Friday, June 6, 2014


Arnold Böcklin Self-Portrait of Death Playing The Violin, 1872 


in youth, let death talk to him improperly tuned
of the body he became folded
of the fold shaping him, wings
like a limb-loosening chisel
that delves and swings

in youth, let death talk to you improperly tuned
in cadences low; cadences
of folded life making wings
of earth that sings

©2014 stephaniepope
#ohj fold, delve


1. “Friend Henry”, Freund Hein, a literary figure from medieval German art, is a personification of Death. Letting Death talk to you is seeing life from Death’s point of view of life. One must “strike a different chord” so to speak (in psychology:  see C.G. Jung and in conspectu mortis to further amplify this notion)

2. “improperly tuned”, inspired by the Arnold Böcklin Self-Portrait of Death Playing The Violin, 1872, is Gustave Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major. The second movement is a scherzo that features a part for a solo violin whose strings are tuned a tone higher than usual.

3.  [QUOTE] “By the time of his death, Böcklin was being hailed as one of the most original and creative German artists of the fin de siècle(END TIMES); and, in retrospect, it can be said that his interest in imaginary scenes, liberated from traditional forms and motifs, prepared the ground for Expressionism. That Böcklin “struck a different sort of chord” can be interpreted both figuratively and literally: according to Gustav Mahler’s widow Alma, the scherzo movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major (1900) was inspired by the image of Death playing the fiddle in this self-portrait. In keeping with the spirit of the canvas, Mahler had the violin soloist play on an improperly tuned violin.” [scordatura]

4.  In music and North American mythology see Charlie Daniels Band "Devil Went Down To Georgia."