April is Poetry Month: Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop


I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow !

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
to the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.


Mamacita says:  I remember the day I discovered this poem.  The first thought that crossed my mind was “How in the world has this poem escaped my notice all these years?”  I was actually angry!

Then again, I might not have fully appreciated this poem if I had found it earlier.  It takes more than a love of music and a playlist of thousands of songs to understand music.

I am assuming that you all do realize that a good poem is simply a good song, minus the melody. . . .

Those of you out there who claim to dislike poetry?  To be consistent, you will have to claim to dislike music, too; otherwise, your ignorance will be exposed to the universe at large, and the universe at large has great big hands and long scary fingers, and important inconsistencies are pointed and laughed at by a far larger, mightier, and more important audience that inconsistent people will ever know.  And even if they DID know, they probably wouldn’t understand.

You know, like the people who fear Harry Potter yet adore Disney.   In other words, stupid people.

Oh, dear, is that politically incorrect?  The truth often is.

Now let us all point and laugh at such.  We won’t hurt their sensitive fragile delicate feelings, as inconsistent people have been avoiding this blog for years.  Nobody misses them.  Except for, you know, entertainment purposes.

This poem is about a song, about a melody.  This poem is itself a song.  This poem also makes us long for more songs, and remember beloved songs.  Dumbledore says it thus: “Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic far beyond all we do here!

Take the melody away (if you can!) from any song and what have you got?  The lyrics.  And what are lyrics?  Poems.


April is Poetry Month: Elizabeth Bishop — 4 Comments

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