Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Poetic Than We Know

My plans for the evening got postponed due to my friend's root canal recovery, so for a change I stayed in and listened to music and read, two of my absolute favorite past times. I purposely pulled out some CDs that I hadn't listened to in a while, years in some cases.

What struck me as I was listening was how the lyrics to some songs immediately came back to me, even ones I hadn't heard in forever; word for word, I remembered them as if I'd heard them yesterday.

And it occurred to me that we learn song lyrics now like people once learned poetry: as something to be committed to memory and recited back for our own or others' pleasure. I don't know many people who could recite a poem at the drop of a hat, but what are song lyrics if not poetry set to music? This line of thinking somehow made me feel better about the poetic literacy of our culture, not to mention my mental faculties.

I see a dog upon the road
Running hard to catch a cat
My car is pulling to a halt
The truck behind me doesn't know

Everything is in the balance
Of a moment I can't control
Your sympathetic strings
Are like stirrings in my soul

I could go anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
I could go anytime

Find the meaning of the act
Remember how it goes
Every time you take the water
You swim against the flow

The world is all around us
The days are flying past
And fear is so contagious
But I'm not afraid to laugh

I could go anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
I could go anytime

Come without warning
It could be so easy

A walk in the park
Or maybe when I'm sleeping
See the clouds come over

I feel like I'm in love
With a stranger I'll never know
Although you're still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone

I could go anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
Make it so easy to fly in the night
I could go anytime

Poetry, right? I don't think I even realized I knew those words until I heard the song and they came out of my head. And that was just one of several such instances tonight. Such fatalistic lyrics make for great poetry, whether you can sing or not (I can't). It's satisfying enough just to read or recite them.

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