MUSIC AND POETRY

 

One of the surprises of my writing career has been my writing of poetry.  While I had liked reading the classical poets in school, I planned to stick with prose.  The poetry has been a bi-protect of writing songs for musical theatre.  Whenever I write a musical, I also write a number of poems, almost by inertia.  But my body of work has grown, and some poems have been published.

The artists who have fascinated me the most have been those such as Aeschylus and Guillaume de Machaut who were both composers of music and literary writers.  Machaut stands as the pre-eminent composer of the fourteenth century.  Yet while the dramatist Aeschylus was known in antiquity as a great composer, none of his music has survived.

Still, the loss has not been total.  Within the vast structures of his plays and the rhythms and sounds of his verses we experience his considerable musicality.

Poetry stands in relation to music as the human body does to the ocean.  Humans were made to swim in water, but they also contain, within their bodies, considerable amounts of water.  So do poems contain music within their rhymes, rhythms and alliterations?  As the great Dante wrote, a poem is a rhetorical work containing a melody.

All of these are, of course, inadequate.  A brief blog cannot do justice to the subject of poetry’s relationship with music.  So I close with my poem PROTEUS.

 

My second love is music.

I’ve tried my hand

at shaping tunes,

but how they break

into a thousand shapes

like contrapuntal waves

on the sea.

 

Can’t I shape you, protean love?

Yet what sculptor knows his shapes

before his hands can see?

 

When I was a boy

I swam in a lake

that turned into an ocean.

And swimming that lake,

felt no more myself

but large as the branching sea.

 

So is the maker shaped.

So I cannot find my way

but toil searching for

the work to sound itself

in riffs of liquid form.

 

 

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About jalesy55

Charles Lupia is a playwright, freelance writer and lawyer. His blogs cover a range of topics, from politics to entertainment.
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