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Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Go Long'

Formal poetry, eh. Can I still write it? I suspect not. I always feel on the verge of it abandoning me, given which sad state of affairs I take the small pre-emptive step of abandoning this new example I’ve just written, hereunder. I do think ‘Go Long’ from Joanna Newsom’s latest album is the loveliest thing I’ve heard all year though, I must say.

Go long, go longer. Linger, song,
words I hang on, echoing on,
although what song I hardly care,
any words to any old air
so long as I am lost among

the old heart rights and wrongs, heart-wrung,
light on the air as your sweet tongue.
But ‘heart’, and ‘heart-wrung’? Are you sure?
Or were you listening too hard to hear?

Whether the heart be song’s true spring
or nowhere at all, means not a thing,
drifting on the words we share.
All besides I trade, forswear,
if you too give in, borne along.
And where? I’m listening too hard to hear.


Anon-y-Moose said...

The rest of the album is smashing. Particularly Jackrabbits and the lines "I was tired of being drunk, and my face cracked like a joke. So I swung through here like a brace of jackrabbits. With their necks all broke ...". Really beautiful. Off to see her at the Royal Festival Hall on 12th May - I can't wait.

Mark Granier said...

What's formal? The outer eddies of the offstream sometimes seem desperately formal to me, though what do i know? Anyway, your poem did its work; just listened to that song and a few others on youtube. She reminds me a little of Tori Amos, though very different too. Definitely something new. Will probably buy the album now. Thanks for keeping me in touch.

Listening too hard, eh? Not always a good idea.

The Midnight Heart said...

My favourite lines from 'Inflammatory Writ'...

'Even mollusks have weddings, though solemn and leaden / but you dirge for the dead, take no jam on your bread / - just a supper of salt and a waltz through your empty bed.'

Or then again, maybe....

'Advice from the master derailed that disaster; / he said "Hand that pen over to ME, poetaster!" /
While across the great plains, keening lovely & awful, / ululate the last Great American Novels - / An unlawful lot, left to stutter and freeze, floodlit.'