(covering Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’)
in a sea of possibilities
I’m surrounded by waves like stallions
horses coming from all directions
white manes shining
stars in the black mare of night
up against a sea wall
I seize the first possibility
in a crash of waves
coming in like Arabian stallions
lapping into sea horses
I grab a handful of main
tangle my fingers in silken mane
saved on a wave
from drowning in a sea of possibilities
Kim M. Russell, 2016
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Tuesday Poetics – Covers with Bryan
Today Bryan is our guest host with an interesting prompt: in the music industry, if an artist wants to show his/her admiration for another musician, he/she will often ‘cover’ a song or tune. The beauty of a cover is that it pays tribute to the original artist, while at the same time showing the unique style of the new musician. As a bonus, it may also introduce the fans of the covering musician to the music of the original artist.
Covers are not constrained by genre. Classical melodies have been covered by rock musicians, rock tunes have jazz covers and jazz melodies have even been covered by country artists!
It’s easy enough to take a song and change the rhythm and instrumentation while keeping the original melody intact. Can the same can be done within the medium of words? Is it possible for one poet to cover the work of another? Of course, you can’t simply copy the words of Byron or Yeats and call it a cover…but is there a way to use or incorporate their words into our own poems in such a way that we stay true to the theme while still adding our own flavour?
Bryan would like us ‘cover’ poems by poets we admire. If we are completely stuck, we can consider a cento or glosa to cover the words and/or expand upon the words of a favourite poet. Above all, he wants us to have fun – and remember to refer back to the poets we ‘cover’.
I was going to cover one of Patti Smith’s poems from her collection Early Work, but decided on the wonderful ‘Land / Horses / Land of a Thousand Dances / La Mer (de)’, which is sadly a little too long to reproduce here, so please enjoy the link to YouTube!