Music In Poetry

I don’t know a thing about music, not really. I know what I like and what I don’t like. I was the kid the first grade music teacher gave the tambourine to and sat in the far corner. LOL. Maybe that was ADD, but back in the 70’s they didn’t know about that.  Her lack of patience is painful to think about to this day. This might be the reason I cringe when music is talked about in relation to poetry.

It was difficult to get HTML to display House Of Eternity correctly, so what you see isn’t exactly what was intended. It is hoped the “music” comes across though, regardless of the spacing between what is being thought of as string notes on a cello – pluck    boing.  With less spacing could it be the “notes” are “heard” faster than the “notes” with more spacing? I hope it makes the poem a little dramatic, and even more non-sensical – maybe non-Suessical, but Dr. Suess rhymed more.

I still love Dr. Suess. My favorite book is “Oh The Thinks You Can Think.” I read it to my boys all the time when they were little. Sometimes I think I need to buy them a copy, now, to remind them “if only they try.”

Gertrude Stein must have been on my mind ,too, when this piece was written. She was all about how things sound rather than mean.

In a video, poet  Robert Hass said two lines in a poem are “being” lines, or lines that are grounding: in the body. And he said said 3 or more lines in a stanza are becoming lines: lines that are of the mind. I like that idea: a mixed number of lines per stanza in a poem must make it both being and becoming – like music, it is moving. So the other lines have one foot in the grave? 😦 They certainly aren’t American Sentences. LOL.

Thanks for reading! I’m always learning. A lot was certainly learned while writing this post.


House of Eternity
by Anni Johnson

The day starts with a bang.          pluck   boing   smack
Depression-era Lap-Landers lick
consciousness from cold toes.     pluck        boing       smack

I want to work, but it’s too hard to concentrate,
too painful to try.

pluck boing boing smack

I’m condemned to a life of books
whispering, This is what life’s about – laughing the way they do.

pluck       pluck

I lapse between two worlds
with a jerk. By my side
sits redemption on one hand,
and justification on the other –
no praise in sight.

Trying to purge,
trying to purge,
trying to heal open wounds,       pluck       boing
but lingering pus filled thoughts…   linger.

pluck   boing   boing   smack

She flashed in and flashed out of the blue.
A distance forever farther away,
never to be seen again.

I dream,
I dream,
I dream you into existence: pluck   boing   smack
a wily smile,
a devil’s quivering lips,
eyes that pierce my soul.   pluck       boing

You alone know Me – whoever that is…       smack!

Image credit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s