Sunday, March 25, 2007
Artistic Freedom and Jim Morrison
During his brief life Jim Morrison was once quoted as saying, "If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel."
Jim Morrison was a rebel poet subjected to severe censor and punishment for behavior that today is more or less expected of rock stars. Yet, in March of 1969, Morrison was arrested on stage for "indecent exposure" and sentenced to eight months of hard labor. The real crime for which Morrison was found guilty; was expression of music and lyrics both iconoclastic and anarchist in a refusal to accept social repression and restraint.
Artistic freedom as defined by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment was on trial and freedom lost the day Morrison was sent to prison. The Morrison that appeared after his incarceration was a ghost of the youth who sang, "You can light my fire." Dispirited and in failing health due to heroin addiction, Morrison disappeared from the limelight.
Morrison moved to Paris with his longtime partner and spent his last days writing poetry. He read the poetry of Rimbaud, Verlaine and Baudelaire and strolled through Pere-Lachaise; city of the dead. It is understandable that Morrison was attracted to these French poets as they were interested in the relationship between music and poetic language. Although Morrison's poetry was rich and promising in imagery, he died of a presumed overdose of heroin before his literary voice reached maturity.
Despite his untimely death, Morrison held the line for art and inscribed on his tomb in Pere-Lachaise are the Greek words; "KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOVA meaning, True to his Spirit."
Morrison infused rock music with a vital, dynamic and rich literary context. If you are interested in a more scholarly discussion of his music follow the links. Morrison's rock group was named, "The Doors" in the tradition of Aldous Huxley; inviting others to walk through and find their light. To this day Morrison remains an icon and a cult figure.
This poem of Baudelaire written long before the birth of Morrison serves as a fine literary requiem.
by: Charles Baudelaire
AM as lovely as a dream in stone,
And this my heart where each finds death in turn,
Inspires the poet with a love as lone
As clay eternal and as taciturn.
Swan-white of heart, a sphinx no mortal knows,
My throne is in the heaven's azure deep;
I hate all movements that disturb my pose,
I smile not ever, neither do I weep.
Before my monumental attitudes,
That breathe a soul into the plastic arts,
My poets pray in austere studious moods,
For I, to fold enchantment round their hearts,
Have pools of light where beauty flames and dies,
The placid mirrors of my luminous eyes.