Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Joys of Jell-o

How neglected is the dessert Jell-o?
Though it’s lost popularity since its inception in 1897
Jell-o will always be around for you tomorrow

Those simple box instructions that wreck your flow
Bring back memories from when you were eleven
Oh how neglected were those cups of Jell-o.

I cannot argue like the great orator Cicero
But a spoonful of gelatin is truly from heaven.
Heavenly Jell-o is always around tomorrow

To be arranged, perhaps, into the many colors of the rainbow.
Warning: only attempt if you are truly driven
To see how useful is the neglected dessert Jell-o.

Jell-o will never let you ride solo
It can help those with arthritis or clinical depression
For, Jell-o will always be there for you tomorrow

Although this may seem a simple and hollow
Poem, just one long unnecessary digression
About the neglected dessert Jell-o
It is here to inform you: steadfast Jell-o will always be there for you tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Music Poetry

Poetry is used to convey experiences that one would not normally have in their life. Some songs fulfill the same function as poetry. One song that I believe could be defended as poetry is "The Kids Aren't Alright" by The Offspring. The main experience that this song is trying to convey is that of poverty and the hopelessness that it can instill in those in it. In the beginning of the song it says

When we were young the future was so bright
 The old neighborhood was so alive

 This is meant to show the initial hopefulness of the people living their. In addition, the portrayal of the neighborhood as "alive" further shows the initial hope of those living in such awful conditions. Later in the song they say

Now the neighborhood is cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn

This is mean to show the hopelessness that living in poverty can cause a person to feel towards life. This song is trying to illuminate the very big problem in the US: the problem of people living in poverty who can't escape no matter what.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Poetry by Nas

As Pareen says, poetry conveys experience. The music of hip hop artists and rappers from the 1980's and 1990's without a doubt discuss the troubles and experiences of these artists as well as uses multidimensional language show a destructive cycle that exists in the artist's neighborhood. In Nas's song Affirmative Action he discusses what it means to be a black man during this time in his neighborhood of Crown Heights, New York City. Throughout the song he uses effective imagery to describe the different staples apart of his neighborhood. He writes, "let's all wash this money through the laundry mat," which has both a literal and figurative meaning. Nas discusses the drug trade in New York and how this life style is a cycle much like the cycle that occurs in washing machines. The majority of the song discusses how being a part of this lifestyle is required in order to survive. However, he also notes that the cycle is destructive. Overall Affirmative Action is an incredible poem that relates the surroundings in Crown Heights, New York City to the lifestyle many young African American males lead in this neighborhood.

Chronic Pain

Every day your mouth opens and receives the kiss the world offers, which seals you shut though you are feeling sick to your stomach about the beginning of the feeling that was born from understanding and now stumbles around in you-the go-along-to-get-along tongue pushing your tongue aside. Yes, and your mouth is full up and the feeling is still tottering-

The passage begins on a positive note. The reader imagines a friendly, kissing world. The feeling is abruptly swept away as Claudia Rankine describes the nature of the kiss. It comes from a sick place. The sickness is so deeply rooted that the receiver feels defenseless to what is going on inside of them (their natural reaction to the sickness). Clearly the sickness is racism; it spreads quickly and easily through the world and through the bodies and minds of it's targets. The last part of the passage gives a helpless feeling without any resolution from the text. It describes a choking feeling.The end of the passage is not the end, she leaves the reader on that choking feeling with the words "still tottering-"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Front Porch Swordfish Sleepy Man a Mushroom

Woody Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter from Oklahoma. His musical legacy mainly consists of political/traditional/and children’s songs. For those of you who feel you’ve never heard of Guthrie, have no fear, you have most likely had a song of his humming through your head at some point in time. You can attribute Mr. Guthrie to being responsible for one of United States’ most famous folk songs of the 1940s, “This Land is Your Land”. Guthrie has famously influenced artists such as: Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer, and the obvious Billy Bragg and Wilco.

It seems slightly unjust, and also a little unnecessary to be the one defending the great Woody Guthrie’s lyrics as poetry. However, if there would be any one of his songs to find its way under potential scrutiny for poetic content, this song might just make the list. "HooDoo Voodoo" is a song written by Woody Guthrie and performed by Billy Bragg & Wilco. This song appears on disc 01 of a three part series, titled Mermaid Avenue. This album was lead into fruition at the request of the remaining Guthrie Estate. The Guthrie’s asked Billy Bragg to take on the responsibility of adopting Woody’s left behind lyrics and poems and make them his own. Bragg then asked Wilco for some assistance and together they turned Guthrie's stories into the intended foot stompin’, tear jerkin’, and politically lambasted tunes we hear on this album.
In relation to discussing the song and dissecting it for poetic meaninng, it can look a bit intimidating. After all, this piece is full of complete nonsensical terms and words that seem oddly enough, complex. It's almost as if the listener would have to speak an entirely different language just to get some comprehensible syntax out of the thing--let alone the writer’s intended tone and meaning! Look at the lyrics here for example, how do you even begin to dissect this? What is there to even try to make sense of?
Jinga jangler, tinga lingle, picture on a bricky wall
Hot and scamper, foamy lather, huggle me close
Hot breeze, old cheese, slicky slacky fishy tails
Brush my hair, kissle me some more
Ahh but don’t let the crazy words distract from this song's relatively simple message. It can be somewhat inferred by the childish rhyme scheme combined with the goofy phrases, that this song was written by Guthrie as a lullaby for his eight children. Because this song is intended for a youthful audience there is a humor aspect to the song w/both the lyrics and the rhythms, that when combined with Tweedy's whooping shrill-y vocals creates great dynamic.

While this song may be just simple child's rhyme, Guthrie does in fact have a pretty compelling story to share. This song can be seen as commentary on the world’s overabundance of nonsensical hub-ub, the unpredictability of a single day of life. Guthrie could be saying to his children that: while you might be exposed to some of the world’s (for lack of a better word) "ugly" things like, /Trash Sack/ or /Hot breeze, old cheese, slicky slakcy fish tails/ or effected by the less significant things in life /sidewalk, streetcar/ --know at the end of the day you can always have me here to love you.
Just look at the last few words of all of the stanzas:
--Grasshopper greensnake, hold my hand
--True blue, how true, kissle me now
--I'll be yours, you'll be mine
--True blue, how true, kissle me now
--Brush my hair, kissle me some more
--True blue, how true, kissle me now
--And kissle me some more
--Kissle me some more
--Kissle me some more
So yes, the words are ridiculous and random, but for a reason. The stomping thrill of the music matched against the lyrics’ childish rhyme patterns creates a quite interesting song as well.

