Song Lyric Sunday – Veterans Day

Helen’s SLS Theme prompt for today is ‘soul,’ but because it’s Veterans Day (old Armistice Day), I’m going my own way with a poem which has had many beautifully-set musical adaptations.

This famous poem was composed by Pilot Officer (and Poet) John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He wrote it during August or September 1941, three months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Magee wanted to be a poet and he emulated the writing style of Rupert Brooke, for whom Magee wrote The Sonnet to Rupert Brooke. The famous poem, The Soldier, was one of Brooke’s most inspiring World War I poems.

Magee was born in Shanghai, China in 1922, to missionaries. His father was American and his mother was British. He came to the U.S. in 1939 and earned a scholarship to Yale, but in September 1940, he enlisted in the RCAF and was graduated as a pilot. He was sent to England for combat duty in July 1941, where he wrote the poem High Flight. On December 11, 1941, Magee’s Spitfire collided with another plane over England and Magee, only 19 years of age, died in the crash. His remains are buried in the churchyard cemetery at Scopwick, Lincolnshire. (Bio & photo courtesy of USAF)

High Flight, a gift from my wife the day I earned my wings when she was married to a lieutenant almost a third my age, has hung on my office walls for 45+ years. It is a nicely decoupaged (by her) script on a carved wooden plaque.

The High Flight video takes less than one minute and sounds great.

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

“Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

(This poem is in the public domain.)

Happy Vet’s Day.
Look both ways and check six.
Mind gaps with your head in the clouds.

 

But, if I had gone with ‘soul,’ it would’ve been Lady Marmalade by (Patti) Labelle – Hey Sister, Soul Sister; click the link to hear the fab song written by songwriters Kenny Nolan and Robert Crewe (Lady Marmalade lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC).

 

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Poetry: To My Spirit Love

“A poem is never finished, merely abandoned.” Or something like that. In this case, I have kept this poem in the files of my computer for more than a year as I worked and reworked it. Time to let it go.

With the blessing of Mary Oliver, as I learn to write poetry, I try to write as the masters do or did (I copy, or emulate, them). In some such cases, I re-write a poem line by line. In this case, I simply rewrote the poem with more contemporary English vernacular, changing words and lines to my liking. I hope some spirit of the original piece remains. Sadly, I’ve lost track of the original poem: perhaps it is from the Bard’s R&J. I confess to an embarrassing lack of recall.

Sorry. I tried.

Maybe someone will comment, “this may be from….”

To My Spirit Love

Would you be the love in my heart?

Then take the hard-path from deep in you, to us.

Can you be my Lover, and still be true to who you are?

Turn over your passion with love and with lust

Stay loving and gentle in all the ways deep within you

Be true to you but bring all your grace into us.

Rag off caution and care, pour love and praise on me.

Satisfy me with all the love and devotion in your heart

Remain true to yourself and loyal to our blissful passion

Bring your best love to our spot and love me today

Would a love goddess so heavenly bless me?

Shall our endless love be your heart’s eternal duty?

©Bill Reynolds, 11/8/2018

Look both ways in love.
The best hoped for outcome is seldom considered.
Miss not the gaps,
those unseen and unfilled spaces upon which we so often trip and fall.

Dialogue: What They Said

Note: click on highlighted links for videos and songs.

He:      ‘I’m very sorry, Baby. I would never intentionally hurt your feelings.’

She:     ‘God damnit, Billy-Bob, you don’t even know why, do you?’

He:      ‘Whatever it was, I deeply regret it and promise never to say or do it again.’

She:     Screamed gibberish and threw her full glass of white wine at him, smashing it on the wall over his head.

Cat:     Ran and hid under the sofa.

She:     Poured herself a glass of red wine (doesn’t like red, gives her headaches).

He:      ‘Come on Judy, calm down, you know how much I love you.’

Cat:     Hissed very loudly.

Alexa: ‘Oh shit, Billy! Playing Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert.’

She:     Turned beet-red and walked toward him, grinned, and poured the red wine on his white shirt.

He:      ‘Jesus Christ! Now what?’

She:     Quietly uttered a ‘fuck you’ as she turned, grabbed her purse on her way to the front door, which she slammed so hard the curtain fell to the floor.

He:      Walked to the closet to change his shirt. Dropped the wine-stained one into hamper, picked up the curtain from the floor and reattached it. Took a short heavy glass from the cupboard and put in two ice cubes. Opened the liquor cabinet and poured two fingers of his best Scotch, then returned to his seat. He quietly sipped his Glenlivet 25.

Cat:     Jumped into his lap and began to force paws deep into his legs while fully extending claws to dig painfully into his skin.

He:      ‘Ouch! Stop that pussy cat. Alexa, play something soft and comforting.’

Cat:     ‘You did that on purpose. Her name is Jane. You called her Judy, your ex’s name. You’re such a dickhead.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, Billy-Bob, the jerk. Playing Please Don’t Go by Absolutes…jackass.’

He:      ‘Alexa, I said comforting, not sad and miserable. I feel bad enough. Play some Enya.’

Alexa: ‘Enya also thinks you’re a jerk, but playing Watermark for assholes.’

Cat:     ‘You called her mother a pain in the ass. Her mother hates you. Now Jane hates you. I think you are hoping for makeup sex. Good luck.’ Purrs and curls up into his lap.

