Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back to My Lyrical Roots

I started writing poetry before I ever attempted a novel. In fact when I did get a novel idea, I was overwhelmed with how long it would take in comparison to the instant gratification a poem/song did
(I always thought of my poems as songs) and put off doing more than an outline for years.

I probably cranked out over 300-400 of the poems in the course of a handful of years. 17 to 21ish. Then I slowed down quite a bit and actually worked on stories thereafter.

No wonder my first editors said I was so lyrical. I took that as a high compliment.

Looking through my desk drawer now at some of them, I am surprised at how many are essentially love songs, and incredibly needy love songs at that. I briefly considered the idea of compiling them all and someday having a poetry book, but so many are so bad I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by releasing them.

Some few actually have good lines in the middle (but are surrounded by crap) and others aren't too shabby. When I looked at a sheet of popular song lyrics by some rock groups I love, (T. Rex, Led Zeppelin) I realized my lyrics weren't actually that bad, but it always helps to have great music backing you up. Various incarnations of my teenage rock bands probably only ever put music to about a fourth of my songs. I would share the better recordings here, but don't even know where to begin adding my old four track recording tapes to the computer. (yes, I had cutting edge equipment for poor boys back in 1991)

Here is one I don't mind sharing (likely from the later period when I was 21 or so and slowing down-but quality and some kind of esoteric depth had arguably gone up)

SUNSTONE

See these hands - they reach for you
See these ears - they listen to you
Feel this heart - it beats for you
And yet you leave me all alone
I should be like a sunstone
The sunstone stands and holds the temple
The sunstone blazes like its maker
The sunstone stands all alone

Hear my voice -It sings for you
See my eyes -They look to you
Feel this heart - It beats for you
And yet you leave me all alone
I should be like a sunstone
The sunstone stands and holds the temple
The sunstone blazes like its maker
The sunstone stands all alone

Now my eyes - I see through you
Now my voice - Don't sing for you
Now my heart - Doesn't beat at all
And now you are left all alone
I am like a sunstone
The sunstone stands and holds the temple
The sunstone blazes like its maker
The sunstone stands all alone
I am like a sunstone

6 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that. I still write poetry on occassion, though not as much as I used to. I just posted one on facebook that Jame Riley at Unnameable Press is gonna publish.

Keith said...

Very nice. I've toyed with the idea of taking up poetry again but haven't written any in years.

Of course most of what you wrote between the ages of 17-21 was needy love songs. You were between the ages of 17 and 21, after all.

And keep in mind. Robert E. Howard wrote poetry all of his career. You're merely following in his footsteps.

David J. West said...

Very cool Charles, getting a couple of mine added in last minute to the hardcover release of Heroes of the Fallen was quite pleasing.

Much appreciated Keith, as I get older the poems move closer to what I would think are the more epic REH type.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Not a bad set of lyrics at all, David.

Back in my r'n'r days, I used to think my lyrics were decent, but I'd probably salvage the music and rewrite the lyrics at this point. Different age, different outlook (and insights.)

I toy with poetry now and then. Mostly then, it's been a while.

This reminds me that somewhere on my creative writing bucket list was the desire to write a full epic poem. I think I'd still like to do that, eventually.

Keith said...

Hmm...I'd suggest an epic poem showdown, but my better judgment tells me to shut up.

David J. West said...

Same here Paul, I've thought about quite a few different EPIC scenario's and just have not been up to it quite yet.

Keith, poetry is one thing I know I've gotten better with age on. A huge portion of my stuff from my teens is embarrassingly bad and yet there was a time when I would have grabbed it first in the event of a fire. Nowadays after the wife and kids it would be guns, computer, specific books/art and old family pictures. The writing can be redone (what isn't in the cloud already anyway).