The Ballad of the Ballad of the Bowstring Bridge

I find myself inclined to set some of my poetry to music at the moment.  Poetry and music are very close together and as many people have spotted, good lyrics can stand up by themselves.  Leonard Cohen started out as a poet and although it would be fair to say that he wasn’t a great poet, his lyrics certainly stand up to scrutiny: in fact they are very important.  Whenever I listen to songs it’s the lyrics that attract me, more than the music; and the songs I return to again and again are the songs that have well-written words (as I pointed out the other day when reviewing Chris Conway’s CD – see Friday’s post).

So the most obvious candidate for music is ‘The Ballad of the Bowstring Bridge’.  Now, I’m not terribly inventive musically so the chords are fairly basic, but I think it stands up as a traditional folk song.  I would sing more often – I probably should sing more often – but my voice is a little erratic.  Then again maybe if I practised more it might be better…

Anyway, here’s the Bowstring Bridge set to music and played by me:

I’m also working on a very atmospheric poem called ‘Rye Harbour’, and I’ve set another one to music: it’s called ‘My Soul is like a String Vest’.  It’s not so much comic as surreal…

‘My soul is like a string vest

full of mouth-like holes

and you can see my rib-cage

through the gaps that yawn.’

The last line of each verse rhymes with ‘yawn’ so I want to pick that up somehow in the song.

So today I shall be working on that as well as learning some other poems by heart, finishing a review of a short-story collection (I’ll let you have a look at that tomorrow) and sorting some things around the house.  Looks like another busy day.  Better get on with it then…

Oh, and the bag-searching etc at the Caribbean carnival seems, anecdotally, to have been motivated by a search for glass bottles.  This is thought to be either a Health and Safety issue or a commercial issue (getting people to purchase the overpriced beer on the park) or both.  I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse or just the same…

Kirk out


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