“Why Do I Drink?” by Jim Morrison

WildernessMorrisonSo this is my 150th blog post. Kind of a milestone, don’t you think? I struggled with what to write about. I wanted to choose something significant, therefore I gave it considerable thought before making my decision, which was to pick a poem from a book of obscure writings by Jim Morrison of The Doors. My reason for this is that, looking back, I realize that rock and roll was what really got me interested in poetry. I have always loved to read, but it was rock lyrics that gave me an appreciation of the subtleties of language found in poetry.

I searched my sagging bookshelves until I found Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. I skimmed through the pages looking for the right poem and I settled on the following (I am including the poem because it is short and chances are most people do not have a copy of the book).

Why do I drink?
So that I can write poetry.

Sometimes when it’s all spun out
and all that is ugly recedes
into a deep sleep
There is an awakening
and all that remains is true.
As the body is ravaged
the spirit grows stronger.

Forgive me Father for I know
what I do.
I want to hear the last Poem
of the last Poet.

Like many poets and artists, Jim searched for inspiration and turned to drugs and alcohol as his muse. The irony is that while mood-altering substances can be a source of artistic inspiration, they ultimately rob you of your ability to create and lead you down the path of insanity and ultimately death, which sadly was the case with Jim.

I found the lines at the end of the second stanza to be quite interesting: “As the body is ravaged/the spirit grows stronger.” I see this as a reference to practices like fasting, flagellation, and other forms of self-induced physical suffering intended to create an altered state of consciousness. But just like drugs, these forms of inspiration eventually take their toll on a person, often resulting in the loss of that which they were seeking to gain. I read somewhere that these practices were only meant to give a person a glimpse of what can be attained through spiritual practices, but should not be the path which one should follow.

It is sad that Jim Morrison never learned that there are many ways to be inspired other than drinking. If he did, he might still be here, writing poems and creating music. Instead, he heard his “last Poem” at the moment of his dying and was never able to share it with others.

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8 Comments

Filed under Literature, Spiritual

8 responses to ““Why Do I Drink?” by Jim Morrison

  1. Stuff Jeff Reads

    Wow!! I just read that Ray Manzarek died today. Severely bummed out. The Doors were one of my all-time favorite bands. Ray will be dearly missed.

  2. Thanks for posting this awesome poem. I love the “American Prayer” album and that would have been a nice addition.

    • Stuff Jeff Reads

      Thanks Bowie Fan. Yeah, it is a cool album. If you are interested in Jim’s poetry, also check out “The Lords and the New Creatures,” which is his first book of poetry. Cheers!

  3. Euan Sinclair

    I love this particular poem, and I’ve posted a link to your blog entry on my Doors facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/796184213798393/

    Talk about self promotion, huh? Keep writing!

  4. You wouldn’t be here talking about him if he thought otherwise. Everything has a way of it’s own. And if you think alcohol was what turned his artism on, then you’re wrong.

    • Thanks for your comment. From what I understand about Jim his artistic inclinations began as a child after the encounter with the dying native Americans. Alcohol and hallucinogens became sources of inspiration later. Maybe he sought to be like Rimbaud, one of his poetic idols. Have a great day!

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