If you like the song-watch this amazing live version that I just found, where Nels and Sansone duke it out w/ an epic guitar battle and Yo La Tengo (and some other special guests) join the band on stage.

See the full lyrics to Woody Guthrie's "Hoodoo Voodoo" HERE.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Who is the Most Underrepresented Mario Character?

The song that I chose to defend as poetry is the final song on the Black Pear Tree EP by The Mountain Goats and Kaki King, Thank You Mario but Our Princess Is in Another Castle. It is very simple on the surface; it is from the perspective of Toad who is trapped in a castle after being kidnapped and he's just kind of describing his surroundings and feelings. The "one thing [he] know[s] how to say" is the title of the song which he repeats when Mario arrives thinking he is saving the princess. This performance has a good explanation of the story behind the song.

But how can a song about Toad be considered poetry? On first listen you really feel for this inconsequential character as he sits alone in his dark sulfury room. He pretty much decides he’s going to die because no one is looking for him. The songwriter, John Darnielle, is known for giving seemingly small, shallow people their own story, exposing their depth, and that is just what he has done with Toad. In a review of The Mountain Goats’ newest album, Joseph Fink (Welcome to Nightvale) encapsulates this idea perfectly.
[Beat the Champ, The Mountain Goats’ latest album] is an album about, as the chorus of one of its tracks puts it, “nameless bodies in unremembered rooms.” I think that the entire career of the Mountain Goats has been about giving names to nameless bodies, and remembering unremembered rooms. I can’t think of a more worthy cause. (Source)
Toad is not nameless and he is very much remembered but he has no thought process until he is given one by his song. For once it is not a plot-driven story of Mario and Peach but a character-driven story of Toad. Revenge of Toad may not be the most worthy cause but the deeper meaning is. Darnielle, also the lead singer, is a poet specifically for the nameless and unremembered. He is finest at this when discussing a lighthearted topic in a seemingly light hearted manner. But he is a poet and his pieces most often hold deeper meanings. 

As a child Darnielle and his family experienced abuse at the hand of his stepfather and there are hidden references to his traumatic childhood in many of his songs. He represents Toad hiding from the screams reaching him from other parts of the castle. Poetry is meaningful when it comes from someplace real and there is no reality like John Darnielle’s. Also if a song about a minor character in a video game can make you emotional or even feel something then it has accomplished some level of poetry. You can picture the speaker helpless when he says "felt pretty sure my life was over." Trapped inside a castle or trapped inside an abusive relationship, everyone needs a Mario to come and save them; save them from their "solitude" and allow them to "breathe again." The soft piano and maracas are comforting in a somber way but it is not until the end when King joins Darnielle in singing the chorus that you feel safe from the foreboding castle. She symbolizes either the music that saved him (also discussed in other songs), or the physical presence of another person (like Mario or a family member) that keeps them from harm.

I don't know if this addresses the poetry of the song completely but it boils down to this: I think the song is poetry so it is and I don't really care if you disagree.

Citizen and Poetry

At first glance, both on the inside and the outside, Citizen, by Claudia Rankine, doesn't seem like poetry. But, once you start reading, it is clear that it couldn't, and shouldn't, be anything else. She is trying to tackle one of the biggest problems in America right now, and poetry is certainly the right way to do so. Poetry allows an author to embed a multitude of different and complex messages within a few short, but powerful, lines. This allows the reader to fully experience life through the eyes of someone else, not just as a passive, indifferent observer. With an issue like race and racism, it is extremely important to remember that real people are affected by it every day and Claudia Rankine does an amazing job preserving the human aspect of this problem while still making a commentary about the issue on a more broad level.

Protesting the Easy Way Out

Poetry serves to evoke a meaning or emotion in the reader. The song "Slip" by Elliot Moss from his album, Highspeeds has a clear meaning and seems very poetic to me. I believe the song addresses loved ones that may begin to change as time goes on and lose their way. The central meaning of this song is when you begin to lose the happiness and fire inside of you, if you let go of the hope of reclaiming your own life, there is no chance of getting it back unless you hold on. This loss is emphasized in the opening lines.

I won't keep watching you
dance around in your smoke
and flicker out
you're not the light I used to know

These lines display the dissapointment of the speaker through metaphors. They compare the person to a flame that has gone out. It is obvious that it was an actual flame rather than some type of lightbulb because of the smoke that has replaced this light. The line, "dance around in your smoke" evokes an image that implies a wild personality. This person that used to be so familiar, is now hazy and unknown. The speaker no longer can feel connected to this person that has changed. 

I don't believe in safety nets
strung below to make it alright
to let go
you gotta hold on

The speaker does not believe in giving up and relying on something else to catch you, this is represented by the "safety net". They do not believe in a safety net, if there is nothing to catch you there is no way to fix your life once you let go. The easy way out may be just to change or turn quiet. The speaker urges that the only way to enjoy life is work through a difficult time that challenges you. If you want something, you have to work for it and be strong. Without the work, they cannot have their full life.

Or it's gonna 
slip,slip,slip through your 
slip, slip, slip through your hands

The "it" in these lines refers to happiness and the way you live. If you let yourself change and don't fight for how it is, you risk losing it. It's so easy to lose it but harder to keep it. 

This song could be addressing many different situations. there's the possibility that the person that the speaker is addressing is falling into destructive habits involving substance abuse or simply the pair is growing apart. Either way, this song serves as a letter to the person who has changed as a final effort to communicate the speaker's opinion and worries. 

Was it your mother?

Discussing poetry is weird. If the correct way to read a poem is to experience it in it's full form, it feels false to build a conversation from it. It feels self-serving, inarticulate, and a little over-exposing. It feels like it should be left alone.

That being said, discussing poetry (or music, or art, or literature...) is a means of communication. If you have the ability to articulate the way a poem or song touches you, you are more connected to that poem or song. You are more connected to the speaker, the audience, and the person across the room. There is a lot of music out there, which is why we feel a specific closeness with people who share our taste in music, and why it's good to talk about it.

