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Song Lyric VS Poetry

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Surely not all great songs make great poems. When do lyrics from a song transcend the music and become "poetry"? Is there some standards we can consider? I would like to start by having poets
post a song that they think is great poetry, and see what others think if we treat them as poetry.
I think we can use anything, from "somewhere over the rainbow" to "Satisfaction".
I would start with Crosby and Nash, "Southbound Train"

Liberty, laughing and shaking your head
Can you carry the torch that'll bring home the dead?
To the land of their fathers whose lives you have lead
To the station at the end of the town
On the southbound train going down.

Equality, quietly facing the fist
Are you angry and tired that your point has been missed?
Will you go in the back-room
And study the list
Of the gamblers using the phone
On the southbound train going down

Fraternity, failing to fight back the tears
Will it take an eternity breaking all the fears?
And what will the passenger do when he hears -
That he's already paid for the crown
On the southbound train going down.

I think today, not all music is poetry, but all poetry can be music. I know poetry and music stemmed from the same oral traditions in history, meant to pass down stories, and to entertain, but today things are sometimes different. Sometimes the line between the two is blurred and sometimes there is a stark contrast.

Even rap music, which many people will say isn't even music, began as poetry (rap stood for "rhythm and poetry" and if you look back at some of the original rap of the 1970s, it is absolutely poetic. Look at the song which is considered by most to be the original rap song, Rapper's Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKTUAESacQM. It was 14 minutes long!!

Kelsey :)

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Though I don't think all poetry can be song, most song can be poetry.
I consider old rap poetry, not song.
My Ottava Rima would make a lousy song.
Also, if one pays attention, most lyrics today use assonance as their rhyme structure.
The voice was the first musical instrument and is still (I think) the chief instrument of choice.
It was used first among early man to "remember".

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

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you're right sir. The first poems were sing-song in pattern, tone and rhyme to help one remember the story. Rap is just a modern day version. I prefer rhyming patterns, [but not rap, for the most part] but I do write some free-form. Even then, I think there is a rhythm and pattern to them. After all, who doesn't remember at least one old nursery-rhyme from their child-hood? BTW, do you know what the rhyme of Ring-around the Rosie; is about? ~ Gee.

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The plague.The ring around the "rosy" describes the inflammation surrounding the infected blisters or buboes. And the smell of death on the air was so bad people started carrying flowers in their pockets to keep from smelling it. The ashes,ashes we all fall down referred to the ashes from the burning of plague victims bodies and how so many people just fell dead in the streets. Pleasant reading for kids ain't it?............stan

"claims on the half shell and roller skates, roller skates.."
I cannot even begin to count how many times I heard that song in the 80's as an avid disco roller skater; i loved that song. Went well will all the THC.
Is it poetry,,,well i suppose, but so are Hallmark cards. Fast food is food, but it isn't top chef.
I hate the word "serious" when applied to poetry, but in a sense that what it is. It opens worlds in a way of charged words that most songs lyrics really don't contain. They are not that easy way of just using rhyme to connect ideas without content, metaphor, or poetic rhetoric, as most rap I've read is.
If we are to take art "seriously" we can't put popular song compositions on the same level as Bach. Nor can we put rap on the same level as Dylan Thomas. I am trying to establish a way to express this, as so many of the poems on this site might make good Lyrics in their simplistic messages, easy rhymes, and catchy tempos.
take Cole Porter
"In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you
night and day"

Great lyric, as a poem..fffnnneeehh.

Do you have any thoughts about Southbound train. To me it's complex, the images pour out in different directions, and using the Liberty/Equality/Fraternity creates an even deeper meaning.
to me a good poem. Doesn't need music. But the music is great, making it greater.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Most songs have a singular and simple message. Love, courtship,betrayal. A lot talking to a "you".
Like a letter to someone done in rhyme. Perhaps it becomes poetry when the words takes on broader possibilities in the human condition. Why "Suzanne" is a great poem, but "Don't think twice its alright" is just a great song.
here's a great poem, and song, by Randy Newman:

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Read more: Randy Newman - I Think It's Going To Rain Today Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

I think seriousness and depth of meaning are great points. A lot of songs (especially pop music and love songs) can get away with using cliches because they're catchy and familiar and songs often need to be catchy for them to gain popularity. Yet, in poetry, and other "serious" writing such as academic writing, if there is any one "rule" most anyone would totally agree on, it's that cliches should avoided.

