Friday, November 20, 2009


I was reminded today of one of my best of all best movies (Der Himmel Uber Berlin, a.k.a. Wings of Desire) AND provided with the link* to a favorite scene (only the subway scene and the sudden full-color coffee-drinking scene at the Berlin wall offer competition). In case this film is new to you (or like me you are lost without subtitles): the overcoats and pulled-back hair are angels who  hear our every thought and the old man climbing the stairs at the end is a poet, composing his lyric masterwork. The juxtaposition of his inner poetry with the feebleness of his old man's body simply delights me:

*culled from a post on fatherhood and philosophy on Samizdat.

Of course, you probably also ought to be warned that it was this movie alone that finally decided my brother-in-law to NEVER take movie suggestions from me again.  Several minutes of the main love interest reciting poetry to her man at their first meeting was more than he thought he could ever bear to witness again.

For me though, this movie, besides being quirky and beautiful which is what true delight requires, also makes manifest a reality more real than a work of more obvious realism. 

(How's that for conundrum?)

But like Merwin's "Berryman":

he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally
And I do.  And today's writing was such manic, mantic fun - I am nothing but glad I threw a wrench in the works a few days ago - the river pirates (from a time long long away in the future) may steal stubborn and misbehaving characters but they do have a refreshing irreverence that hides a surprisingly philosophical side (which they have revealed to their current anthropologizer through some of their ancient psalms and troubadour songs).  It may surprise you to discover that you recognize some of their foundational texts.  Such as: 
  • "Fly Like an Eagle (to the sea . . . till I'm free.  Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin')" 
  • "Time after Time (if you fall I will catch you - I will be wading [they're river pirates after all])"
  • "Time (flowing like a river . . . till it's Gone Forever)"  
  • "The Rose (Some say love it is a river . . .)"
  • "Proud Mary (Rollin', rollin' on a river)" 
  • "Deep River Woman  (comin' home to you)" 
  • "Fields of Gold (upon the fields of barley you'll forget the sun in his jealous sky)" 
  • and "In the Sunshine of Your Love"  - which has many surprising and fascinating parallels to John Donne's "Busy old fool, unruly Sun, Why dost thou thus . . ."  Someone really ought to write a monograph.
The river bargee's psalm of joy brought joy to Fritz, too, when I read its ancient text to him - after pointing out the importance of "Time" in their philosophy.  In part:

Let's all celebrate and have a good Time
We gonna celebrate and have a good Time

Nearly profound, what? . . . as in deep water . . .

wordcount: 33,418  - still behind but making steady progress


Mrs. Organic said...

Mr. O and I enjoy a good foreign film, but something tells me I'd be viewing this one solo. It looks interesting.

Who knew river pirates could be so philosophical

Emma J said...

Actually, I think Mr O might have seen this one in the long long ago. I have a vague memory of talking about it with him once while waiting for Fritz . . . maybe?

Mrs. Organic said...

I'll have to check, he is a fellow FF afficionado.

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