Monthly Archives: March 2011

Music in Poetry

Late because I was gone that day.

The song Rockin’ Chair by the band is a true source of great poetry. Its lyrics illustrate this very well. 

“Rockin’ Chair”

Hang around, Willie boy, 
Don’t you raise the sails anymore
It’s for sure, I’ve spent my whole life at sea 
And I’m pushin’ age seventy-three
Now there’s only one place that was meant for me:

Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie
We’re gonna soothe away the rest of our years,
We’re gonna put away all of our tears,
That big rockin’ chair won’t go nowhere

Slow down, Willie boy,
Your heart’s gonna give right out on you
It’s true, and I believe I know what we should do 
Turn to stern and point to shore,
The seven seas won’t carry us no more

Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie
I can’t wait to sniff that air,
Dip that snuff, I won’t have no care,
That big rockin’ chair won’t go nowhere

Hear the sound, Willie boy,
The Flyin’ Dutchman’s on the reef
It’s my belief
We’ve used up all our time,
This hill’s to steep to climb,
And the days that remain ain’t worth a dime

Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie
Would’a been nice just to see the folks,
Listen once again to them stale old jokes,
That big rockin’ chair won’t go nowhere

I can hear something callin’ on me
(And you know where I wanna be)
Oh Willie, can’t you hear that sound?
(Down in old Virginny)
I just wanna get my feet back on the ground
(Down in old Virginny)
And I’d love to see my very best friend
They call him Ragtime Willie
(Oh, to be home again)
I believe old rockin’ chair’s got me again! 

 

 

 

These lyrics are true poetry. Almost every line is a metaphor used to help illustrate that the song itself is a metaphor. The song is about a desire to retire, and go back to the old life back home in old Virginny. 

He uses the flying dutchmen to show that death is near, and uses the metaphor of sailing as work. He says he has sailed the seven seas, meaning he no longer has any desire to keep working, he has accomplished all his goals. 

Specifically the metaphors and carefully crafted words make this an amazing source of true poetry.

There are many more metaphors in this song, however I will let you interpret the rest, because all music should be interpreted in different ways, depending on who you are.

Almost ironically this song was created many years ago when the lead singer, Levon Helm was young. Levon is now nearing age 73, recently won a Grammy, within the last couple years, and is probably thinking of retirement. However He has not stopped playing in a band since he started with The Band, and has gone from the main voice in this song to Willie. He may need some convincing in order to retire. This song relates to him now more then ever. 

A video containing audio for this song is posted below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg-ILjqbKT4

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Final 4 Poetry Edition

My Final four animated  poems were:

Cartoon Physics Part 1 by: Nick Flynn

New York by: Valzhyna Mort

Those Winter Sundays by:  Robert Hayden

and last but not necessarily least, Space Bar by: Heather McHugh

The Winner… Cartoon Physics Part 1 by: Nick Flynn. The poem won because of its originality, creativity, and its ability to provoke deep thought. He uses ideas that are rarely written about, and uses metaphors and ideas to provoke a reaction of deep thought. It was extremely well written, and really made sense, but still made you think, and wonder. The ability to make a reader wonder, in my mind, is very important, and becoming rarer. Nick Flynn did a great job, and a link to the animated poetry, along with a picture of the author, is below:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/poetryeverywhere/uwm/flynn.html

Nick Flynn