Friday, August 19, 2011

Lyrics as Poetry: Simple Life

When I was in AP English my senior year of high school, my awesome teacher set aside a time every week for what we called Lyrics as Poetry. We each got to bring a song that we loved and thought was poetry then we'd listen to it and go over the lyrics to show why we thought it was poetry. I think it's time to reinstate the weekly Lyrics as Poetry sharing.

Here are some characteristics of Poetry:

· Poetry is emotional

· Poetry engages the heart and mind of readers

· Poetry expresses a theme

· Poems share an idea not necessarily a mirror of our own experience

· Poems come in a variety of structures (eg. haiku, limerick, cinquain, sonnet, free verse, etc.)

· The structure of a poem may contribute to the overall meaning

· Poetry relies on sound

· Poems reflect concise language and specific diction

· Poems contain sound devices (eg. assonance, alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia, etc.) to support the content of a poem

· Poems contain figurative language (eg. simile, metaphor, hyperbole, etc.)

· Poems contain imagery (language that appeals to the senses and creates pictures)

· Poems may include rhythm (the regular recurrence of stressed and unstressed beats)

· Poems may contain rhyme

· Poems are written in stanzas or concepts whereas prose is written in paragraphs

· Poems contain breaks at the ends of lines whereas prose is written in sentences

I know that my class had much more extensive (and better) list of what poetry is, but this will have to do.



This week I chose a song by the Weepies called "Simple Life"
So, listen to the song. Now.





Then take a look at the words as you listen to the song AGAIN.

When I get up in the morning, put the kettle on
Make us some coffee, say hey to the sun
Is it enough to write a song, and sing it to the birds
They'd hear just the tune, not understand my love for words

But you would hear me and know...
That I want to live this
I want to live
I want to live a simple life

I dreamed you first, but not so real
And every day since I found you, such moments we steal
Like little fields, we rub our hands
And hold our hearts between them

But will you hear me and know...
That I want to live this
I want to live
I want to live a simple life

Move on, move on, time is accelerating
Drive on, all night, traffic lights and one ways
Move on, move on parking violations waiting
Turn off the car, breathe the air, let's stay here

I'll kiss you awake, and we'll have time
To know our neighbors all by name, and every star at night
We'll weave our days together like waves, and particles of light

I want to live this
I want to live
I want to live a simple life
I want to live this
I want to live
I want to live a simple life


There is so much imagery in this poem. traffic lights. parking violations waiting. And it is so expressive. My favorite part is in the first stanza "Is it enough to write a song and sing it to the birds? They'd hear just the tune, not understand my love for words". It's packed full of emotion and definitely has a set rhythm and even some rhyming.

What are some of your favorites songs or lyrics and what makes them poetry?


Write On!

1 comment:

  1. Just gotta say that the Weepies are my one of my favs. Totally. So in other words, I approve of your music choice :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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