During her performance at Bowery Ballroom in New York, Angel Olsen tried out a new song that does not appear in any of her albums. She offers her perspective on someone she once felt close to. She uses the song as a departure from that person, but does a good job of avoiding a normal "break up" song. Although she connects herself to the situation, she doesn't bash the other person too badly, and she doesn't claim a victim's role. She uses the song for closure, and manages to keep her cool and stay true to her feelings at the same time. In the attached video, the audience's reactions to her emphasize her power in the room.
Angel Olsen knows the subject of the song very well, maybe even too well. She claims that she's seen them change over time, and wonders if she's been misread due to the limitations of the other person:
Was it me you were thinking of
all the times when you thought of me
was it your mother?
was it your shelter?
Was it another with a heart-shaped face?
These lines are both playful and real. "Was it your mother" not only gets a great reaction from the audience in the video, but it also pokes at gender roles, the binary between mothers and sons, and Freudian ideas about that binary. 'Heart-shaped face' not only refers to the actual shape of her face, but serves as a quirky alternative to the label of someone who "wears their heart on their sleeve." Later in the song, she continues to prove her closeness with this person by singing about the severity of their independence, and how it ends up isolating rather than liberating them:
You've never needed anyone
to expose you to the sun
you've never needed anyone
to raise your hell up outta your mind
The person doesn't need anyone to bring them joy or pain, because they produce both in extremes.
A multi-dimensional line from the song is
All the truth never really lies in a series of words we say
She plays on the solidity of the word 'truth' by including the word 'lies' in the same sentence, providing a nice contrast. 'Lies' also provides a visual foundation for the line, especially coupled with 'series' in reference to something that cannot be seen. 

Soul Meets Body

I have known the song Soul Meets Body from Death Cab for Cutie's fifth album, Plans, for as long as I can remember, but until now I had not fully realized the poetic nature of its lyrics. Though the song has a bit of a somber tone, which usually leaves me feeling sad, it is thought-provoking and multidimensional.

The speaker sets up the conflict of the song in the first lines: "I want to live where soul meets body/ And let the sun wrap its arms around me and/ Bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing and feel/ Feel what it's like to be new". The speaker seems to be unsatisfied or unhappy with life and wants to make a fresh start, and feels like the best place to do so is in the theoretical place between "soul" and "body". The experiences of feeling water and sunlight on the skin are purely physical, but the ambiguous use of the word "new" suggests that he wants to cleanse both his body and soul. He goes on to describe the extent of his detachment from his own mind: "'Cause in my head there's a Greyhound station/ Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations/ So they may have a chance of finding a place where they're/ Far more suited than here". These lines reference the experience of taking a journey on a bus, which, in a sense, personify his thoughts, suggesting that each of his thoughts has a unique personality and past. Perhaps he feels like his thoughts are not his own, or that they contradict each other. Thoughts that stem from our physical being and those that stem from our spiritual being may only be able to peacefully coexist in the place where "soul meets body".

The speaker addresses another person near the end of the song with the lines "So brown eyes I'll hold you near/ 'Cause you're the only song I want to hear/ A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere/ Where soul meets body". The audience is a mysterious person with brown eyes whose "song", which is likely a metaphor for the person's presence, he wants to listen to in the place where soul meets body. It is left unclear whether they would be together where the speaker's soul meets his body or where the brown-eyed person's soul meets their body, possibly suggesting that the meeting points of all of our souls and bodies are the same.

I feel that the song's ultimate meaning and purpose is to leave the listener with questions. Are the soul and the body separate entities? How are they different? And, most importantly, how and where do they meet?

That Power by Childish Gambino

That Power is an incredibly unique song for its two-toned nature that makes it sound like two completely different songs. The first part that consists of chorus and rap describes how he overcame the difficulties of being biracial in a society that pushes a black and white binary. There are a couple lines that are common in rap songs that may distract the listener and cause him or her to immediate profile this piece as “just another rap song” but further listening, perhaps listening again, will reveal deeper meaning of the piece.

Lovin' white dudes who call me white and then try to hate

When I wasn’t white enough to use your pool when I was 8

In this first couplet he uses the repetition of the word “white” which shows the prevalence of racial identity in social situations. His example of this issue is not being “white enough” to have been invited to swim in a classmate's pool when he was younger, yet white men call him “white” because he does not act “black”. He furthers this point in the following tercet when he says:

I’m just a kid who blowing up with my father’s name

And every black "you're not black enough"

Is a white "you're all the same"

In this tercet, he brings up the racial binary in a different light. In these lines he talks about how his biraciality causes him not to be able to please either part of him. He doesn’t fit in with his black ethnicity because he is too light for them, but despite his 50% white genetics, white people consider him black because any color darker than white is just black. Hence “you’re all the same.”

When the Spoken Word-like monologue starts, his persona changes to an awkward, thirteen year old boy- no longer the famous, rich rapper. Again, the listener may get caught up in the sentimentality and cuteness of the piece, and may be too distracted to catch recurring theme of race in social situations. While sitting on the bus back from camp, he contemplates telling the girl he befriended this summer how he feels because of the reality that they will never see each other again.

"Back in the real world we don’t go to the same school, and unless one of our families moves to a dramatically different neighborhood, we won’t go to the same high school. So, this is kind of it for us."

Back in the real world, their different socioeconomic statuses will cause them to go to different high schools. On a more meaningful level, the high schools represent their social situations. He will go to a high school in his neighborhood and she will go to one in her neighborhood and they will never be in the same social situation again. Through the metaphor of school he again demonstrates how he as been unable to join white social situations throughout his life.

I defend That Power as poetry, not just for it’s spoken-word qualities at the end, but for its ability to convey deeper and deeper meanings every time one listens to it again.

Lastly it is poetry because the last lines of the song he speaks leaves the reader/listener thinking--

"I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus a boy and got off a man more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got on the bus a boy. And I never got off the bus. I still haven’t."

--contemplating all that he has said, all that he means, and what the heck the bus is.

Link to the song is here

White Cedar

White Cedar is a song by The Mountain Goats from the album Transcendental Youth. The entire album is a journey, and "White Cedar," which is right in the middle of the album, is arguably the darkest and saddest part of that journey. It is a story from the perspective of a person who is involuntarily hospitalized for mental illness, but the song, in a broader sense, is about being stuck in a situation you can't control and learning to accept that.

The song begins with the narrator standing at the bus stop when they find out that they are going to be hospitalized. They still hold out hope that one day they will be well enough to move past their current situation in the line "I will be made a new creature/ One bright day," which transitions right into the first line of the chorus, "I don't have to be afraid."

During the second part of the song, the narrator is in the hospital and it is a difficult time. They say how they wake up on lock down and their visions won't ever learn. At the end of the verse, the line "My spirit sings loud and clear/ Even in here," brings to mind both the helplessness of being trapped in a place like a hospital and the power one has to stay themselves in a bad situation.

When I first heard this song freshman year, it really struck a chord with me, partly because of the meaning of the song, but also because the language is so powerful. I think that if a song and its lyrics stick with you all the way through high school, it can't be anything but poetry.

Taking Chances

When asked to choose a song I would defend as poetry I was not sure what to think. I mainly felt that poetry and music differed greatly, but Mr. Heidkamp seemed to feel that some songs could most definitely be considered poetry. I did a bit of research and stumbled upon this article. The author states that sometimes poetry is just meant to be seen, rather than heard (like music), but they are often the same in their complexity. Poetry always has a deeper meaning than meets the eye, and I would argue that the song "Chances" by Five For Fighting is the same.

