[aloha-donblanding] The Double Life--my own twisted interpretation...
- In a message dated 00-01-24 10:02:59 EST, you write:
<< His poem in Jimmy Buffet's newest book is called "The Double Life",
what double is he referring to? I have my own interpretation of the poem,
but wanted to see if others out there read it as I did........ >>
Here's the poem....
The Double Life
by Don Blanding
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.
And that's just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancey risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell,
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home -- dear prisonment,
With candlelight and well-loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun,
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where...just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.
One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back.
I'm getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It's tough to have an idle brain)
But One says "Stay" and One says "Go"
And One says "Yes," and One says "No,"
And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter's life.
The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.
More Mana'o.. :-)
In my unschooled opinion as a fellow tinkerer with the poetic muse, I see
this poem at two levels. On the face of it, it appears to be a simple poem
about the internal conflict between being respectible and settled and wanting
to be a roamer with no roots...It can be seen at that level and enjoyed for
what it is.
On the other hand.. I know that poetry is also very personal and often has
subtexts that are revealed when you know a little more about a poet's life
and what was going on around the time of the writing. I see this poem as a
veiled apology for hurt he has put people through in his life and also a
warning to those who may come to not expect that he will be ties down to one
person. There is clear conflict between the "Restless One" and his
expectations of himself and what he feels others expect of him. One
wonders,in this poem especially, what the vagabond is running from. But.. as
Sigmund Freud is attributed to have said, "sometimes a banana is JUST a
banana" and I may be reading too much into it. I'd be interested in hearing
others mana'o on this... also.. might it be interesting if we did this
regularly? Interpreting poems? We have the biographers here to give us
historical context, and the fans here, to give the opinion of one who takes
the poem at face value and just enjoys it for it's sentiment.
- Each of you has given intriguing interpretations of "The Double Life."
I agree, there are several levels on which to read this poem.
Sometimes in this hectic world, we need to be two people, just to get
the job done! And I believe that all human beings are complex; we all
have multi-faceted personalities whose quirks are sometimes at odds
with each other. I'm a twin, so I always read this verse with a smile.
By the way, the new edition of FLORIDAYS published in 1999 by The
Peninsula Press, Cape Cod, MA, contains "The Double Life." Reason?
They are also the publishers of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Books
and Shipwreck Editions. The exact arrangement of the other poems
varies slightly from Dodd, Mead's 1945 8th printing, the edition in my
I bought my copy of the new FLORIDAYS via buy.com and had a $10 online
coupon from BonusMail, so I only had to pay less than a dollar plus the
Keith, I'll send you the publication particulars so you can add to your