When I was a kid my favourite poet was Jean Arthur Rimbaud. I still like him a lot. There’s something about French poetry that appeals to me in an ineffable way. It’s a bit savage and the way the language bends and contorts to create so many homophones allows on to play with the rhythm and flow of sentences. In general, I’m not a huge fan of French as a language. But for poetry, it works. Or maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking. Rimbaud wrote in a surreal stye with heavy symbolism. Some have called him the first naturalist poet which sounds odd but actually works well. He is also considered a precursor to modernist poetry.
Rimbaud was a bit of a rock star to me. He started writing very young and a lot of his best pieces were written between the ages of 15 and 20 or so. He was also living the fast life surrounded by superstar poets of the time (it was a pretty sexy profession back then if you could make it!), making trouble (he was once almost shot by Verlaine who was rumored to be his jealous lover at the time) and being an all around… rock star… at 15. I remember learning that Rimbaud died in his 30s of what eventually turned out to be bone cancer and I was so sad. This happened roughly a century before I was born mind you. I just thought how unfortunate it was for the word to be robbed of a talent at such a young age. I myself was a teenager at the time and I realize now, probably suffocatingly pretentious. Still those were my honest thoughts at the time. All things considered, and when I think about how events often play out for kids who gain notoriety and fame very young with little to no supervision. Rimbaud actually made it out pretty good.
Takuboku Ishikawa was only a few years old when Rimbaud died. He would also become a poet far from the bustle of 1800s Paris. By the time Ishikawa’s career was started the naturalist movement was fairly established and that was his preferred style. He was influenced by the political strife in Japan at the time and wrote symbolic works yearning for the liberation of Japan. He was married and had friends. He seemed much more respectable from what I’ve read. Yet he was only 26 when tuberculosis struck him.
I haven’t been a teenager in a while but it still makes me sad when I learn of a life apparently unfinished. I supposed it alway will.
There are people who are likely to consider the above paragraphs a complete waste of time. Meandering and barely related to what I’m supposed to be talking about. General information aout famous poets that can be found in about a minute of googling if one is actually interested, mixed with utterly useless information about a stranger that is never going to be needed. I figure those type of people will have hated episode 10 of the Woodpecker Detective’s Agency. Who am I kidding, they dropped the show long ago, if they ever picked it up in the first place.
But there are also people that don’t mind detours. That can find a word or two in that hodgepodge that they like and build on that. I’m not sure myself where I’m going with this.
I’m sad for Ishikawa again. I thought his obvious struggle with grief was pretty difficult to watch. The self harming bit was also a bit much, what with the heavy handed red colour wash and harsh shadows. It really cheapened the moment, and for me almost of betrayed all the pain and angst the episode was building up. Had it been even a few seconds longer I would have rolled my eyes. Oh well.
I don’t like being sad. And yet, didn’t dislike this episode and I’m really trying to figure out why so that I can tell you. Kindaichi’s kindness has been bordering on stupidity or masochism for a while but the revelation that e is in fact completely self-aware changes it all for. It makes him interesting and possibly a bit twisted instead of pathetic. So I liked Kyosuke this week. Possibly more that I ever have before.
There was also that thin thread that related back to a lot of Ishikawa’s (the real one) themes. This notion of social responsibility. That writing is worthless unless it can change society. Unless it’s talked about and has an impact. And that’s why a man cannot be a poet. That’s not a worthy venture. This sort of existential crisis was established by Tamaki in bunt exposition and has been repeated ever since.
And between the tears and the crashing and the speedy unraveling of Ishikawa’s character, that’s sort of what this episode of Woodpecker Detective’s Agency was about. Ishikawa is mourning the loss of a loved one but as everyone else pointed out, he hardly knew Tamaki. Beyond the pain of the immediate loss, Ishikawa is grieving for his own sense of worth and accomplishment. The idea of leaving the world without leaving behind anything that will be talked about, anything that is a proper instrument of societal change, is devastating to him. And it’s a pain he has no idea how to deal with. So he lashes ut, lie a child.
Maybe I didn’t dislike this episode because it tried to face something very adult. Or maybe I didn’t dislike it because there was an unmistakable sense of hope radiating from those clear bleu skies and delicate pink cherry blossoms.
Or maybe I’m just the type of person who reads three unrelated paragraphs about a bloggers fondness of a random 19th century poet and imbues it with whatever meaning suits me, regardless of what was actually there.
Or maybe ‘m just glad I got Monday over? I tend to be real generous with shows that air on Mondays…