Poetry in the Music

I came to poetry through music. My mother was very musical and loved to sing. She had a broad taste and, instead of lullabies, she would perform popular songs of the day to get me to sleep, songs by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra; Harry Belafonte’s ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ (which reminds me of mum) and ‘Island in the Sun’; or A. A. Milne’s poetry put to music, such as ‘Vespers’. I had copies of A.A. Milne’s books of poetry and enjoyed the jaunty rhythms and rhymes. But the poetry that really got to me was introduced to me at school when I was eight or nine by our teacher, Miss Pile. I fell in love with Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shallot’ and Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ and ‘Jerusalem’, which was set to music and sung as a hymn in school assemblies. When my favourite hymn, ‘Morning has broken’, originally a poem by Eleanor Farjeon, was recorded by Cat Stevens in 1971, I was a teenager. I listened to the album ,’Teaser and the Fire Cat’, non-stop – I still have it on CD. I was also strongly influenced by the lyrics of Joni Mitchell and the poetry of Leonard Cohen. That was when I started writing my own poetry, as a way of exorcising my teenage demons. And releasing my angel wings.

new buds on fruit trees
vernal breeze in the wind chimes
music of the past

Kim M. Russell, 2018

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday: Who? What? Why?

This  Monday Toni is back to host and she’d like us to write haibun about what/who inspired us to write poetry, including age and other circumstances;  the who  poets who  influenced or still influence us and what it was about them that grabbed our interest; and the most difficult part is why we write poetry? 

So we are writing one to two paragraphs of non-fiction, ending with a classic haiku which has a seasonal reference, and interchangeable first and third lines. 

46 thoughts on “Poetry in the Music

  1. releasing your angel wings….that is so wondrous. I actually didn’t read Milne until I was an adult and feel head over heels in love. Music I think leads to poetry – poetry leads to music….I like hearing this why and how from you. It tells me so much. Scarlet ribbons…I haven’t thought of that song in years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The poetry in music is something really special. Love all of your references. Scarlet Ribbons was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar many years ago. The poetry of Bob Dillon and Simon and Garfunkle remain unmatched in my opinion. Great haiku…Love the idea of spring winds being recurring music from the past!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s funny, I’ve been writing music in some capacity for 15 years now, and have only recently started regularly writing poetry. Though, if I think about it, music is a form of poetry and vice versa. Both have rhythm and both have a raw and eloquent way of expressing emotion. All this to say, it makes sense that your poetry came from your musical background. The two flow so naturally from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

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