Great thread, thanks for posting!
Kelsey

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.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Funnily enough, I was listening to James Cordon and Ed Sheeran on Car Pool Karaoke the other day. Besides being amusing, it bought home some of the lyrics of Sheeran's songs. They caught my attention as being rather poetic. I looked some of them up and whilst the over riding genre was love, courtship etc, a common theme in so many songs, there are some that are intensely poetic and stand in their own right as poems.
This is one that struck me as such, although not written by Sheeran (it's an old Scottish folk song), he did sing it.

"Wild Mountain Thyme"

Oh the summer time is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
Where the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Would you go, lassie, go?

And we'll all go together
Where the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Would you go, lassie, go?

And I will build my love a bower
And yon pure crystal fountain
And around it I will place
All the colours of the mountain
Would you go, lassie, go?

And we'll all go together
Where the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather
Would you go, lassie, go?

And If my true love's gone
I will surely find another
And to her I will sing
Things that make her know I want her

Would you go, lassie, go?
And we'll all go together
Where the wild mountain thyme
Grows around blooming heather

Would you go, lassie, go?

A beautiful poem, that translates into song as well. I think a lot of old folk songs do this.
Taking it a step further, (ignoring personal religious beliefs), if you look at the psalms from the bible, they stand both as poems and songs. They have a narrative, and a flowing cadence that reads as poetry and also translates to song. Perhaps older pieces were supposed to be both. The written word wasn't available, the spoken word was the only means of conveying themes, ideas, concepts etc amongst the ordinary people. Sometimes words have more impact if they are matched to music.
Just my thoughts.

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were written as songs to be used in worship. Many are based on the history of the people while others are of adoration of the deity and still others represented hopes and aspirations. The book of psalms is separated into parts that recognise these and other divisions.

Keith Logan
the happy chappy
https://www.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

But I'm starting to develop an aesthetic about it. I think that song lyric is poetry with certain common conventions, like a repetition chorus, like rondo, and rhyme and often structured meter, but mostly it's about singularity of message. Wild Mountain Time is a pretty poem, but not a great poem, that being within the aspects of lyric as it lacks duplicity. Each stanza is understandable and clear. I'm sure the music makes the lovely words better, and a wonderful song A "nice" poem though, not "great poetry".

Another consideration too is the music. Take this famous song made very famous by Sinatra

When I was seventeen it was a very good year
It was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights
We'd hide from the lights on the village green
When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one it was a very good year
It was a very good year for city girls who lived up the stair
With all that perfumed hair and it came undone
When I was twenty-one

Then I was thirty-five it was a very good year
It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
Of independent means, we'd ride in limousines their chauffeurs would drive
When I was thirty-five

But now the days grow short, I'm in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Now this reads like a very "up" and happy poem. His life is vintage wines. But the music is in minor key, and very sad. It shows a man who seemed like Alfie, or the Newly from "stop the world I want to get off" a man without love. So the actual music can change the intent of the lyric.

In my next post I will starting to discuss rap. It is music and poetry of a sort, and certainly a huge worldwide phenomenon that has millions of devotees in this generation. As poets we cannot ingnore it, it's too big. It's really not that disimilar from Homer, who used the lyre, it's oral poetry.
or is it poetry???

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

and sing it to myself daily. I sing to myself all the time (I studied voice from nine years old, exercises and all). It is great "poetry". Though, much of what is popular is not.
In theater the hardest line to say was a cliche. Like "is it really you?" or even "I love you". Cliche is a brutal monster and though I don't think it should be avoided it should be used as cliche. Almost pointed out as cliche.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
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Love that song by CSN&Y, there were more by them.
Randy Newman, a really good writer!!

My contribution, pretty much anything from the
"the dark side of the moon"

"Breathe"

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and choose your own ground

For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be

Run, rabbit, run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down, it's time to dig another one

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.

