Friday, March 20, 2009

I am not good with poetry.

I am not sure why that is, but it is, what it is. I first learned the depth of my deficiency during the poetry components of 4 years of secondary school English. Good thing poetry never counted for more than 15% of one’s overall mark or I might never have got out of high school alive.

My four years of English poetry taught me that no matter what I thought a poem was about I was dead wrong - every single time. Not only was I wrong every single time I thought I had finally encountered a 'eureka' poetry moment, more often than not, I was completely stymied by what the poet was trying to say in 90% of the poems I encountered in the first place. The only exception is Tehillim. Not only do I get it, I actually enjoy it. There is only one other poet which comes close to my experience with Tehillim – Leonard Cohen.

I won’t say I understand what he is trying to say, but his imagery with words always conjures up these vivid pictures in my mind and I tend to relate emotionally to his poems. For example, one of my favourite lines of poetry runs –

I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul,
When I am not a hunchback,
I sleep behind a hill,
you who wish to conquer pain
Must learn to serve me well,
- Parasites of Heaven

He lost me on the whole ‘hunchback and sleeping beneath a hill', but I know what it feels like to step into an avalanche and feel it cover up one’s soul, and I get the conquering pain bit, well, I think I do. Every where I have gone this week I keep hearing his ‘Hallelujah’ and I grow nostalgic. I found this You Tube video of him singing “Do I Have to Dance All Night” with Laura Branigan on background vocals. Even though recording sound quality is really poor, I relate to it very well and can’t stop singing it under my breath. Apparently, this song has never been released in North America. Shame really.

Lyrics -

I’m Forty-One, the moon is full,
you make love very well.
You touch me like I touch myself,
I like you Mademoiselle.
You’re so fresh and you’re so new,
I do enjoy you, Miss.
There’s nothing I would rather do
than move around just like this

But do I have to dance all night?
But do I have to dance all night?
Ooh tell me, Bird of Paradise,
do I have to dance all night?

You never really have to tell me what
you really think of me - alright.
Let’s say I’m doing fine,
but do I have to dance all night?

Do I have to dance all night? …

I learned this step a while ago.
I had to practice it while everybody slept.
I waited half my life for you, you know,
I didn’t even think that you’d accept.
And here you are before me in the flesh
saying “Yes, yes, yes!”

But do I have to dance all night? …

I learned this step a while ago …

But do I have to dance all night? ...

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