The opening of the song isn't what totally hooks me. As the listener gets deeper into the songs the lyrics become much more complex and meaningful. The lyrics say Chances are the fascinations/ Chances won't escape from me/ Chances are only what we make them and all I need/. These lyrics are especially poetic to me because the songwriter is describing that there are so many chances in one's life and people should take these chances. The lyrics go on to say Still chances are more than expectations/. The author continues to describe that chances should be taken because they are much more exciting and you will get much more out of chances than doing what is normally expected.

The use of repetition with the word "chances" also further proves that this song is poetry. Many poets use repetition, whether it be a word or word phrase, to emphasize something. The songwriter wants to emphasize the word "chances" and uses repetition to do this.

Although many songs are not deemed poetry by people, they are no less difficult to write than poetry, and no less complex and therefore should often be considered poetry. I still feel as though there is some differences between poetry and music lyrics, but there are much more similarities than I thought.

Do you feel that all songs are poetry?

The Hymn of Acxiom

I came across this song a few weeks ago while I was working. As soon as the song started, I put down whatever I was doing and just listened. Then I played it again. And again. And again, until I had memorized every word.

The song is about surveillance and lack of privacy in the age of the internet. Vienna Teng writes about how our lives are reduced to facts, and how those facts no longer belong to us. I googled "Acxiom" and found that it's actually the name of an online database that collects information through private computers using "cookies" and sells that information to corporations to use for advertising purposes.

(At this point I should mention a wonderful irony - as I went over to the tab where I have the lyrics open, I was immediately faced with a huge pop-up ad from Amazon featuring a product I'd searched on their website only minutes before.)

The song is from the perspective of the software that controls us. The first lines establish the creepiness of the song: "Somebody hears you. You know that, you know that. / Somebody hears you. You know that inside." In the first line, it seems like reassurance. However, when she adds the word "inside," all of a sudden it seems like a threat to me. The fact that somebody hears you is something that you suspect, and not in a pleasant way.

That's the way the whole song is - at first it seems comforting, but then starts becoming more and more threatening. Especially when the last verse begins with a ton of voices screaming, "NOW WE POSSESS YOU!"

My favorite line in the song is, "Now we will build you an endlessly upward world / Reach in your pocket, embrace you for all you're worth." The words like "endlessly upward" and "embrace" sound like positive ideas, but when you realize that "all you're worth" is referring to how much you're worth as a consumer (reaching in your pocket!) the line becomes frightening.

The lyrics maintain a delicate balance between being comforting and unsettling, which reflects the nature of the topic matter. We live in a world that's endlessly interconnected, where the bounds of privacy are no longer so strictly defined. It's interesting, comforting, and scary all at the same time.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Fly Like an Eagle"

When you get past the psychedelic aspect of The Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like an Eagle," it's obvious why it could be considered poetry.  The song itself is actually quite lyrical after you get passed the typical 70s background track.  The opening lines when Miller sing, "Time keeps on slippin',...into the future" provides the listener with a simple philosophical viewpoint on the world.  According to Perrine, “Poets, from their own store of felt, observed, or imagined experiences, select, combine, and reorganize."  All of this is done in order to form an environment is which the reader, or listener in this case, can participate in and gain a greater understanding of their world.  This is exactly what Miller is doing with his lyrics in this song.  He speaks of freedom and revolution as time moves forward.  The artist does this by using, as most artists do, symbolism and imagery in his lyrics.  The most notable example of symbolism in this song is the line, "Fly like an eagle."  Of course, this line is referencing the freedom and revolution that I referenced early, but in a way that is almost appealing to the listener's sense of patriotism.  In the end, the meaning of the song is one of self-discovery and exploration of the surrounding world.  To show the meaning of the song, Miller incorporated intellectual elements, another component of Perrine's definition of poetry, while also showing his mastery of multidimensional language, strengthening the argument that "Fly Like an Eagle" is poetry.

For lyrics click here.

I've Seen Footage

"I've Seen Footage" is a track off of Death Grip's (comprised of vocalist MC Ride and drummer Zac Hill and keyboardist Andy Morin) first studio album The Money Store. The song is a collection of thoughts and observations that give cryptic details about the speaker's (MC Ride) troubled life and how it has ultimately left him paranoid and numb to violence and suffering. The song begins with the lines "Get up/Beats bout waist deep/Swallowed by beats" which refers to how Ride feels consumed by the music that he makes. The experience of making and listening to music is cathartic and an escape from the deep thought that he is susceptible to. The way the song progresses from this point suggests that the lyrics may be just be taken from a single train of thought. Beginning where Ride feels most comfortable, gradually his paranoia builds until it overcomes him and draws him out of this musical boundary that he has formed around himself.

The next lines, "What's that/Can't tell/ Handheld dream/Shot in hell/Deep space ghetto streets/Show me something/I ain't seen before" are where his paranoia and memory kicks in. He senses a presence and cannot pinpoint it, but it triggers something in his mind. He starts to recall parts of his life like it's footage "shot in hell". The violent nature of his upbringing in the ghetto has deeply disturbed him and as he reviews this violence, he asks to be shown something he hasn't seen before. This allegory continues throughout the song as he runs through his life from a removed perspective as if it were footage (hence the title).

Later, the paranoia continues when he says, "Creeps up behind me/Over my shoulder/Turn around try to see/But it's nowhere/Noided, noided/Static on my blindside." He senses the presence return, but he doesn't have time to catch a glimpse. In other words, he's still "noided" or paranoid, and somethings preventing him from having total recall of his past, it's too staticky. After these lines, the chorus burst in with Ride simply repeating "I've seen footage/I stay noided." These words are Ride remarking, to himself, on all of the horrible things he's seen.

Ride then spends the next few stanzas talking about his fear of other people viewing this life footage the same way he is. He mentions the feeling that satellites are monitoring him and not being able to shake the feeling of other people following him. He just wishes that he could "delete" the footage, because he feels that he is prisoner to it.

The final section of the song is Ride describing disturbing footage that he has stumbled upon on the internet and how it fails to really make him feel anything. The first video is described, "Armored cop open fire Glock/On some kid who stepped so/Fast was hard to grasp/What even happened til you seen dat head blow/Off his shoulders in slow mo/Rewind that, is so cold/Rewind that, is so cold." These lines are at the same time a politically charged statement against police brutality, and a condemnation of himself for not being moved by the unsettling content. He continues to talk about two other videos, one of a child soldier shooting someone and another of a horrific car crash. His lack of emotion doesn't imply a total lack of sympathy. He does comment that watching the other footage makes "his jaw drop", but again, he's lived it so it's not making his eyes well up.