I love this song and know every note. I will always love this song.
However, as hard as it is to do, read it as a poem. In truth, as a poem to me it is confusing, trite, filled with cliche and amateur.
I think that's very true about so many songs that are a part my life. It's got to be about the music, the performance, that makes this song great.
On the contrary, there are very few songs which are poor songs and great poems. The most recent Paul Simon might be a good example. In some of his most recent efforts, when you read the words its a wow, when you listen to the song they are melodically poor.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Carole KIng, such a great writer
of song and poetry, and delivers it
quite well with her soulful voice.

"Way Over Yonder"

Way over yonder is a place that I know
Where I can find shelter from hunger and cold
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound

I know when I get there, the first thing I'll see
Is the sun shining golden, shining right down on me
Then trouble's gonna lose me, worry leave me behind
And I'll stand up proudly in a true peace of mind

Way over yonder is a place I have seen
In a garden of wisdom from some long ago dream

Maybe tomorrow I'll find my way
To the land where the honey runs in rivers each day
And the sweet-tastin' good life is so easily found
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound

As i read this as a poem, i would say to myself this is some type of song, probably a spiritual. It has singularity of theme, with catchy rhymes.

Great song lyric, great music. Not a great poem with much substance if it were only a poem.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

I guess you're right, doesn't change the
fact that I love this song, I can't even read
it without breaking out in song (to my family's
dismay lol).

I'm going to have this on my mind, I'm sure
I'll remember something that fits the bill.

thanks by the way, great posting.

It is much easier to establish a "beat" in song because the singer is free to place stresses where they want them. They can also drag out words if needed. Poets don't have that option. All that aside I think some of the best poetry in the last 50 years can be found in song lyrics . Kristoferson, Simon and Garfunkle and Johnny Cash come quickly to mind.......stan

Find a song from these great and wonderful artists who has a lyric, which if it was purely a poem, would stand out as a great poem.
The only one I can think of is maybe Simon's "America".

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Songs can be rather political, Robert Burns was forced by government pressure to write a patriotic song because he had been a vocal supporter of the French and their revolution. When Britain declared war on France he was challenged to prove his patriotism. He wrote Scots Wha Hae, one of the most anti English songs ever written. By the way, in case you would question his rhyme at the end, that die would be pronounced dee by his contemporaries.

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power—
Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave!
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha for Scotland's king and law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa',
Let him follow me!

By oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!—
Let us do or die!

Keith Logan
the happy chappy
https://www.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

Since I do not know the music, I can read this as poem without prejudice. It is a powerful political poem and call to arms. Perhaps what makes it a good poem is all the exclamation marks and passion, which most poems lack. Also the meter of the read is great.
So this to me is a poem. It stands out on its own.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

"Idiot Wind"

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can't help it if I'm lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn't believe after all these years you didn't know even me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven't known peace and quit for so long I can't remember what it's like
There's a lone soldier on the cross smoke pouring out of a boxcar door
You didn't know it you didn't think it could be done in the final end he won the wars
After losing every battle.

I woke up on the roadside daydreaming about the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are making me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn't enough to change my heart
Now everything's a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What's good is bad what's bad is good you'll find out when you reach the top
You're on the bottom.I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can't remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed your eyes don't look
into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone faced while the
building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees while the
springtime turned
Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to Capitol
Idiot wind blowing every time you move you teeth
You're an idiot babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can't feel you anymore, I can't even touch the books you've read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I'm finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You'll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I'll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We're idiots babe
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

(my contribution)

When you fling poo, some of the stink sticks to you!

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
http://eddystyx.mythramuse.com/

I was privileged to have been of the age and place to have seen Dylan a lot in the small coffee houses on Bleecker Street. I was living on Morton street, going to City College. I have been following his career since. I was even at the famous Forest Hills concert, when he came out with the band...
Like any artist, I don't think everything he did was successful. That includes Idiot Wind. If try to read this as a poem, without his passionate voicing, it really cannot be discussed, it has no center. It's about a little of this idea, a little of that. We never understand why the wind is idiotic."you're an idiot babe" to me is just kitch.
Here's one I think is a great poem:

Dark Eyes by Dylan

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
They're drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide
I live in another world where life and death are memorized
Where the earth is strung with lover's pearls and all I see are dark eyes.

