This was the poem I wrote and for the first time thought, maybe I’m not too bad at this.
Written in about 2008, titled December.
Like crushed velvet, she wept her decorum,
In rivers of red cherry wine,
Drinking for those that were before him,
Those that once called her mine.
Envision those moments that shine,
Like the gems within her.
Dazzles so cruel to remind
Of my darling, December.
Say my love, of a will to console,
Bubbled in chilled champagne
A scar on the skin of her soul
A mark that no one can claim.
Say my love, of one broken fame
Don’t you remember
There was a time when you longed for my name
And my love, December
Lipstick kissed on the memory
A rouge that’s smudged and faded
Reapplied with the desire to be
The dreamer who made it
Sad eye gilded and jaded
Shined bright as an ember
The summer of hopes that were dated
My hope, December
She smoked her life in a cigarette
Watching the crows surround
The smoke won’t curl while it’s wet
The crows won’t cry on the ground
When she sings she will find her renown
If the bottle don’t kill her
And the ash will add to the sound
Of the birds in December
The struggles embedded are seeming
Chipped like the nais that know
A black that melts with meaning
Contrast in her snow
It’s the next summer who will show
The roses within in
But despite, the wine will flow.
Til again, December.
Poetry and lyrics are not the same. They are brothers, and both equally gifted in conveying meaning. But poetry is handicapped by metre. Where lyrics can rely on the music to help with tone and ambiance, poetry can only rely on itself.
That being said, lyrics have replaced the once popular poetry as our preferred means of delivering the message. Whether it’s our ability to Party in the USA (see, I’m hip with the kids) or an 80s rock ballad, lyrics have invaded our modern pop culture. We see them quoted in school books, and in pretty typefaces on young-adult walls. Sometimes a single phrase is just what you need to evoke your day’s emotion. They’re little bites of written perfection. Just like poetry.
Some song writers are better poets than others. Leonard Cohen being a prime example – the writer of the most perfect song in the world. Cohen is not only a songwriter and a poet, he’s a perfectionist. 40 verses of poetry for one song. And even then, when it was first released, its brilliance just wasn’t seen.
There is just something all too depressing about the original. It’s too heavy, too weighted by its own meaning, and just too dark. It needed something more to work its way into our hearts.
Enter Jeff Buckley, a singer-songwriter who covered a cover. His beautiful voice and sultry guitar made the song so simple and stunningly beautiful. If you haven’t figured it out, I love this song – I love Buckley’s version and I have never heard better. Because his is so raw that the lyrics just wrap around you until every breath your drew is Hallelujah.
And now, believe it or not, there are at least 300 versions.
Sometimes genius is created over night. Like Under Pressure by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury – banged out after a bender. Sometimes it years in the making. And the world is a better place for both.