Though the loud and abrasive style of this song might suggest that the content is mindless babble, it's really a very powerful an brutally honest assessment of life and society. There's no frilly language or extravagant wordplay, but if there were, it would detract from the message.

Here's a link to the song since it didn't seem to make it on the playlist. And here's the lyrics because it's hard to understand what he's saying.

"American Pie" is Poetry

It's hard for me to not like a certain genre or type of music. My favorite is classic rock, one of my favorite songs being "American Pie" by Don McLean. I've been around a plethora of classic songs like this one within my family, but this one has always been one I loved. The rhythm. McLean's gentle, passionate voice. The vibe. However, it wasn't until recently that I paid close attention to the lyrics and the larger meaning of the song. After reading What is Poetry? by Perrine, this was one of the first songs to pop in my head as an example of poetry.

Aside from delivering an exceptional piece of music, McLean is doing much more than just writing a song. Rather, every word has a purpose and he talks about a pivotal time in American society. American Pie covers the time period of 1959-1970. This was a time in America, after World War 2 and The Great Depression, when people enjoyed life and the music it had to offer. The music industry was booming with stars, including Buddy Holly. The song is based on Holly and other big names who were killed in a plane crash. The three legends and the last rock and roll stars killed were Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper.

The repeating line, "The day the music died," not only is powerful due to its repetition, but it also symbolizes this tragic occasion that took place. What does McLean mean by this song? What's his message? Music truly did die when those guys went down. The American Dream was no more in a music sense. Don McLean's hero was Buddy Holly and his death left a mark on McLean and inspired him to write "American Pie."

The 1960's were rough in America. Yes, some music was reborn, but it never was the same. Moreover, the protests that were going on failed and the nation never found that freedom or American dream. In Verse 4, it says, "The players tried for a forward pass." McLean is revealing that there were constant attempts at freedom and happiness but there was failure again and again. Ultimately, the larger theme he is getting at throughout his song is that, as humans, we must accept the tragedies that occur. We must recognize that we can't try to be the people we once were. Be something we haven't been. Or bring back something that was heroic. "Bye bye, Miss American Pie." Through each word and verse, McClean develops this larger, complex idea. "American Pie" is more than just a song. It represents years of the high and low points of society and music.

Perrine argues that poetry creates significant new experiences for the reader and that it causes them to gain an awareness or understanding of their current or previous world. Poetry isn't just the language we communicate with. It communicates experience and because of this, it is multidimensional.

Don McLean impacts my senses, emotions, intelligence, and imagination every time I listen to his song. The poem's opening verse has, "And I knew if I had my chance/That I could make those people dance/And maybe they'd be happy for awhile./" I felt I was taken through his thought process when listening to this attentively. His language here allows us to understand what his music influences meant to him. Also, this is followed up with, "But February made me shiver/With every paper I'd deliver/Bad news on the doorstep./" He was a paperboy and he had to find out the hard way what had happened to Buddy and the other guys. The diction of shiver and February illustrates the cold, dark physical nature of the situation as well as the dark place he was in mentally. Later in the poem, he refers back to the fact, "Now for ten years we've been on our own." He suggests all these opportunities to dance and fight back but how they never succeeded as a country who hoped for a safe, productive place. This line is multidimensional because ten years makes me imagine the type of struggles he went through individually and it allows me to understand his theme that there was always adversity that stands in the way of a potential opportunity.

It wasn't just the music that died. Society died. And Don McLean died a little inside. He shows this through every part of his song, that is also a poem because of its deeper meaning, rare use of language, and ability to show experience.

"American Pie" Lyrics:

I Am Crying In The Bathroom...

The song I've chosen to defend as poetry is Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens. The song, off the album Illinois, is one that never fails to make me feel a little sad, but in a weirdly happy way, after listening to it. (Here is a video if you want to see the song performed.)

The song, told in a story-like format, centers around a guy and his friend who discovers she has bone cancer. It begins with the lines, "Goldenrod and the 4H stone / The things I brought when I found out you had cancer of the bone." 4H is a youth development organization with a four-leaf clover symbol. Paired with goldenrod, a yellow flower native to North America, one can imagine that the boy brought his friend flowers when he heard about her awful news. A later verse talks about religion, hinting at a shred faith between the pair, "All the glory that the Lord has made / And the complications you could do without / When I kissed you on the mouth." Now the listener can infer that their relationship is becoming more than just platonic. The "complications" mentioned are not just her sickness anymore, they now include the future problems that may come with getting close to someone who's very sick. (We've all seen The Fault In Our Stars.) The boy Sufjan is singing about starts to question his faith, after seeing no improvement in his friend, with the lines, "Tuesday night at the Bible study / We lift our hands and pray over your body / But nothing ever happens." It's not so uncommon for one to question God while experiencing something really painful. After all, if God is so great, why would he put anyone (with remotely decent faith) through something as horrible as losing someone to cancer?

Soon it becomes more obvious the pain that the two of them are in. Their frazzled mental states start to show in both their physical appearances and actions, described by the verse, "All the glory when you ran outside / With your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied / And you told me not to follow you." The girl's tucked in shirt shows that although she still is trying to look nice and put-together, her untied shoes are a clear giveaway to how she's really doing. Sufjan later mentions "the great divide" which could be a reference to the overhanging fear of his friend dying. Similar to repeated lines and themes in a poem, now the boy's shirt is tucked while his shoes are still untied and we see his declining mental health with the line, "I am crying in the bathroom." Finally, towards the end of the song, the girl passes away. This is never explicitly stated, but instead we are told that "In the morning when you finally go / And the nurse runs in with her head hung low / And the cardinal hits the window." I really love that last line- the cardinal hits the window as abruptly as the news of the death hits everyone waiting in the hospital room.

At the end of the song, Sufjan's voice fades away with another melancholy complaint about God, "And He takes and He takes and He takes..."

Your Song

Every song has the power to be a poem. Despite the lack of rhyme or stanza in most songs, each contains a beat and powerful lyric that tell a story. My song, Your Song, by Elton John if written down without a soundtrack, could most easily be a poem. Even though there is no distinct rhyming pattern or stanza in it there are almost rhymes and almost patterns. Each verse roughly has four lines, and each line has 10-12 syllables, this doesn't exactly make it a sonnet though. I did find a couple rhymes as well, moss and cross, song and turned on, mean and seen, do and blue.... These usually follow one another in a verse... I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss/Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross/But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song/It's for people like you that keep it turned on. But poems do not have to rhyme; they only must contain language that is different from every day literature and tell a story. John's song is speaking from the heart to his lover, he is simply saying "if I had any other skill set, or any other job I would give you the greatest piece of work I could create. But, because I am only an artist this song, our song, will have to do." It is an incredibly beautiful piece and has the loveliest accompaniment, which Elton plays by himself in concert, a talent many modern artists lack. Simply the fact that it is a beautiful song with an even more beautiful meaning does it for me; Your Song is poetry.