A cock is crowing far away and another soldier's deep in prayer
Some mother's child has gone astray, she can't find him anywhere
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
Whom nature's beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes.

They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I'm sure it is
But I feel nothing for their game, where beauty goes unrecognized
All I feel is heat and flame, and all I see are dark eyes.

Oh, the French girl, she's in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel
Hunger pays a heavy prize to the falling gods of speed and steel
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.

When I read this poem I get the chills. The images are controlled, each line is charged with a deep poetic connection. It is not forced.

Here's another one that doesn't need music and works as a great poem. (but love the music too!)

When The Ship Comes In
Written by: Bob Dylan

Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin’
Like the stillness in the wind
’Fore the hurricane begins
The hour when the ship comes in
Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin’
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin’

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real
The hour when the ship comes in

Then they’ll raise their hands
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharoah’s tribe
They’ll be drowned in the tide
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered

Move over Coleridge! This is an amazing visionary work! It has so many connections to a common thread.
WDYT?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

thank you very much for sharing those with me...very much enjoyed!

always, Cat

When you fling poo, some of the stink sticks to you!

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
http://eddystyx.mythramuse.com/

Take the ribbon from your hair, shake it loose and let it fall,
Lay it soft upon my skin. like the shadows on the wall.

Come and lay down by my side till the early morning light
All I'm takin? is your time; help me make it through the night.
I don't care what's right or wrong, I don't try to understand.
Let the devil take tomorrow. lord, tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrow's out of sight.
And it's sad to be alone; help me make it through the night.

I don't care what's right or wrong, (yes, I do !)
I don't try to understand.
Let the devil take tomorrow. lord, tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrow's out of sight.
Lord, it's bad to be alone. help me make it through the night.

"The Sound Of Silence"

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

Read that without singing.
I think it's so lovely.
Jx

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Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

"The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls" in my opinion one of the most powerful lines written in the last 50 years .........stan

'Silence like a cancer grows.'
There are some fantastic images in this.
Reading it actually makes the hairs stand up on my arms.
Jx

------------
Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

For a' that.

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Keith Logan
the happy chappy
https://www.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

this poem from my senior year in high school .......almost 50 years ago. And who says rhyme doesn't help in memory lol......stan

he wrote a vast amount of bawdy poems, probably to get free drinks at local hostelries. Or that although he was an incorrigible rake, women adored him so his hit/miss ratio was pretty high in the old sex game.

Keith Logan
the happy chappy
https://www.neopoet.com/community-guidelines

you get the memo? All us poets are incorrigible lol

As the goal of this forum is to attempt to set an aesthetic of what makes a poem a poem and a lyric a lyric. How can we establish for ourselves what might be a good lyric, but not a necessarily a good poem to read and enjoy without the music.
There can be lots of debate about the ancients, weather Homer was sung or spoken, but i think we should be working more in the modern sensibility of the subject, which seems to go back to the middle ages. The earliest lyrics known to have have music was the 24 poems reset to music by Karl Off in Carmina Burana. These were tavern drinking songs. Actually great poems, translated from the latin. Here's the famous beginning, O fortuna:

O Fortuna, O Fortune,
velut luna like the moon
statu variabilis, you are changeable,
semper crescis ever waxing
aut decrescis; and waning;
vita detestabilis hateful life
nunc obdurat first oppresses
et tunc curat and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem, as fancy takes it;
egestatem, poverty
potestatem and power
dissolvit ut glaciem. it melts them like ice.
Sors immanis Fate - monstrous
et inanis, and empty,
rota tu volubilis, you whirling wheel,
status malus, you are malevolent,
vana salus well-being is in vain
semper dissolubilis, and always fades to nothing,
obumbrata shadowed
et velata and veiled
michi quoque niteris; you plague me too;
nunc per ludum now through the game
dorsum nudum I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris. to your villainy.
Sors salutis Fate is against me
et virtutis in health
michi nunc contraria, and virtue,
est affectus driven on
et defectus and weighted down,
semper in angaria. always enslaved.
Hac in hora So at this hour
sine mora without delay
corde pulsum tangite; pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem since Fate
sternit fortem, strikes down the strong man,
mecum omnes plangite! everybody weep with me!

