Friday, February 27, 2009

James Douglas Morrison 1943 - 1971 . . .

This past Wednesday we went into Paris and decided to take a stroll in the Père Lachaise Cemetery which is one of my favorite places. Although named "Père" ("father" in French) one could say, using the popular expression, that it is the mother of all cemeteries. In any case, it is one of the most incredible cemeteries in the world in its quiet beauty, the astonishing array of art forms in sculptures, mosaics, bas reliefs, inscriptions, its lovely trees and cobblestone paths, and in the high density of famous folks laid to rest there.
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Not having done so for quite a few years, we decided to go visit Jim Morrison's tomb, which as you can read at considerable length on this web site, is one of the most visited sites in Paris. I can remember going there back in 1985 and again in 1986, and seeing his tomb, plus a large number of tombs around his, totally covered in graffiti of all descriptions and colors, as well as candles on all possible surfaces in the area, melted pools of wax that had run down tombstones, flowers galore, scraps of paper with poems and prayers covering his tomb like confetti, and young hippies who seemed to hang out there for hours on end. The alleys in the vicinity had all sorts of arrows or other signs scrawled in visible places to help you find your way to Jim's grave.
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It has changed considerably since then. There is almost no graffiti visible anywhere, all the tombs in the area are spotlessly clean, and only a few mournful flowers adorned his plot. If you read the site (link above) there are security cameras now, anyone caught writing graffiti is fined, and the grave is cleaned daily of flowers and so forth. Nevertheless, despite the "clean" aura, which is far more respectful of the surrounding graves than previously, it is still a pilgrimage to make for anyone who loves the Doors music and/or who grew up steeped in the 1960's of American culture.
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On our way to Jim's grave I saw only one small marking on a cobblestone showing the way. . .
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Quite a few people had left flowers that day. . .
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The quote in Greek on the plaque on his headstone has been interpreted in different ways depending on the website you visit. The site link above gives this explanation for "Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy" : "Old Greek" TO THE DIVINE SPIRIT WITHIN HIMSELF. In "New Greek" it means HE CAUSED HIS OWN DEMONS.
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And at the base of a tree growing close to Jim's grave the same pen that marked the cobblestone above had written this . . .
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4 comments:

Andrew said...

Thanks for the pictures and update on conditions here.

Did we tell you that we knew Patricia Kenneally Morrison? Her perspective on Jim is very interesting indeed....

desi said...

OMW...i have goosebumps reading your post about Jim's grave.

Maybe I'm odd, but if i lived nearby i would leave flowers EVERY single day!

that's amazing pics!

:D esi

desi said...

@ Andrew : you KNEW Patricia? I would think that her insights would be interesting. She and Jim had a 'inetersting' relationship..as I understand she did not have Jim's baby in the end? what a pity..

:D esi

Rhiannon said...

Owen,

Not even sure if you will see this comment in this post as it's not a new one of yours. Noticing a post that said "James Douglas Morrison" I just had to read this post!

I connected with Jim and the doors back in late 60's. They played a concert at my high school. A friend "Terry" was one of his women friends and she brought in the doors first album before it was even on the radio. The teacher was not there much so our class would just fool around and play that album all the time and dance and sing to it. By the time the album came out we had knew all the songs.

When the doors came to our high school back in 68-69 and did their concert, we had our class in the small gym dressing room and so Jim and the rest of the group came in and Terry introduced Jim to all of our class..about 10 of us a small group. So, we are all standing there in our bright red gym shorts and white snap shirts and when Jim got to me he said my name and then kissed my hand. I was stunned and got goosbumps..but acted "cool" being in Los angeles county that's what you do! Jim was dressed in his black leather pants and jacket.

In the middle of the concernt apparently the principal had called the police and the police came and literally "Dragged" Jim away..as he lay there passively on the floor "limp" as he was dragged along the gym floor.

I also did a portrait drawing of Jim when I was just 17 years old. I have always had a thing for Jim his songs and poems which I have two books of.

There is more about Jim in two of my old archive post..I think the first or second year of my blog if your interested in checking the stories of Jim out. One post just says something like "drawing of Jim I did when 17 years old' or something like that and the other post is just my written experience and story about meeting Jim at my hight school" and hearing all the interesting things about him from Terry's friendship with him.

I would love to see Jims grave one day. I've always felt that he was just an old soul and would not be in this world "at this time" for very long..because he'd been around before..if you know what I mean?

Thanks for liking the name Rhiannon. I gave myself that name as it relates to the Stevie Nicks song and the mythological celtic story of "mare goddess" Rhiannon. I studied all about that and immediately could relate to it in my own life..what she went through..very interesting..

Well, thanks for reading this it's getting rather long.

One of major dreams in life is to visit France one day, Paris and the country..I have always felt "French" and for some reason people think I look French. Turns out my heritage on my fathers side is French Canadian Indian. I didn't find this out until about 6 years ago.

Drop by my blog anytime..oh and my arcives go back from about 5-6 years..so if looking for the Jim Morrison post look pretty far..not too difficult to find..if you feel like it..

Blessings,

Rhiannon

Great post..and photos..thanks for sharing it with us all..