"Badlands" is a song found on Bruce Springsteen's fourth studio album Darkness of the Edge of Town. Whenever I listen to this song I get a strong sense of emotion not only from the song but the lyrics as well.

The main idea of the song is that the speaker is a person who has not gotten what they want out of life. The speaker want to escape the boring repetitiveness of where he is now, saying, "I don't give a damn/ For the same old played out scenes." This clearly demonstrates the speaker's feeling of boredom with their surroundings. The speaker also feels his surroundings are what are holding him back, since they do not strive for anything more than what they already have. This is clearly stated in the lines, "I believe in the hope/ And I pray that some day/  It may raise me above these/ Badlands..." The entire song discusses his desire to dream for something better in life, and how these "Badlands" are holding him back because there are no dreamers there, no one looking to advance their current status. Another line that I think is beautiful is the one which says, "Poor man wanna be rich/ Rich man wanna be king/ And a king ain't satisfied/ Till he rules everything." This perfectly states the fact that everyone seems to want as much power as they can possibly have, as there is no stopping until they have all the power they possibly can.

The Pantaloon


1. women's baggy trousers gathered at the ankles.

2. a Venetian character in Italian commedia dell'arte represented as a foolish old man wearing pantaloons.

"The Pantaloon" by Twenty One Pilots is about the continuous pattern of how our culture will keep moving forward as older generations fall behind and grow out of touch with both reality and society. The song starts out talking about how the addressee's father died when they were nine years old. It says, "They said he had / Lost his mind / You have learned / Way too soon / You should never trust the pantaloon." These lines tell listeners that the protagonist's grandfather was probably a senile old man and the things he said couldn't be trusted because they were all nonsense. Alternatively, the lines could be referring to the protagonist's own father, who explained away the grandfather's lack of understanding of current society by calling him insane, therefore making himself untrustworthy because he lied to his child. A few lines later, this second theory is supported by the following, "You have learned / Way too soon / That your dad is now a pantaloon." After growing up, the protagonist has realized that their father lied about the grandfather's mental state prior to his death instead of simply telling the truth, making him a foolish old man himself. The lines also mean that, since the dad has grown older, he has become less in touch with modern technology and society, making him a pantaloon just like the dead grandfather.

The chorus of the song isn't addressed to the son anymore, but rather the dad. The line "A moth ate through / Your favorite shirt" describes the literal instance of a moth eating through a shirt, but also how many of the things that the dad loved and was accustomed to, such as music, movies, slang, and other such things (like a favorite shirt), have gone out of style and are no longer talked about or used by the current young generations.

The father's isolation is demonstrated further by the line "And all your friends fertilize / the ground you walk," which essentially just says that all of his friends are dead and he is alone. More evidence of his isolation can be found in the lines "He's been around so long / He's changed his meaning of a chair now / Because a chair now, / Is like a tiny island in the sea of all the people / Who glide across the very surface." These lines bring to mind the image of a classic old grandpa sitting in a chair sleeping during a family gathering while everyone else, the younger generations, talk and have a good time. I feel like almost everyone has a grandparent who fits the always-sitting-in-a-chair description, and the song takes advantage of that to create some interesting imagery of the chair as a socially isolated island. The people gliding across the surface of the sea are the younger generations who have not become out of touch with society yet, but who the dad can't relate to because he's sitting in his island-chair.

I really enjoy this song because it describes something real that is happening to people in our lives and will eventually happen to us, too, as we all get older. It's a bit of a scary reality but at the same time interesting to think about.


I personally believe that all music is poetry, and, just as as in conventional poetry, there is good poetry and bad poetry, so not all songs are particularly meaningful. There are many songs that I really believe

The song that I chose as music poetry was "Wing$" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. This song is very experiential--it describes the life that the person in the song (possible Macklemore describing his own life) lived.

This song, although not all poems do this, is persuasive. It describes the negative affect that materialism--specifically with regards to shoes--can have on people. It describes the superiority that a kid feels when he has more expensive shoes, and how even though they make him feel good about himself, it can lead to horrible things. One bad thing that it describes is one of the kid's friend's brother getting killed for some shoes that he had.

I really like this song, and I believe that it is definitely a form of poetry. It also reminds me a lot of the Spoken Word performances that I have seen, in the way that it is presented, which probably helps my decision.

Walking In The Wind

I chose the song "Walking In The Wind" from One Direction's fifth album, Made In The A.M.  When we were presented with this topic of defending a song as poetry, this was one that I immediately thought of.  I think that all around it is a beautiful song, and certainly is poetry.

The overall meaning and message of this song is that the speaker is talking to their partner, who they don't get to physically be around all the time.  The song is a message to them that even if they are physically apart, they will always be right by their side no matter what.  The opening lines of the song are "A week ago you said to me / 'Do you believe I'll never be too far?'"  These lines indicate that the person being sung to is worried that this distance is going to wear on them, that maybe it won't last because they're so far apart.  That they're doubting that a long distance relationship is realistic or that it will work.  Another line that supports this theme is the lines, "Goodbyes are bitter-sweet / But it's not the end, I'll see your face again."  This line is saying that even though the goodbyes are going to be hard, and it doesn't seem like things are going to work out, they are and they will be together again soon.  And later on in the song this same message is conveyed when the speaker says, "I'll be by your side / Anytime you're needing me," which is almost directly in response with the question posed earlier.  The speaker is saying that this relationship can and will work, because no matter how far apart they may be, they'll be together to support each other.

River Lea

It is always easier to blame your problems on someone else. Whether it is your parents, siblings, or even friends. As long as it isn’t you. In Adele’s album, 25, the song “River Lea” refers back to a place near her childhood home. The River Lea is an actual river located in England and flows into the Thames. This song is a tribute to her childhood home and signifies the deep connection she has to her home. The link to her lyrics are here.

The theme of “River Lea” I think refers to the fact that people have their flaws and that instead of taking responsibility, people blame it on their past. It is easier to put blame on someone or something else rather than yourself. Also, it shows that people are selfish and immature because they are not trying to fix their issues.

