Eight of Hearts: Two-part Harmony


 

Eight of hearts showing Van Gogh's Self PortraitLet’s sing together in our own harmonic,
Let’s cry out all the words we need to say.
Let’s irrigate our souls with liquid tonic
until the final doubt is washed away.

But you’re the star, you’re telling your own story
to crowds of singing parrots, humming birds.
Although I’m just a moon, reflecting glory
I paint my own self-portrait with your words.

You radiate the lyrics from your core
of feelings I can never see inside.
I catch your eye in rapturous rapport,
no matter if our hearts don’t coincide.

You shine to see us moons all sing your song,
We beam to know a star will sing along.

 

I used to think it was a waste of money going to concerts, when you could buy an album for half the prize and listen to it at your leisure. At the time, I was a kid with no money for either concerts or tapes, so it was a moot point. Now I’m in Europe, where musicians actually come for tours, and I have my own money. So in December 2006, I went to my first concert. Since then I’ve been in the front row of many concerts; it turns out it’s worth it.

Most of my favourite poems I’ve written are sonnets, so I decided to write this as one. For quite a while I worried that I’d made the wrong decision; first everything came out in anapests, and then I couldn’t find the right combinations of rhymes for any of the usual sonnet forms. But it all worked out in the end. I planned on having the first quatrain about ‘us’ and one each of the other two about ‘me’ and ‘you’, but once I figured out the rhymes for the second quatrain I couldn’t let go of them.

I wrote the first quatrain last, and I like it the best, I think it could stand on its own. It is supposed to be different from the rest, in that it’s the only one where you don’t realise the two singers are not actually singing a duet, but perhaps it’s a little too disconnected from the rest. I wrote it while sitting outside in a park, which seems to be good for my poetry. I also wrote Fork and Tongs outside, and I’m quite fond of that. 

There are two things I’m considering switching around. First, I could change the last two lines to the more obvious roles:

You’ll shine to see us moons all sing along,
We’ll beam to see a star can hear our song.

But I quite like the thought of a singer singing along with the audience, rather than the other way around. Also, although stars can see the audience, I doubt they can hear it over their own voices.

The other possible switch is one I just thought of while writing this blurb, and considered making at the last moment: switching the second and third quatrains, so it’s like this:

Let’s sing together in our own harmonic,
Let’s cry out all the words we need to say.
Let’s irrigate our souls with liquid tonic
until the final doubt is washed away.

You radiate the lyrics from your core
of feelings I can never see inside.
I catch your eye in rapturous rapport,
no matter if our hearts don’t coincide.

For you’re the star, you’re telling your own story
to crowds of singing parrots, humming birds.
Although I’m just a moon, reflecting glory
I paint my own self-portrait with your words.

You shine to see us moons all sing your song,
We beam to know a star will sing along.

I prefer this in some ways, but I don’t want ‘crowds of singing parrots’ to come so near the end, because it’s the most negative line in the poem, and it’s not supposed to be a negative poem. I hope no star thinks of fans that way. I wouldn’t have said it myself, but the other possible rhyme was ‘nerds’, and I didn’t want people to think this was solely about Jonathan Coulton.

On the subject of Jonathan Coulton, writing that comment about anapests gave me an idea for a Mandelbrot Set parody. Instead of:

You’re a Rorschach test on fire, you’re a day-glo pterodactyl

I could say,

You’re an anapest on fire, you’re a flaming antidactyl

though I don’t know what such a song would be about.

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  1. #1 by PowerBill on July 28, 2008 - 1:34 am

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with talking to crowds of singing parrots, especially if you are discussing ways to cook them, as I often do!
    (I don’t actually cook my little fluff-buckets, I just lecture them on how it might be done and expound on how happy I will be when they finally start laying eggs. Yumm!!!)
    ps// I am surprised to see you having neglected the theme of infinity (8) in your Mandelbrot Musing. With a ‘cheery old card’ like that you might have even have done a parody of Poe’s prose with ‘The Character’ having eight (‘ate’) hearts.
    pps// excuse my featherbrained state. I’ve had birds on my head recently. (Perhaps I should teach Sweety and Tommie to say ‘Never More’ like the raven in Poe’s other story)

    Like

  2. #2 by PowerBill on July 28, 2008 - 1:37 am

    I didn’t mean the two smiley faces. I meant ( 8 ) and ( ‘ate’ )
    }:-)

    Like

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