Saturday, May 4, 2024

More poetry losing to music


I have been periodically resolving that clerkmanifesto is a grand plan. And though for many of its formative years it hewed to a strict written format, it almost immediately wandered into every subject my mind is capable of touching on. Then, at some point, it irreversibly ventured into images, and at this point, it wanders the universe at will: video, VR, time travel, and so on.

And just look where it is now.

Floating in space. 

Just like you.

As you might know, my current obsession is with setting poems to music. Though I probably have something close to twenty songs painstakingly created in this fashion, having to also build a kind of YouTube music video to show them here is so complicated and time-consuming that I have hardly had any examples for you thus far.

But an odd result of this elaborate process is that I am subsumed in poetry and carry all these poems around with me endlessly in my head and on the edge of my lips. Half the time I wander the library at my work, I am not even thinking my own thoughts, rather lines of poetry run through my mind:

Walt Whitman:

"Mississippi! Mississippi! mighty central stream,

Down-stream, up-stream, all the veritable wonders,"

And Edna St. Vincent Millay:

It is the whisper of the wind, and the wind's gentle sigh,

It is the river's voice, and it speaks to the sky.

Or, again:

I remember three or four

Things you said in spite,

And an ugly coat you wore,

Plaided black and white.

Sara Teasdale:

And the moon is a silver blade,

That cuts through its flow at birth.

Or Baudelaire:

Yes. these people, plagued by household cares,

Bruised by hard work, tormented by their years,

Each bent double by the junk he carries...

Although I must confess, I had to look all these lines of poetry up.

 Carrying the songs of these poems in my head, I sing them vociferously, with great passion, but the beautiful lyrics are mostly wrong, lost, or mumbled blurrily.

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