“But it’s in my roots, it’s in my veins /It’s in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain.” She feels that the River Lea is deep inside her and that she hurts the people she uses to cover her mistakes. The parallel structure she uses emphasizes the connection she has with the River and how her flaws cannot be her fault. The progression from “roots,” which is near a river, to “veins,” which is literally insider of her, to “blood,” which runs throughout her body, demonstrates her symbolic and physical connection with the river. Also the word “roots” is multidimensional because it refers to the roots of a tree or plant near the river or it refers to the roots of her family and her upbringing.

“No I can’t go back, but the reeds are growing out of my fingertips/ I can’t go back to the river.” She is trying to avoid blaming her past, but the connection is so close that she is literally becoming the surroundings of the river. The imagery that I can envision from “the reeds are growing out of my fingertips” is vivid. Reeds are shrubs that grow near rivers, People typically do not tend to them, but the grow quickly and spontaneously. Not only, does this indicate that she feels that her home is inside her, but it also connotes that she does not have control of the influences from her past.

“But my heart is a valley, it’s so shallow and man made/ I’m scared to death if I let you in that you’ll see I’m just a fake.” She refers to her heart as a valley, which is typically deep and empty. However, she contradicts herself by saying that is not very deep and that it is man made. The juxtaposition and simile used emphasizes that she realizes her problems and fears that if anyone tries to get near her they will see her for the fake she think she is. Therefore, instead of letting people see her flaws (which she thinks makes her fake), she is going to blame her mistakes on her childhood.

I think “River Lea” demonstrates that people do not want to admit and try to fix their issues. People find it easier to lay the blame on something else. It also indicates that people are lazy and really not trying to improve themselves, which can arguably be the point of living. I think “River Lea” exposes those people who cannot take responsibility for their flaws.

A Beginning Song

"A Beginning Song" is a song off of the latest Decemberists' album What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. The lyrics and music are written by Colin Meloy who is in my eyes a lover of language and a real poet.

The song claims that all of us should try to find the calmness within the craziness of our lives and discover our own center. The line, "Condescend the calmest riot in your mind" references the importance of recognizing the power you have over your own mind and using this power to find yourself.

Meloy implores all to find their "center" which really is their heart. This seeking in turn allows one to love, be present and be engaged to the beauty of this earth ("its you, its the boy") and what may lie beyond ("the bright light"). His language is vague -- is he waiting for something here and now, or in the future beyond this life? The sentiment expressed by Meloy is a universal one, one that we all feel: not only what will happen next in our own lives, but what might come after life as well.

Here are the lyrics

Scar Tissue

I consider the song Scar Tissue  by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to be poetry. This song is from the album Californication and was written by the band's lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, who used to have a heroin addiction. Kiedis wrote this song about himself and how lonely he felt during his time of addiction. Scar Tissue expresses how agonizing it is to live with a drug addiction and how it also hurts the people in your life. It gives listeners the experience of an addict, that many of them couldn't imagine on their own.

The line that makes Kiedis' loneliness most apparent is, "With the bird I'll share--this lonely view." This gives an image of Kiedis physically having no one to turn to. He is alone with only nature surrounding him. However, it also shows that he felt like he was outside looking in on everyone's lives. Heroin kept him from feeling emotions, so he could only watch other people's experiences, just as a bird might do. A later verse in the song goes, "Fallin' all over myself--to lick your heart and taste your health." This lyric shows how Kiedis' addiction is present in his relationship too. He can't help but cling on to this girl and become obsessed with her and her abstinence from drugs. The words "lick" and "taste" make it seem like he can't get enough of her, or heroin. At the end of the song Kiedis sings, "I'll make it to the moon if I have to crawl." This hyperbole shows how heroin addicts will do anything they can to get their fix. They are constantly thinking about and fighting for the drug, which makes truly living impossible. 

These lyrics, along with every other one in the song create an intense emotional experience for the listener, whether or not they've lived through drug addiction or not. I think it's a beautiful song to describe an incredibly painful way to live.

"m.A.A.d city (feat. MC Eiht)"

The song "m.A.A.d city" by Kendrick Lamar and featuring MC Eiht comes off of a concept album about Kendrick's teenage life in his hometown, Compton, California.

The audience is the listener, who is regularly addressed as "you" throughout the song.The speaker in this song is, in fact, the poet (Kendrick Lamar).
Kendrick's occasion is looking back on his teenage past in Compton and his harsh experiences.

The meaning of the song is to expose the reality of living in a neighborhood controlled by violence, gangs, and drugs, and show the struggle of fighting against these bad influences and not giving up hope.

Lamar uses the lyric "Pakistan on every porch is fine, we adapt to crime" to speak about the violence that permeates Compton. He compares the violence in Compton to the violence in Pakistan, and states that in his experience, everyone becomes completely desensitized to this violence. Another one of his lines, "...boy with a chopper/That hold the cul de sac hostage, kill 'em all if they gossip/The Children of the Corn" reflects the Compton gangs' recruitment of children at a young age. The Children of the Corn are children who pledge themselves to a deity they call "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" (The Children of the Corn is a short story by Stephen King). Lamar is saying that Compton children who pledge themselves to gangs are real-life Children of the Corn. After Kendrick smokes marijuana that is laced with cocaine, MC Eiht goes on to comment in his stanza, "Cocaine, weed. Niggas been mixing shit since the 80s, loc." Not only is weed being mixed with cocaine an everyday occurrence, but the lyrics "since the 80s" implies that it has been this way for a long time, and will continue to be this way in the future.

However, Kendrick does not give up hope that things can get better. Lamar uses the line "Warriors and Conans/Hope euphoria can slow dance with society" to show that he still has hope the one day the Warriors and Conans (gang members) will stop controlling Compton. Another line of his, "Would you say my intelligence now is great relief?/And it's safe to say our next generation maybe can sleep/With dreams of being a lawyer or doctor" shows that he wants to put his faith in intelligence, and that it could be an answer to the senseless violence in Compton.

Holding On To You

The song "Holding On To You" by Twenty One Pilots from the album Vessel, means so many different things to me, and every time I listen to it I notice another line that strikes me. The way I relate to this song is constantly evolving as it becomes connected to different parts of my life.

I think that may be precisely the reason I'm drawn to it. It captures this internal-external struggle that is so ongoing, especially when you're trying to figure out who you are and how to show that person to others. It says, "I must've forgot, you can't trust me, I'm open a moment and close when you show it, Before you know it, I'm lost at sea."But then as the song progresses it becomes obvious that they are grounding themselves in a person saying, "You are surrounding all my surroundings." The song constantly switches back and forth between the internal struggle of holding on to one's sense of self, and the external manifestation of that struggle that the person deals with by holding on to another person.  