Alexa: ‘She will kill him for sure this time. His sex life will soon be a memory.’

He:      ‘Alexa, stop talking to the cat. Add flowers to my shopping list.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, thrill-kill-Bill, adding three-dozen red roses and her favorite candy to your shopping list. Would you like me to call that in for you?’

He:      ‘Would you two please be quiet. I need to regroup. Why am I talking to a cat and a computer?’

Phone buzzes with voice mail.

She:     ‘Fuck you very much. And, I’m never coming back.’

Alexa: ‘Ok Jane the wonderful, playing Fuck You by Lily Allen. Please don’t leave us here alone with this asshole.’

He:      Takes another sip of Scotch, closes his eyes, and begins to snore.

© Bill Reynolds 10/27/2018

Look both ways; we are never free of consequences.
Mind the gaps; they are never forgotten.

Song Lyric Sunday – Give

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is give. I immediately thought of a song I had not listened to in a while, a classic twelve-bar blues number called Give Me One Reason, written and sung by Tracy Chapman. I had a hard time deciding between two videos, this one and another in duet with Eric Clapton.

The hook lines in the lyrics are woven throughout the song…

“Give me one reason…”

The lyrics are not in the video. I suggest watching the video without reading lyrics for full affect; but I put them below, so you can read them as you listen if you want. Great blues song.

Lyrics

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Said I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby I got your number and I know that you got mine
But you know that I called you, I called too many times
You can call me baby, you can call me anytime
You got to call me

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
you got to make me change my mind

I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I just want someone to hold me and rock me through the night

This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
But I’m too old to go chasing you around
Wasting my precious energy

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why
Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why I should stay
Said I told you that I loved you
And there ain’t no more to say

***

Songwriters: Tracy L Chapman. Give Me One Reason lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Look both ways for love. It can give you what you want.
Mind the gap, ‘and there ain’t no more to say.’

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Song Lyric Sunday – Hide

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is hide, or hiding, or hidden. A great prompt for me cuz four songs came to mind. I selected one but changed my mind to Lyin’ Eyes by the Eagles, written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley. The hook line for the prompt is (of course) ‘you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes‘ but this song also has one of my all-time favorite philosophical song lines, ‘I guess every form of refuge has its price‘ – and it does, right?

I put the lyrics below the video so you can read as you listen.

YouTube terminated the video, but you can still find it and watch, if you like.

Lyin’ Eyes

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up all in lace and go in style
 

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice
 

So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who’s feelin’ down
But he knows where she’s goin’ as she’s leavin’
She is headed for the cheatin’ side of town
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel
 

She rushes to his arms, they fall together
She whispers that it’s only for awhile
She swears that soon she’ll be comin’ back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t now way to hide your lyin’ eyes
 

She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it’s gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry
 

She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool
 

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things?
You’re still the same old girl you used to be
 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes
Honey, you can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
 

Songwriters: Glenn Frey / Don Henley

Lyin’ Eyes lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 Look both ways with yer lyin’ eyes. Mind the gaps cuz refuge has a price.

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Poetry: May I try?

 

Why can’t I be a poet?
What is that anyway?

The maker of sounds
and finder of words to say.

Poems à la muse must
be creative and see
imaginative ways,
to say,
expressively,
what we,
so capable and specially
can feel,
in a poem’s
certain way.

Poets are
sensitive.
We read (love)
dead poets!

Good at it? Yer a poet.
Writes poetry so well?
Maybe yer the bard
who shows the way.

Poetry is verse.
‘tis a versifier ye are?
Is it not?
How to tell?

Not up to par?
A poetaster you are.
If that’s in me,
a lessor poet’s what I’ll be.

What is inferior?
My poem, or me?
Or is it that my verse
is just too dern terse?

Write a poem of wit
and magic,
or a salty limerick
of some jester’s
funny verse.

Be the bard yer born to be.
Sing like a minstrel
along with me.

Be the poet
and you will see.

© Bill Reynolds 10/8/2018

A note from Johnny Cash.

If yer gunna try, look both ways and mind the gaps.
Let us feel the poems as you write.

Poetry: Soul Satisfied

Prompted by: ‘Smoldering coals of fury with which oppression always fires the soul.’ (1862)

Anger burned like acid surging through his body,
deadly rage ran unfiltered with each breath
as in shame he hid and buried his anger
as it called out for vengeance – for satisfaction.
He felt the scalding physical pain of revenge withheld.

He felt how the inhumanity man can deal to his
fellow man is without comparison.
Only man hates his own. As only man can
kill without reason and crush his kind
without purpose or cause, leaving no real hope.

He felt helpless as despair hardened him.
His broken mind and heart pleaded for him to let loose
the righteous fury growing inside as hours, days,
and years passed in the agony of painful misery,
hatred pounded his chest to be loosed
as his purposeless worthless life festered.

He spoke to his anger about the promise
of a better life, but not for him.
His was to live into his dream
of revenge and retribution with the fury
of the spurned prisoner held within him,
but for not much longer.

Soon he would defeat their world.
Soon he could kill them all,
and his hate would feast on their flesh.
All the pain and suffering would be avenged.
Then he could die in peace,
with honor avenged, pride returned,
his life’s purpose satisfied.

©Bill Reynolds

 

Look both ways, be careful what you wish for, and speak up for the oppressed.
Mind the gaps. Learn where they are.