Poetry and song and maybe culture

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

The Atlantic -- Can Poetry Matter?

It is time to experiment,
time to leave
the well-ordered but stuffy classroom,
time to restore
a vulgar vitality to poetry
and unleash
the energy now trapped
in the subculture.
There is nothing to lose.
Society has already told us
poetry is dead.
Let's build
a funeral pyre
out of the dessicated conventions
piled around us
and watch the ancient,
unkillable phoenix

rise from the ashes.

Dana Gioia

For some reason they didn't put the essay in poetry form so I have corrected and posted the last paragraph here.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

I have two books of Sappho's poetry but you can find a great deal of translations on the internet. Here are three of one poem, I had my own translation but it is locked in an email file I can't unlock.

Translation by Mary Barnard
He is more than a hero

He is a god in my eyes--
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you--he

who listens intimately
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast. If I meet
you suddenly, I can't

speak--my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drip with sweat;
trembling shakes my body

and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn't far from me


Translation by Paul Roche
"I More Than Envy Him"

He is a god in my eyes, that man,
Given to sit in front of you
And close to himself sweetly to hear
The sound of you speaking.

Your magical laugh--this I swear--
Batters my heart--my breast astir--
My voice when I see you suddenly near
Refuses to come.

My tongue breaks up and a delicate fire
Runs through my flesh; I see not a thing
With my eyes, and all that I hear
In my ears is a hum.

The sweat runs down, a shuddering takes
Me in every part and pale as the drying
Grasses, then, I think I am near
The moment of dying.


Equal to the gods
is the man who sits
in front of you leaning closely
and hears you sweetly speaking
and the lust-licking laughter
of your mouth, oh it makes my
heart beat in flutters!

When I look at you
Brochea, not a part of my
voice comes out,
but my tongue breaks,
and right away
a delicate fire runs just beneath
my skin.

I see a dizzy nothing,
my ears ring with noise,
the sweat runs down
upon me, and a trembling
that I can not stop
seizes me limb and loin,
oh I am greener than grass, and
death seems so near . . .

-- Catherine A. Salmons

Wednesday, December 18, 2002


Would you dance if I asked you to dance?
Would you run and never look back?
Would you cry if you saw me crying'?
Would you save my soul, tonight?

Would you tremble if I touched your lips?
Would you laugh?
Oh please tell me this
Now would you die for the one you love?
Hold me in your arms tonight.

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away your pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

Would you swear that you'll always be mine?
Or would you lie?
Would you run a mile?
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
Well I don't care... you're here, tonight.

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away your pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

Oh, I just want to hold you
I just want to hold you
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
I don't care...
You're here tonight

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away your pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away your pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away
You can take my breath away

I can be your hero

- - Enrique Iglesias

If You're Happy And You Know It Bomb Iraq

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi,
And your alibi is shoddy,
And your tastes remain quite gaudy,
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think that SUVs,
Are the best thing since sliced cheese,
And your father you must please,
Bomb Iraq.

If the globe is quickly warming, bomb Iraq.
If the poor will soon be storming, bomb Iraq.
We assert that might makes right,
Burning oil is a delight,
For the empire we will fight,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think that someone's dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain’t easy,
And your manhood’s getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might now knows no borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We’ll call it treason,
It's the make war not love season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.

Complete lyrics

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Email from a Female

Story Behind the Song

This song is about wanting to get a letter from a girl...not necessarily a "love letter" but any kind of departure from a testosterone-soaked computer industry career.

Email from a Female
(Verse 1:)
Write down all your feelings, baby
write down all your fears
I need a girls perspective
and it seems like its been years
write down any secret dream
just write down what you see
but before you trash that email, baby
send it on to me

from a female

(Verse 2:)
Im tired of gettin email
from members of my team
inter-office memos
just make me wanna scream
I need a sweet diversion
from a woman, not a man
a cyber chick, without a dick
whos got a word to send

from a female

(chorus 1:)
Ooh, I bet your mama dont know you
write like that
Ooh, I bet she dont know you
type like that
(Verse 3:)
Make a snide comment, baby
be sarcastic or morose
in all caps or lower cases

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Cat Haikus

You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail!
Behold, elevator butt.

The rule for today
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

In deep sleep hear sound
cat vomit hairball somewhere
will find in morning.

Grace personified.
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Blur of motion, then-
silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.
You cannot see me if I
can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a 'term paper'?

Small brave carnivores
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes
Fear vacuum cleaner

I want to be close
to you. Can I fit my head
inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.
Oh, crap! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! Big One
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams
My claws are not that sharp.

Cats meow out of angst
"Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much!"

The Big Ones snore now
Every room is dark and cold
Time for "Cup Hockey"

We're almost equals
I purr to show I love you
Want to smell my butt?

- - anonymous circulating for years

Thursday, December 05, 2002

to the tune of Yesterday.

I made love to you illegally.
The legislature wants to come and see
Then lock us up for sodomy.

I'm not half the man I used to be.
Justice Rehnquist said so on TV.
We have no right to privacy.

Where... did... Our rights go?
I don't know.They wouldn't say.
They say the laws are clear:
If you love queer,
It's not okay ay ay ay.

Love was such an easy game to play
Now we need a place to hide away

Why we have to go, I don't know,
Their woodies say
We did something wrong
Now we long for yesterday.

I've felonized you frequently.
Our case comes to court today at three.
They'll lock us up for sodomy...

Oh I believe in sodomy.

An earlier version came care of a link by Natasha of the watch to B.Deutsh at Alas a blog.
BBC NEWS -- Woolly writing creates new poetry

A North East writer has been given a grant of £2,000 to use sheep to create random poems, which also utilise the deepest workings of the universe.

The money has been provided by Northern Arts for Valerie Laws to create a new form of "random" literature.

Each of the animals has a word from a poem written on their backs and as they wander about the words take a new poetic form each time they come to rest.

A spokesman for Northern Arts called the scheme "an exciting fusion of poetry and quantum physics".

One of the poems created by the sheep reads:

Warm drift,
graze gentle,
White below the sky,
Soft sheep,
Snow clouds.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002


Mouth to mouth joined we lie, her naked breasts
Curved to my fingers, my fury grazing deep
On the silver plain of her throat,
And then: no more.
She denies me her bed. Half of her body to Love
She has given, half to Prudence.
I die between.

Paulus Silentiarius

Searching for Algernon

Cold eyelids that hide like a jewel
Hard eyes that grow soft for an hour;
The heavy white limbs, and the cruel
Red mouth like a venomous flower;
When these are gone by with their glories,
What shall rest of thee then, what remain,
O mystic and sombre Dolores,
Our Lady of Pain?