At the end, they repeat "Entertain my faith," as if begging the listener to see things the way they see them, and it's here that you really understand the struggle of explaining oneself to another and feeling understood. And yet you continue to hold on to others.

I think that this song's multidimensional meanings and emotions that it expresses matches if not exceeds the emotional element found in poetry. In the musical aspect of the song, you can hear the desperation and urgency that the lyrics hold in a way that is not always expressed in a simple reading.  This song has not only been a central song in a friendship, but has also played a huge part in some realizations about myself especially in this time of questioning one's identity before college. I think the fact that this song played into both my internal and external life speaks to the truth and the emotions portrayed in this song.

And this wouldn't be complete without what I think is the most powerful part of the song. . .

"And the window sill looks really nice, right?
You think twice about your life, 
It probably happens at night, 
Fight it,
Take the pain, ignite it,
Tie a noose around your mind 
Loose enough to breathe fine and tie it
To a tree. Tell it, 'You belong to me.
This ain't a noose, this is a leash.
And I have news for you: you must obey me.'"

If that's not multidimensional language, I don't know what is. 

Something Snarky

I chose the song "Something," by Snarky Puppy, featuring Lalah Hathaway off the album Family Dinner Volume 1. Snarky Puppy is usually only instrumental (check out "Skate U," if you're interested in having you socks blown off) but they created the Family Dinner album in order to collaborate with some great singers, like Lalah Hathaway and Magda Giannikou. The track was nominated and awarded a Grammy for best R&B performance in 2014. Lalah is singing about her unrequited love. She personifies her heart by saying "And there is not one question/ where my heart will run to," which shows that whoever she is singing about is the only person for her. The audience of her song is one person, this person that she loves. It appears that they know each other, but their love has gone unnoticed. She uses a metaphor between her relationship with the person she's in love with and a song to show how right she feels when she's with him/her. This is evident when she says "there's not a note that rings untrue/ said while I'm with you." While her words are powerful, the majority of her feelings are conveyed through her lyric-less singing. She is a talented singer, and during her solo she sings two pitches and harmonizes with herself. Check out the video!


I chose the song "Fly", off Maddie & Tae's debut album Start Here, as a song I believe is poetry. It's a song about not being afraid to chase your dreams, even if it might seem scary or difficult. To show this, the two use the imagery of climbing a tree to symbolize climbing towards your dreams. This image shows how difficult it can be to reach your goals, for "the ground might shake" and you could lose your balance or the limb you are holding may break, causing you to fall. They also say, "The road's been long and lonely and you feel like giving up". This use of imagery is used to show that the "road" to achieving your dreams may not always be easy, as there are not many sadder places to be than on a road all alone. But ultimately they say that all these "heavy steps" will help you get to the point where you have achieved your dreams and can "fly".

Joy and Zion

"To Zion" by Lauryn Hill, From her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, is a song that chronicles the the birth of her son Zion as well as conveying the idea that there is no greater joy than the joy that comes from your children.

In the second verse, Hill writes "How beautiful if nothing more / Than to wait at Zion's door" which is allusion to the city of Jerusalem, as well as her actually standing outside of her son's room. Biblically, the city of Jerusalem is considered the promised land and the land of complete joy, which she is comparing to waiting outside of her son's room, meaning that her son is giving her as much joy as possible.

Hill makes many more biblical references throughout the song "But then an Angel came one day / Told me to kneel down and pray / For unto me a man child would be born" This is representative of her finding out that she was pregnant, but this is also a biblical reference to the birth of Jesus.

Hill continues her biblical allusions with the final lines of the second verse "See I know that a gift so great / Is only one that god could create / And I'm reminded every time I see your face" in these lines she is not only expressing how much she enjoys her son but she is implying that her son is is a gift from god.

"To Zion" is not only a song about Lauryn Hill's first child, but it also describes the endless joy that stems from children.

"Free Bird"

"Free Bird" was first recorded in 1972 but Allen Collins, Lynyrd Skyntrd's guitarist, worked on it on and off for the previous two years. The song was later dedicated to Duane Allman after his death in a motorcycle accident. The speaker of the song explains to a girl that he cannot settle down and he must leave. Through his explanation, The speaker conveys the idea that one must surrender freedom in order to make a commitment. He does this by continually referring to himself as a bird. He says, "and this bird you cannot change. And this bird you cannot change," meaning that he is and always will be a bird ready to take flight, unable to make a commitment. He also says, "baby, it's been a sweet love, yeah, Though this feeling I can't change". The speaker clearly has feelings for the girl he plans to leave, but his true, free, birdlike, nature causes him to leave her. Although the speaker cannot change his nature, the line, "Lord, help me, I can't change," seems to suggest that he would like to, allowing him to stay with the girl whom he refers to.

But I'm Just a Mortal Man

When I think of poetry in music, my mind instantly darts to Kendrick Lamar's sophomoric album, To Pimp a Butterfly. The whole album is an experience and it was difficult to capture all of the experiences present throughout the album, but I think Mortal Man does this quite well. Additionally, though this might be cheating, along with the initial five minute song, the track also contains two poems, one by Kendrick and another by one of his good friends. The first poem is built on throughout his whole album, while lastly, in the final track, the poem is revealed in full. This first poem encapsulates Lamar's struggle with his rise to prominence and his survivors guilt with leaving Compton. Yet, despite this, he decides to educate people on the potential they have and transcends borders of mortality through his messages contained within his music, despite being a mortal man. This is all captured within his lyrics as he makes allusions to famous African American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Nelson Mandela. Lines like ¨The ghost of Mandela, hope my flows they propel it¨ and ¨you think she gonna stick around if them 25 years occur¨ are clear allusions to these leaders.

Lamar also contains multidimensional language throughout the song. Lines like ¨Let my word be your earth and moon/ You consume every message/ As I lead this army make room for mistakes and depression" show his following and how he strives to be a leader in the world despite his mortal imperfections. Additionally, in the outro of the song after a conversation with Tupac, Lamar recites another poem told to him by a friend. This poem encapsulates his whole message spun throughout To Pimp a Butterfly, good kid Maad City, and Section 80. The poem speaks of the potential people hailing from a similar background as the Compton native are faced with despite the contempt society holds against them . The poem masterfully uses the metaphor of a caterpillar and butterfly to do this. Kendrick Lamar uses the butterfly as a symbol for the successful African American in the eyes of society while he uses the caterpillar as those that are cocooned within racism, gang violence, and police brutality. His message powerfully ends with the line ¨Although the butterfly and caterpillar are completely different/ they are one and the same".  I would recommend listening to the entire album for the entirety of Kendrick Lamar's message, yet Mortal Man stands as the capstone on his pyramid of an album.