Reading poetry

I’ve been slowly but surely reading Sarah Slean’s companion book to her 2008 album, The Baroness. The book, also called The Baroness, is a small collection of poems, which is perfect for reading during work breaks as I only have a few minutes per break.

One thing I noticed is that I have a hard time digesting a poem if I know the tune to the song too well. Modern Man*, which is on her album The Baroness Redecorates, is one of my favourite songs. It’s such a lovely tune and sometimes I just need to listen to it again, and again, and again. The poem (lyrics, if you will) are in this book. When I started reading the poem, I couldn’t help but sing it in my head. No matter how hard I tried, the tune kept creeping in.

Normally, this wouldn’t bother me, but I was trying to read the words and get to know the piece differently. I wanted to add my own inflections, pauses, and emphasis. I like to do this to explore the poem a bit. Remember how a comma can change the meaning of a sentence? Sometimes things like emphasis and pauses can change the feel and, consequently, the perceived meaning of a poem or part of a poem. But, my mind is set to have this poem come out as a song with previously defined highs, lows, pauses, and emphasis.

I really must remember, in the future, to stop and read the lyrics of songs I love before the tune is set in my head.

*I couldn’t find a video of it, but you can watch some of her other music videos on her YouTube channel.

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