Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What the World Needs Now

Talking to Fred Sasaki the other night about rock lyrics and how poets have been influenced by them had me thinking about Marc Bolan. I know that T. Rex, Dylan, and other rock lyricists have influenced my conception of how images work in successful poems. Because it's also Valentine's Day,

"The lively sparks that issue from those eyes,
Against the which there vaileth no
Have pierced my heart, and done it none offence,
With quaking pleasure more than once or twice."

-Sir Thomas Wyatt

I'm also framing this off-the-cuff blog entry with the thought in mind that the rock musicians I've always loved have written lyrics that use imagery to create a vivid mind movie that harkens back to the tradition established by the medieval troubadors. Renaissance poets also spun tales of lost love that resonate and that imagery has been recycled to the point where it has become the source of much cliche. But a line could be drawn connecting the lyrics of these poets (which could be taken even further back to the work of classical poets like Sappho) to the lyrics of rock artists such as Marc Bolan, the Rolling Stones, and now Beck.

"You slide so good, with bones so fair
You've got the universe reclining in your hair
'Cos you're my baby, yes you're my love
Oh girl I'm just a jeepster for your love.

Just like a car, you're pleasing to behold
I'll call you Jaguar if I may be so bold
'Cos you're my baby, 'cos you're my love
Oh girl I'm just a jeepster for your love."

-Marc Bolan

The blason was invented by Clement Marot in 1536. This enumerated form of catalogue verse of praise or blame works well to list the reasons why the object of one's attention is deserving of that.

"I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands.

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need."

-Mick Jagger

One of my favorites is Free Union by Andre Breton, which explodes with uncommonplace imagery and comparisons so singular that the reader is forced to envision a woman so fantastical that no comparison can be made between the woman described and any living person. Breton's goal was to take the reader someplace unique and never before imagined.

"My wife with the eyelashes of strokes of a child’s writing...

My wife with the shoulders of a champagne..

My wife with legs of flares
With the movements of clockwork and despair
My wife with calves of eldertree pith
My wife with feet of initials...

With hips of a chandelier and of arrow-feathers
And of shafts of white peacock plumes
Of an insensible pendulum.."

-Andre Breton

Sure this stuff seems a little hokey now in the year 2007, but the music of T. Rex still sounds cool. Bolan's pen was filled with something magical ... there should be a new subgenre of music invented for him. Thanks to YouTube for the kooky video. Enjoy.

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