Sunday, June 26, 2011

Music Opinions, 2 cents' worth

Music is the most powerful form of art. It beats out painting and poetry and all the rest of the arts, in my opinion. Sometimes I base my opinions on study and research but with music, my opinion rests entirely on my emotions because that’s how music communicates with me. The sound of it bypasses my intellect and goes straight to the beating heart. That’s why I rate music as the highest art form. Minds are such dicey things.

I don’t deny an intellectual awareness of a given piece of music can enhance your experience of it. I’m thinking here about Leonard Cohen and some of Bob Dylan’s work. But my brain is not required to lift a finger as music evokes those powerful emotions ~ sadness, joy, spiritual uplift, melancholy, peace, whatever. The succession of notes creates an emotional response.

Sometimes I’ve wished that I could compose music instead of poetry. The composer doesn’t have to worry if the words he used to paint a scene strike the right chord or not. The poet has to contend with the fact that every word and statement will be filtered by unknown readers, and she is powerless over those filters. Poetry is heavily dependent on the conscious awareness and mental processes of each individual reader. Take the simple word “mother,” for example, in a sentence like “the mother stood at the sink / contemplating her hands.” I might mean it to be a meditation of the labor of motherhood, but your history with a sharp-tongued, very vain mother, for example, will arouse a completely different miasma of feelings.

Anyway, this week’s Poetry Jam is musical and directed by Brian of Waystation One. He asks that we write a poem inspired by a song or using a line from a song. I offer a piece that was inspired by Sarah Brightman’s “Il mio cuore va.” I didn’t know what the words meant when I wrote the poem since I don’t speak Italian and I didn’t know the English translation of this love song from the Titanic (“My Heart Will Go On”) until I Goggled them this afternoon. Her voice, then, was an instrument like an oboe or a cello creating an emotional reaction to the idea of long-term love.

Look at It This Way

this is you
this is her
twin threads twining in space
up and up andupandup
sinuous as snakes
the dance of the double helix
making life grow high

this is you
this is her
round notes soaring
high and round as the moon
in a purple sky
full of light a bird in flight
a waltz of wind and feather
mounting waves of air

this is you
this is her
a swelling-rising-rearing-
crashing wave
shatters on the sand
and the sand soothes
calms and suckles
a soft sighing washing smooth
the rough edges and the fury

this is you
this is her
strong arms gripping
across the precipice of loneliness
strong limbs bowing with the wind
strong lines moored in heavy seas
above all holding fast
in the face of all storms


Andrew said...

Music moves me in the same way. I used to attend concerts at the Centre for Performing Arts in Calgary and would often be moved to tears by the beauty I was experiencing.

A good film can move me in the same way, as can a good book or poem.

Truth be told, your words have moved me often too Chris.

Dave King said...

Not sure if I agree with your premise, but enjoyed the poem.

Brian Miller said...

really like the last stanza chris...i think together, you and her, you and he can face much...together there is power...i dunno i think musicians much like poets have to release their creation to the world knowing others will get far different things out of it...

Heaven said...

Isn't Titanic so dreamy... I just love the movie.

Sarah is a fantastic singer. I have heard her sing before - lovely choice.

Your post is so romantic.. i really like the last lines -

above all holding fast
in the face of all storms *sighs*

Nice to meet you~

Bagman and Butler said...

Ah, love! Each stanza deepends the feelings for me. Fine work!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Poetry, imho, is the highest art form. Music is all about emotion and can feed the writing. I couldn't live without music, but if I had to choose books or music, I'd choose books.

Your poem is lovely, I like the way you handle the repeat, such a powerful tool in poetry and, as always, you have a knack for the metaphor.

Thanks! I wish I had time to join the poetry jam but at least I got to read yours.

Helen said...

I read the first paragraph of your post and thought 'this is the way I feel - why can't I express it as eloquently?'

Your poem is as gripping as those strong arms .........

Kim A. said...

The theme this week in my life seems to be "mothers". I am glad that I didn't remember this from the movie since the lyrics hit so close to my heart as my two boys are standing on their own now. I also remember when this is how I felt as a young girl about my mom. Off to Brian to thank him for his choice and your words.


Karen said...

I choke up when I hear beautiful music, just a heart response. Sarah Brightman's voice is lovely. Your poem, too, is lovely.

Syd said...

I cannot listen to music when I am sad. It is too much. The lyrics of Dylan are awesome. He is a poet too, I believe.

the walking man said...

I have to disagree with your conclusion of music not having to pass through the filters...most of it has indistinguishable lyrics that have to be read to understood and then about half of them make little to no sense.

Yet then no musician or poet am I. I am simply a creature living the way I will to and if them that witness my living don't like what i say or do at least they will never suffer through me trying to sing. {;-P}

nsiyer said...

Awesome lyrics. well written and so personal

The Bug said...

This is a beautiful portrait of all the different facets of love - gorgeous. I especially like strong arms gripping across the precipice of loneliness ...

Peter Goulding said...

Ah, Titanic is for girls...
but your poem is pretty universal.Love the onomatopaeia of that third stanza

Mary said...

I love the flow of this poem, and really like the last stanza.

Laurie Kolp said...

Lovely, strong images in this delightful piece!

Claudia said...

music is magical and - being a musician myself - i wouldn't want to miss music to express my emotions in a depth probably nothing else allows...and you captured this so well in your poem...i much like it

Magpie said...

Music is such a primal gift. Your description of how it touches you is amazing. I love how music has a way of moving us on so many levels and creating so many varied responses dependent on what we're listening to. A song can move us back in time like a time machine and reconnect us with what we were feeling at that moment. Powerful stuff.

ScottF said...

as a lifelong musician, I am with you here Chris...

beautiful piece, amazing performance of a beautiful song...

As a Scotsman, the Italian translation doesn't fit the "sound" of the song for me, given that the Celine Dion performance is truer to the Celtic roots of the tale.

TechnoBabe said...

Holding fast in the face of storms is the best ending. You do bring music into play with "waltz of wind and feather". That is so lovely. I too tend to "feel" music more than to hear it.

Frédérique said...

...I often dream of a form of art that would be complete... I need music sounds words textures tastes fragrances.. all in one hitting my soul... I don't know... maybe in some sort of sunny death one day...
Tanks for sharing your wonderful words..