To me is a good poem. What makes a poem a poem?
- lyrics are one usually dimensional, the address the subject without metaphor which extend the meaning away to the poetic universe
- lyrics often depend on catchy rhymes- "Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars, let me see what life is life is like on Jupiter and Mars"
-whereas music is based on repetition, most lyrics depend on them as well with repeated choruses,
stanzas, and images. The ballad song form is a good example.
-by far the theme of courtship is the largest in lyrics, in that sense we are are imitating the birds! It's hard to write a good love poem that doesn't want to be sung. Whether it's the joy of mating or the blues of getting dumped by a lover, we prefer to sing about it. I wonder why we prefer to sing about this thing called love.
-great poetry needs to be read and reread in slow motion to really catch all the input. Songs lyrics are usually accessible on the first take.

These are my ideas alone. I would love to hear your analysis. I have been searching in vain to find good rap poetry...please somebody, show me something!!
I was told to check out Eminem. Maybe it's great rap, but as far as poetry...Here's what you get:

[eminem:]
there's a certain mystique when i speak that you notice
cause it's sort of unique, cause you know it's me,
my poetry is deep and i'm still mad at the way i flow to this beat!
i can't stand still, it's like trying smoke crack and go to sleep,
i'm strapped it's known any minute i could snap,
i'm the equivalent of what would happen if bush rapped
i bully these rappers so bad lyrically
it ain't even funny, i ain't even hungry, it ain't even money
you can't pay me enough for you to play me
it's cockamanie you just ain't zany enough to rock with shady
my noodle is cock-a-doodle, my clock's coo-coo
i got screws loose, yea the whole kitten caboodle, i'm just brutal
it's no rumor, i'm numero uno, assume it
there's no more humor in it, no more you know
i'm rolling with a swollen bowling ball in my bag
you need a fag to come and tear a near hole in my ass!

chorus:

[jay-z]
young hov got the game in a frenzy
twenty million sold all independently,
so when you mention me
make sure you got together your 'semblies
like, "he's the games j.f.kennedy"
i started out, i ain't have no chimney
my ma was santa claus, well, at least she pretended to be
'til one night, well, that's if memory serves me correct
i caught her under the christmas tree.
young hov ain't have no pops
thank god, man, i had the block
ya'll hear me though
you young fucks got the game all wrong
this is my life, man, this ain't no song!
you ain't livin' your rhymes out, you live at your mom's house
in that tight-ass room, pullin' the cars out
and the mirror pointin' at your reflection, killing yourself
you american pie, stop feeling yourself!

chorus:

[nas :]
i woke up early on my born day, i'm twenty years of blessing
the essence of adolescent leaves my body now i'm fresh in
my physical frame is celebrated cause i made it
one quarter through life some god-ly like thing created
got rhymes 365 days annual plus some
load up the mic and bust one, cuss while i puffs from
my skull cause it's pain in my brain vein money maintain
don't go against the grain simple and plain!
when i was young at this i used to do my thing hard
robbin' foreigners take they wallets they jewels and rip they green cards
dipped to the projects flashin' my quick cash
and got my first piece of ass smokin' blunts with hash
now it's all about cash in abundance, niggaz i used to run with
is rich or doin years in the hundreds
i switched my motto -- instead of sayin fuck tomorrow
that buck that bought a bottle could've struck the lotto.
once i stood on the block, loose cracks produce stacks
i cooked up and cut small pieces to get my loot back
time is illmatic keep static like wool fabric
pack a four-matic that crack your whole cabbage!

chorus:

Read more: Eminem - Rap Poets Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

No disrespect but my thoughts are that poems deliver boring songs and lyrics often offer dullness as poems. Hit songs are formula-based for those who know and are active in the business of writing lyrics as a profession. Poetry examines deeper images and emotional explorations not as naturally spoken as a lyric requires. That said, there is space between that borrows from both worlds (expression & form) to serve an otherworldly mixture of genres.

Halcyon

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