Sunday, 17 April 2016

Music on Sunday; Songs inspired by poems

Yesterday my quotes and pics blog was about poem quotes; today I was looking for artists who were inspired by poems in their songs. Enjoy;

Robert Plant interpolates on the bridge of this psychedelic tune a couplet from Love is Enough, a poem by Victorian writer-designer William Morris.

Longtime Plant inspiration William Morris (1834-96) is considered the progenitor of the fantasy fiction genre thanks to his revival of medieval texts.

Morris' passion for the medieval also fed his unique style of domestic interior decoration and in 1861 he co-founded a decorative arts company in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The firm provided a complete home design service to their clients dedicated to the principles of medieval craftsmanship. Morris did this in order to counter the mass-produced works of the Industrial Revolution. The firm became highly fashionable and had a profound influence on the decoration of houses into the early 20th century.

This epic thirteen and a half minute track is divided into four parts and was inspired by Nightwish keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen's favorite poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892), and his famous free verse poem of the same name. The song includes a six-minute recitation of the Transcendentalist poem. He explained to Metal Hammer magazine: "I wanted to pay homage to him and do the lyrics in a way that he would possibly write. It's a real, open, thorough, personal catharsis – especially the spoken-word part."

Some of the lyrics are based on a poem by Hugh Mearns called The Psychoed:

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who was not there
He wasn't there again today
I wish that man would go away

This song is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's 1839 poem of everlasting love beyond the grave.

The second line of this song, "when the evening spreads itself against the sky," is taken from T.S. Eliot's 1920 poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Sting noted in Lyrics By Sting: "What is it Eliot said? 'Bad poets borrow, good poets steal'?"

Something like that. What Eliot actually said (from his 1920 collection of essaysThe Sacred Wood): "One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."

This song was based on a 17th century poem by Thomas Dekker called Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes:

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby
Rock them, rock them, lullaby
Care is heavy, therefore sleep you
You are care, and care must keep you
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby
Rock them, rock them, lullaby

© KH

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