Can You Sell Confusion?

“I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke’s the Book of Hours

My writing goal  is clarity but I am fascinated by the cryptic, something I never allow myself. I don’t feel the compulsion to write it and I don’t see a market. Still, millions are made by songwriters who indulge in it.

Poets don’t make that money for similar work, so there must be something about songwriting, something about that craft, that makes money from haunting verse. David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World, is a favorite of mine, reminding me of Rilke, another cryptic writer.

If Bowie’s song were first published in a literary journal, would it achieve critical success? Or be relegated to another page in a periodical selling a few dozen copies? How does a poem or a literary work make the leap from obscurity to fame?

The Man Who Sold The World

We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

I laughed and shook his hand
And made my way back home
I searched for form and land
For years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazeless stare
At all the millions here
I must have died alone
A long, long time ago

Who knows? Not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

Who knows? Not me
We never lost control
You’re face to face
With the man who sold the world

Songwriter: David Bowie

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer who specializes in history, technology, and human interest stories.
This entry was posted in music, Thoughts on writing, Uncategorized, Writing by others and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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