Nocturnal in Be

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Nocturnal in Be

Knock-knocked/tick-tocked
self-mocked/self-socked–
Who’s there?

************************

Here’s a little query in the night for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt for With Real Toads to write a nocturne. I think the prompt was aiming for something more lyrically musical, inspired maybe by Chopin, probably my favorite composer. I could not come up with something more lyrical! But I was reminded by Kerry’s prompt of a story told by Artur Rubinstein, a great Chopin pianist, of how once as a young man, when hounded by creditors and disappointment, he tried to hang himself from a hotel bathroom shower (either rod or shower head) by his bathrobe belt. Even though I suspect that both showers and bathrobes were far more sturdy back then (I believe this was in 1908), the whole apparatus collapsed, leaving Rubinstein (i) alive), (ii) ruefully amused that he was even a failure at suicide; and (iii) with a renewed and seemingly vibrant commitment to life. (This is a memory of the story heard during my childhood when Rubinstein used to actually be on talkshows! I think I have the details right, but I’m sorry if they are a little fuzzy.)

Finally, my story has nothing to do with this story. But I couldn’t help thinking of it because of my attachment to Rubinstein’s performance’s of Chopin’s nocturnes. I urge you to listen to one.

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21 Comments on “Nocturnal in Be”


  1. Beautiful (poetic) nocturne. I, too, love Chopin, but my real surprise was John Field, the composer to whom the creation of the first nocturnes is attributed. Look him up if you’ve never heard of him and be amazed by his music.

    Greetings from London.

  2. brian miller Says:

    ha. sometimes i wonder who it is that knocks around in my head…smiles…that is a really cool story…hey fate conspired to make some music eh? smiles.


  3. with a renewed and seemingly vibrant commitment to life…. Sounds like he had quite a sense of humor!

    the poem rolls of the tongue in a fun way! Reminds me of a jump rope or hand clapping game.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    There’s actually quite a fat correspondence in this small envelope, between human and universe, or night with its blind star-eyes, if you will. The anecdote about Rubenstein has all the pathos of serious youth and is quite charming, despite the subject. What an artist with the keys–a beautiful performance you linked.


  5. Fun sound play, Kay! 😉


  6. There is always something knocking in my head or I am pounding it with my pen…lol Great interpretation of the challenge!


  7. BEAUTIFUL sentimental story~ Chopin’s nocturnes feel like the somberness has drowned out every vestige of life as we understand it but brings alive a life that’s language cannot be spoken but discerned. Blessings friend ~ have been sick, missed your posts.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Deborah – so so sorry that you’ve been sick. I’ve been wondering about you and should have checked up – I’ve no good excuse – just a kind of frantic busyness at work, which is trivial compared to sickness. I hope you are feeling better now. k.

  8. Akila Says:

    Ah! quite a take, knocking at the darkness to find who?? and well, you did! 🙂


  9. Well knocked together!


  10. Your back story of Rubinstein is fascinating – thank you for sharing that.
    Night hours can be the worst when it comes to self-scrutiny and doubt. That’s what I got from this cryptic nocturne.


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