Saturday, April 25, 2009

The poetry of song lyrics & the human voice

The human voice can transform poetry to song, and into magic.

Name your favorite living poet ....

Not very long ago, I was in an all too brief a conversation in which poetry and music were mentioned in the context that the lyrics of many songs form poetry.

Poetry is alive and well today, but does not hold the stature it once did. How many people can come up with the name of their "favorite living" poet? All my own favorites are in the ground.

I have long thought that one reason poetry and "professional" poets are fewer in this age is because of the explosion of music since World War II, most particularly since the 1960s. Yesterday's poets are today's musicians. To read the lyrics of many songs is to read poetry.

Poetry might be inspired and sometimes is inspirational. Put the poetry to music, and emotional responses are heightened to even greater levels. Part of it is to be found in the melody. Part of it is to be found through the magical quality of the human voice singing the poetry. Personally, I even prefer hearing poetry being read than simply reading it myself. The human presence in the form of a voice puts additional life into elegantly written words, and the notes of music to create a song unite these three elements into an entirely transcendental form of art.

Agree or not with me about poetry, I doubt anyone would have the slightest problem naming their "favorite living" singer or band. Hence, tonight's "poetry" reading:

Band: Queensryche
Album: Empire
Song: Silent Lucidity

Hush now, don't you cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You're lying safe in bed
It was all a bad dream
Spinning in your head
Your mind tricked you to feel the pain
Of someone close to you leaving the game of life
So here it is, another chance
Wide awake you face the day
Your dream is over.... or has it just begun?

There's a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run through in the night
Relax child, you were there
But only didn't realize it and you were scared
It's a place where you will learn
To face your fears, retrace the years
And ride the whims of your mind
Commanding in another world
Suddenly you hear and see
This magic new dimension

I - will be watching over you
I - am gonna help you see it through
I - will protect you in the night
I - am smiling next to you, in Silent Lucidity

--spoken during solo--
[Visualize your dream]
[Record it in the present tense]
[Put it into a permanent form]
[If you persist in your efforts]
[You can achieve dream control]
[Dream control]
[How's that then, better?]
[Hug me]

If you open your mind for me
You won't rely on open eyes to see
The walls you built within
Come tumbling down, and a new world will begin
Living twice at once you learn
You're safe from the pain in the dream domain
A soul set free to fly
A round trip journey in your head
Master of illusion, can you realize
Your dream's alive, you can be the guide but...

I - will be watching over you
I - am gonna help to see it through
I - will protect you in the night
I - am smiling next to you....


Magdalena said...

Silent Lucidity is a very beautiful song. Have a good weekend, Fram :-) Bye.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Fram :) I love your picture and the posting :)

I'm actually one that does have a favorite living poet, Mary Oliver.

I love the way you write things :) It's very nice. I do agree with you about music and poetry too. I think you should write some songs. Your thoughts set to music would be beautiful :)

This is a beautiful song. I put it on my blog too :D Thank you for showing it to me, Kind Sir :D

Have a Happy Day!

Rachael Cassidy said...

One of my favorite "poets" is Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool. Here is a song/poem called "46 and 2."

My shadow's
shedding skin and
I've been picking
Scabs again.
I'm down
Digging through
My old muscles
Looking for a clue.

I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own confused
And insecure delusions
For a piece to cross me over
Or a word to guide me in.
I wanna feel the changes coming down.
I wanna know what I've been hiding in

My shadow.
Change is coming through my shadow.
My shadow's shedding skin
I've been picking
My scabs again.

I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own chaotic
And insecure delusions.

I wanna feel the change consume me,
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I've endured within

My shadow
Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I've been clinging to.
Forty-six and two ahead of me.

I choose to live and to
Grow, take and give and to
Move, learn and love and to
Cry, kill and die and to
Be paranoid and to
Lie, hate and fear and to
Do what it takes to move through.

I choose to live and to
Lie, kill and give and to
Die, learn and love and to
Do what it takes to step through.

See my shadow changing,
Stretching up and over me.
Soften this old armor.
Hoping I can clear the way
By stepping through my shadow,
Coming out the other side.
Step into the shadow.
Forty six and two are just ahead of me.

Katy said...

I love that picture Fram, it's wonderful. Thank you for posting it :-)

Pondering on my favourite living poet. Actually, one of my favourites is the British children's poet Roger McGough. I saw him a few years ago giving a reading in a theatre - I was one of the only adults in the audience of school parties. He was great! This is his poem called Nooligan:

I'm a nooligan
don't give a toss
in our class
I'm the boss
(well, one of them)

I'm a nooligan
got a nard 'ead
step out of line
and you're dead
(well, bleedin')

I'm a nooligan
I spray me name
all over town
footballs me game
(well, watchin')

I'm a nooligan
violence is fun
gonna be a assassin
or a hired gun
(well, a soldier)

Fram said...

Very beautiful, indeed, Magdalena ....

I think we both will have a pleasant weekend ....

Fram said...

OK, so now I know one person who has a favorite living poet.

Thank you, for the kind words, Kelly, and somehow I knew you and I would agree about the beauty of "Silent Lucidity."

Fram said...

I knew so little about this band, Rachael, that I had to do a bit of research. Although, by coincidence, I frequently have my living room television running on a cable channel called "Retro Rock." This morning, I was walking by the room and heard a song being played. I liked it, and I stopped and listened. I saw that the band's name was Tool, but if I noticed the name of the song, it has since escaped me.

Now, I have three or four bands on a list for which I plan to buy a CD/DVD.

The shadow element to these lyrics struck me as curious. I guess it does not apply to me, since I neither hate nor fear, the absence of which I consider personal deficiencies. I prefer shadows on photographs, and can understand them.

Fram said...

Well, now I know two people who have a favorite living poet, Katy. You guys can stop picking on me now.

You are another on my band list. I have not forgotten The Cure. I just never seem to make it to a music store.

Your guy sounds like an afternoon poet to me. No dark and brooding allusions there. He made me laugh. No fair.

Natalie said...

This is one of your best posts, Fram… I can’t say it better, let me repeat your own words
“….emotional responses are heightened to even greater levels. …part of it is to be found through the magical quality of the human voice singing the poetry.”
“singing the poetry” – Ahhh, so delicate, so beautiful…
- thank you for that.

Fram said...

Thank you very much, Natalie. I really appreciate your thoughts here.

When I made the remark about prefering to hear poetry read rather than reading it myself, I was specifically thinking of you. Your recitations provide your own poetry with an additional dimension.

Thank you, for them.

A Cuban In London said...

One of my favourie living poets is Maya Angelou. Another one who is still around is the Uruguayan Mario Benedetti. I could name a few more, but I do agree with you that poetry is nowadays more commonly found in the realm of music. Still, it is a genre that will carry on because it is quite anarchic and nihilistic as such. Many thanks for the post and the Queensryche, that's a good tune.

Greetings from London.

Fram said...

Perhaps part of my thought is in the word "favorite," CiL. I have run across no poets I would "follow." The same is true, for me, in terms of novelists. I am not sure there is a living novelist (now that Mailer is dead) I would consider a favorite. All my writers live in the past.

I agree poetry will live on, and its popularity will rise and fall as does the tide. All arts are in constant evolutionary cycles.

Something special ....