Monday, April 4, 2016

npm pmmu #4: 47 years ago in Memphis

 
This month I'm posting daily Poetry-Music Match-Ups, and you're invited to join me! (See the bottom of the post  for ideas.)  When I don't have a crowd-sourced combo scheduled, I'll share one of my own many, many PMMUs!  If something comes to your mind, send it to me HERE. 

Today's match-up begins with a song that caught me and taught me something about passion and prophecy.  

Maybe you know where you were when JFK was shot, or when the Challenger exploded; I know where I was in 1984 the first time I understood this song, and outside a menswear store in Baltimore as my mom returned a suit I sat in the car and cried.  I don't know that I ever could explain why my heart opened just then, just there.



"Pride (in the Name of Love)" by U2, 1984
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One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed up on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

Why would a band of Irish lads call up the memory of an American civil rights leader?  I would wonder who isn't touched by Martin's power, but this is interesting, from Wikipedia: "[Bono] says that he was swayed by the Edge and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who played down the need to develop the lyrics as they thought their impressionistic nature would give added forcefulness to the song's feeling, particularly when heard by non-English speakers."  And that is exactly how the song works on me, although I'm an expert English speaker!  Perhaps Bono didn't think of his lyrics as poetry--and alone, perhaps they're not, but with the music, everything changes.

The poem I've selected also eschews straight-up storytelling for another dose of prophecy and passion.

Martin Luther King Day | Myra Cohn Livingston

The dream
of Martin Luther King
will happen
in some far-off Spring

When winter ice
And snow are gone.
One day, the dreamer
In gray dawn

Will waken
To a blinding night
Where hawk and dove
In silent flight

Brush wings together
On a street
Still thundering
With ghostly feet

And soul will dance
And soul will sing
And march with
Martin Luther King.
I found this lovely, otherworldly poem here at the Carnegie Library site but have been unable to find it published in a book or magazine.  I hope you enjoy today's match-up--I never get tired of this song, this story.

*Ways to match-up poetry and music--take your pick!

·      your own poem with music that you've realized goes with it,
·      your own music with a poem that goes with it,
·      someone else's poem with someone else's music to match, 
·      song lyrics that you find particularly poetic,
·      poems written AS song lyrics
·      poems inspired by songs,
·      songs written about poems, 
·      poems written about songs, 
·      favorite nursery rhymes (which often have tunes),
·      and any other poetry-music combinations that make sense to you.

1 comment:

  1. I am very familiar with the way music can reduce people to tears. Even without lyrics. I wish I understood how it does that!

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