpret it from a blogger's perspective, if you wish. I suppose 'This public refuge' could be any soul-baring, personal yet published work (or work available to others apart from the writer) — and that includes a blog. I wrote it in French because I'm drenched in French at the moment (having spoken it a lot, albeit imperfectly, during my recent week in Switzerland). Also Rilke wrote most of his Castle Muzot poems in French.

Tour de Chanson

Ce refuge public
Demi-ouvert, demi-secret
S'offre au monde
Comme un Muzot de mots

(This public refuge
Half-open, half-secret
Offers itself to the world
Like a Muzot of words)


am said...

Good to read your quatrain today. Thank you for continuing to share your poetry. A "public refuge." A "Tour de Chanson."

I was reminded of Robinson Jeffers' Hawk tower, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He built it for his wife, Una. I was fortunate to be able to visit there in October of 2008.


Herringbone said...

Good stuff. Had no idea Cohen was semi contemporary.Don't we all have similar towers? Thoreau and that friggin cabin. Abbey and the desolate desert. Beston and his outermost house. Rilke appeared to have some pretty nice companionship.Quatrain. Right on. And Francais. So incredibly sweet.Life imitating... Wonderful post.

The Solitary Walker said...

I'd forgotten about the Jeffers, am. Thanks for reminding me of this.

Thanks for your comment, Herringbone, and for your continued reading of my blog. Yes, I think many of us do have similar metaphorical if not literal towers. For my own part, I think I would go crazy without one.

George said...

Yes, half-open and half-secret, but where is the balance. We are made for both community and solitude, two forces that always tend to leave us suspended in the ambivalence of which you speak.

Like you and many others, I could not survive without a "tower" of refuge. It's a running joke in my family that I usually prefer to be ensconced in my "ivory tower." While I always put up a small defense, the truth is that my family is right; I have a strong, instinctive preference for the quiet, creative solitude of the tower.

Ruth said...

Oh my, I have missed your last three posts, which are rich indeed. I need time with each. I'll be back soon.

The Solitary Walker said...

The great thing about towers, George, is that (unless someone locks us in and throws away the key) we can choose to climb down the winding staircase whenever we want and rejoin society for as long as we want. Knowing at all times that the tower/creative refuge is always there — either literally or in our imagination.

Missed you too, Ruth! See you soon.

Ruth said...

Yes, and Jung's tower at Bolingen. I admire your ability to write a poem in French. Muzot becomes a lovely symbol of solitude for the writer. However much I am besotted with my new grandson, I long to be back in mine for reflection. Some things are almost impossible to put into words, yet I will go on trying.

These posts are just tremendous.