Wednesday, June 6, 2012

For Real Toads: using a breakup song

The remarkable Isadora Gruye has posed us a real poser for today's challenge at the online writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. We're to use (some of) the lyrics from a favorite "breakup song" and write them into a new poem that isn't about breaking up.
I was raised in what was then a small city in an agricultural area of beautiful British Columbia. Our local radio station, CKOV (Sherry will remember this) played a mixture of country music and popular music in the 50s and 60s.
I first heard this song by the man who originated it, Hank Williams, Senior.
Johnny Cash recorded a heartfelt version of it, too, but for all-time, real-true, sad-blue, missing-you music, Elvis did it best in Hawaii:

It could not have been an easy song into which to introduce some real musicality, but I'd say BJ Thomas managed to do that, here:

But I'm to write a poem using some of the lyric from it, so, in the wake of Venus crossing the sun, I chose what has always been my favorite line from this song.

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky,
and scientists, forever since, have stopped to wonder why.
They’ve studied long, they’ve studied hard,
Richard Schear photo
and scratched their heads in wonder:
Does a star, when falling, make no noise?
Or does it sound like thunder?
In the video of the rehearsal for his world-broadcast Hawaii show, Elvis said I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry is the saddest song he ever heard, and I don't doubt he heard a lot of songs in his lifetime. 

However, my very favorite sad song is this old Scottish love song recorded by the wonderful Paul Robeson:


Mary said...

This definitely is a question to ponder, Kay. I am surprised scientists haven't been able to set up a simulation to find out.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Your lines are just so beautiful, Kay. I love the final rhetorical questions.. I hope they sound like thunder.

Susan said...

Great old recordings-- Your poem flows so naturally from them that I feel I've read it before, and I've memorized it already! I think the silence or thunder depends on how close the star (or the falling) is to the one watching.

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Susan — memorized it? Thank you! I've never known anyone else to memorize one of my poems.
My brother copied one when we were in elementary school, and turned it in as his own work. That's the bravest I've ever been in all my life—I stomped off to his school in indignation, and told his teacher it was my poem. LOL
Thanks again, Susan.

Daydreamertoo said...

I hope they sound like thunder too.
This is beautiful writing.

Laurie Kolp said...

I agree... this is so lovely.

Susie Clevenger said...

I wonder too at the sound of a falling star...I am not sure if anything compares to the sound of lonely. Nice work tying in so many artists.

Lynette Killam said...

A wonderful poem, Kay, and a great selection of music. The B.J. Thomas has always been one of my favourites, but Paul Robeson is touching beyond measure, isn't he?

I loved seeing your name pop up on my post...have missed you in my time away from the computer. Hopefully, we'll talk again soon...:)


Hannah said...

I love the round up you've gathered enjoyable and your poem is wonderful. I too, wonder now about the sound of a falling star. Intriguing!

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

Love the old songs and what you have done with the verse.

Well done

Marian said...

i love your poem here, kay, very thoughtful. and as usual, i enjoyed everything else about your post, too :) thank you.

Daryl Edelstein said...

I always love the songs you choose, this is no exception, thank you

Mystic_Mom said...

Kay - firstly BJ Thomas! Wow...secondly I`m printing and posting this on my wall. This is so very very good. Thunder!

hedgewitch said...

That definitely is one of the saddest songs ever written, and you really did use one of the most vibrant lines from it to create your image. I also wrote about the transit--and I almost used another Hank Williams song, Willie Nelson singing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, but couldn't make it work. BTW good for you on tattling on your brother!

Helen said...

My comment is REALLY going to date me but I actually remember Hank Williams singing this way back when ... my all time favorite version of the great song!

Your words enhance the music (I believe a falling star must sound like thunder when it falls)

Mary Ann Potter said...

I choose thunder. *** You wrote an interesting poem. A nicely composed work. (I've only heard the BJ Thomas version of the song, by the way. Nice to hear about the others.)