Poetry and Lyrics



You know what poetry is, right?  You suspect lyrics is poetry requiring music, meant for music, sounding better with music, or combined with music making music and lyric better than the sum of their individual contributions.  Close; we’re gonna give you a cigar anyway.

Poetry is terribly misunderstood.  Many poets whose work I’ve seen don’t understand what poetry is. That’s confusing because poetry takes so many forms beyond the measured meter, rhymed lines that first come to mind hearing someone say ‘poetry’ or ‘poem.’ 

‘Lyric’ actually describes any poem deeply emotional, especially revealing more than we care to know about the poet’s soul, what s/he had for breakfast, how many stars twinkle in the sky (oh my!) and whether or not the forlorn poet will ever again find love in any form, let alone true love like that  recently lost.  Actually, not lost; torn asunder from her/his heart, truly messing-up our poet’s mind, liver, spleen, and likelihood for a happy life in this or any other eternity.

Foolishly, I’d suggest poetry, including lyric poetry, should make sense.  Abstract is okay; hidden or insanely disguised meaning is okay; double, triple, and beyond meanings are okay; but a poem should ultimately make sense.  A collection of disjointed, actually random, unconnectable words is, well, a collection of disjointed, actually random, unconnectable words.  Don’t pester me with ‘poetic license.’  I ain’t gonna buy it.  Lotta folks will, and that’s just fine.

For my purposes here, ‘poetry’ is anything using (or trying to use) words beautifully to make sense, relay some profound or maybe just humorous message.  Metaphor, analogy, simile, relentless repetition, marvelous imagery, and clever strategic misuse of words, all included.  Might be lyric; dunno if I can feel ‘deeply,’ or ‘profoundly.’  Most poetry I’ve written took me by surprise; most of it on a dare, and, I apologize, most of it not that good.

‘Lyric’ here will be covered by your words-and-music idea.  Consider what’s here escaped from a librettist not at all serious about portraying the pain felt when one’s best friend runs off with his dog, last six-pack, wife, and his pickup truck.

SPW 6.22.2020

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