Friday, January 22, 2010

My soul's friend

Thinking about the tail end of a Charlie Rose interview with Morgan Freeman interview that I caught the other day (slowly downloading it now to view). He was there for his film, Invictus, about Nelson Mandela. I could listen to Mr. Freeman speak all day, he has such a wonderful quality. Thoughtful, wise, and serene - he is true. (I wonder if he writes - he speaks with poetic vision - I hope he writes his memoirs.)
Charlie Rose asked him if he still sails. No, he replied, because after a bad automobile accident he lost the use of one of his hands and you need both hands to sail a boat (though he can still pilot a jet!). He said that he loved to sail because it's just him the sea and the sky and if he makes a mistake - well, that's it. Which keeps things in perspective.

Thinking, too, about a phrase I came across yesterday while perusing an old New Yorker, in an essay about Michel de Montaigne.
On February 28, 1571, Montaigne "retired from 'the slavery of the court and of public duties,' moved a chair, a table, and a thousand books into the tower of his family castle, near Bordeaux, shut the door, and began to write. It was his thirty-eighth birthday... When he thinks about loss now, at fifty-three, it is his father he mourns and, more than anyone, his 'soul's' friend Etienne de la Bo├ętie, a Bordeaux poet who was arguably the love of his life and whose early death, he once said, drove him to marriage in the hope of solace and then into his tower for escape."

Escape to a tower. Embowered.


My soul's friend.
I like this phrase. I relate to it. It explains a lot to me.


In Almodovar's Broken Embraces the character of the
film director sheds his former persona, Mateo - but that's not the end of the story (no spoilers).

Here is a poem that I gather Morgan Freeman recited from memory during the Charlie Rose interview.

William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I am the captain of my soul.
I am your soul's friend.
Thank you.
And you are mine.
Thank you.

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