Poetry and Music

I’ve talked a lot about songs on the radio I don’t like; however, I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like anything. On the contrary, I like pretty much everything eventually. It just has to grow on me.

Glad You Came by The Wanted, though, particularly interests me:

Turn the lights out now
Now I’ll take you by the hand
Hand you another drink
Drink it if you can
Can you spend a little time?
Time is slipping away
Away from us so stay
Stay with me and I’ll make
make you glad you came

Except for the first line and the last three, where the pattern breaks down into mere repetition, there’s a nice little pattern of using the last word of one line as the first of another. This is actually a poetic form named Chain Verse — not used much anymore, but used to great effect in this catchy little ditty.

And can I just say, I’m all for the use of poetic forms in song lyrics?Chain Verse is fairly simple, but it reminds me of one of my favorite poetic forms (to read, it’s a bear to write well): The sestina. See, for example, The Shrinking Lonesome Sestina by Miller Williams:

Somewhere in everyone’s head something points toward home,
a dashboard’s floating compass, turning all the time
to keep from turning. It doesn’t matter how we come
to be wherever we are, someplace where nothing goes
the way it went once, where nothing holds fast
to where it belongs, or what you’ve risen or fallen to.

What the bubble always points to,
whether we notice it or not, is home.
It may be true that if you move fast
everything fades away, that given time
and noise enough, every memory goes
into the blackness, and if new ones come-

small, mole-like memories that come
to live in the furry dark-they, too,
curl up and die. But Carol goes
to high school now. John works at home
what days he can to spend some time
with Sue and the kids. He drives too fast.

Ellen won’t eat her breakfast.
Your sister was going to come
but didn’t have the time.
Some mornings at one or two
or three I want you home
a lot, but then it goes.

It all goes.
Hold on fast
to thoughts of home
when they come.
They’re going to
less with time.


Forgive me that. One time it wasn’t fast.
A myth goes that when the years come
then you will, too. Me, I’ll still be home.

Or what about the villanelle? That’d make for a nice catchy song, like the one above was aiming for. You’ve probably read Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, it’s pretty much the most famous villanelle, but there’s hundreds of other good ones, like The House on the Hill by Edwin Arlington Robinson :

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,|
There is nothing more to say.
Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill.
They are all gone away.
Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.
Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,
And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.
There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Not that there isn’t poetry in music, mind. I’ve been totally enamored with Drake and Rhianna’s cover of Take Care (video):

They don’t love you like I will
my only wish is I die real
’cause that truth hurts and those lies kill
and you can’t sleep thinking that he lies still
but you cry still


I’ll be there for you,
I will care for you
I keep thinking you
just don’t know
Trying to run from that,
say you’re done with that
On your face girl,
it just don’t show
When you’re ready,
just say you’re ready
When all the baggage
just ain’t as heavy
And the party’s over,
just don’t forget me
We’ll change the pace
and we’ll just go slow

The inherent rhythm in the words flows like a river over rocks in my head, and they keep changing up the pattern just when it’d get stale. That, to me, is a well-crafted song. Toss in Rihanna’s melodic, soft voice and I just swoon.

I could talk about poetry all day >.>

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