Monday, April 8, 2013

The words get in the way

I have a friend who has a blog – a poetry and literature blog, mostly. She and I have talked about why poems resonate so much with her and why they don’t for me. Recently, she posted for the National Month-Long Poetry tour and discussed a poetry reading she attended.

But as with almost all poems and almost all writings about poems, I just didn’t get it, and wondered how it was that I was lacking so much . . . Understanding? Empathy? I don’t even know what I’m lacking, I only know that I am lacking something.

Maybe I’m color-blind to poetry.

Or maybe it’s that I don’t speak the language.

Or maybe it’s the words that are just not enough. Or they’re too much, too noisy without saying anything. Case in point, I’d rather hear the song behind the lyrics any day – the tune, the melody, the chord structures, all of those things that do speak to me. That's true for pretty much all genres of music.

Here’s a silly little example, OK two examples:

First the bumblebee:

Now the unhatched chickens:

Can you see them in your mind? 

Would words make the picture any clearer? 

I will keep reading my friend's blog. From time to time, she posts a poem I end up liking a bit. It's as though I've turned my head and somehow heard something from another dimension. It doesn't happen a lot, but it's worth reading all the rest that are just noise to me to find those few. 


Jeanne said...

I love those moments when you understand a bit or even like a poem I've posted!
Program-music and songs with words are pleasant enough, but I tend to like more free-form dreaming with music. Last night at the symphony we were rehearsing two big, Romantic Russian pieces, a Kalinnikow symphony and a Tschaikowski piano concerto. The part at the end of the Kalinnikow-- where the violins play a ten-note theme over and over, moving chromatically up the scale a little while the french horns play a descending theme in opposition--is a pleasure closely akin to pain.

And I already wrote about the pleasure of the Tschaikowski, when we were sight-reading it (badly) with the impatient soloist and the counting was difficult and then suddenly my fingers found themselves playing the most lovely familiar melody (afe d fe g fcd b efb...)

Diane Russell said...

Poetry seems to hit people like one of those left-brain, right-brain things. I love it myself. The words, and the rhythm of the words, all speak to me in a special way.

On the other hand, as much as I love, and listen to music, I can't play by ear.

All our differences make life more interesting!

Magpie said...

i never listen to the words. it's shocking to me - i barely know the words to the star spangled banner, though i could probably still play it on the piccolo...

kittiesx3 said...

Wonder if the connection is because I started as an instrumentalist?