From Domna to Trobaritz: Lessons from Medieval Poets to a Modern Day Poet

Statement of intent: Using themes, forms, and functions of trobaritz works. How are our writings shaped by medieval thinkers and creators? What can we learn from these motifs? 

 

I have traveled this land over here/

From Carcassonne out to Beziers/

And what I’ve seen will inspire you, dear/

To become of the world a great seer/

You will find me as a land unconquered/

Come with me and we shall make it clear/

It is you who arouses a word/

 

My beauty glows outward, draws you in/

We are magnets and together spin/

My voice carries far and strikes your skin/

It is strong with power, not sickly thin/

Listen close to what it is I say/

It is the truth and where I begin/

Watch my whole world be built in a day/

 

Do not give me reason to lament/

Chase no others, I will be content/

Cross me and thus begins your descent/

Think of all the time that I have spent/

Crafting this verse so heartfelt and true/

My hounds will always know of your scent/

I am to be respected by you/

 

I will love you more than anyone/

Together will our hearts go and run/

We will share all that we have begun/

Our passion will be rivaled by none/

Are you prepared to walk with me now?/

Side by side until we reach the sun/

Everything done with sweat on our brow/

 

Fair love, this I will promise to you/

And I expect the same to be true/

From the very moment that we choose/

To search in each other through and through/

One and another create a pair/

We must not forget or misconstrue/

Our place with each other, what we share/

 

Remember my words, don’t pass them through/

Of both our spirits I am aware.

Location: 
Date(s): 
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Statement of Intent: 

Using themes, forms, and functions of trobaritz works. How are our writings shaped by medieval thinkers and creators? What can we learn from these motifs?

Comments

This project stood out to me for two reasons:(1) The author creates a continuity of purpose between medieval and modern poets. In doing so, the audience understands the relevance of troubadour poetry, and how it serves as the foundation of contemporary poetry and lyric. (2) The ancient poet becomes an object of desire, and a cipher of status, much like the female in a troubadour poem. The goal for the modern poet is not to copy the ancient post in style, but to negotiate his status vis-à-vis the fame of troubadours- or even better, the troubadour myth. The myth serves here as a code of behavior, and even a means of what can be achieved through poetry. The critical distance between ancient and modern poet exalts the troubadour tradition, and makes it into an object of desire.  

I am drawn to the idea of treating these ancient poet-composers as they once treated their distant objects of affection, and I think that your acknowledgment of the profound historical gulf that lies between us and these medieval poet-composers makes this poem extremely effective. By closely mirroring the actual metaphoric language that the troubadours used to describe somebody distant in space but recontextualising it to describe somebody (or, well, a whole tradition) that is distant in time, you clarify why and how they used some of the language they did in their own writing. I think the language you use is very carefully-crafted, and I see in this poem at least three hallmarks of troubadour poetry that have been described in the readings for this course. The lines “My voice carries far and strikes your skin/It is strong with power, not sickly thin” remind me of Emma Dillon’s focus on the way that the sound of the individual voice was often a focus of troubadour poetry. The focus in your poem on the “I,” the subjective experience of love rather than the description or enumeration of your distant lover’s qualities, reminds me of Kuhn’s idea that rather than describing existing love, the poet actually creates love through performance. This focus on performativity and spontaneous creation I think also appears in your wonderful line “Watch my whole world be built in a day.”