So it's time for another Monday poem project (thanks to the literary kingpin that is TFE). We've had the five minute poem and the person in a café poem and this week the exercise goes a little something like this (I've pared the instructions down a bit):
- Take a piece of music (one you love or that means a lot to you..).
- Listen to it
- Write something.
When I first read this brief I wondered what music I might pick (I have been a huge music fan since I can remember so there was a lot of material to cast my mind over). I looked up at the CD shelves for inspiration but nothing seemed to be calling out from there so I carried on with normal duties - collected Girl from school, walked dog - and it was whilst doing the latter that a song flew into my head with 'use me' taped to its intro. I had hoped for something perhaps just a tiny bit cool but it was not to be. The song that came into my head (almost of its own accord) was this one:
As you can see...not really very cool...unless we're getting into that 'so uncool it's cool' territory (and I've been there a lot recently – start here and there's plenty more where that came from...). Anyway this particular song, as I'm sure many of you know, is 'Don't it make my brown eyes blue' sung by Crystal Gayle (younger sister of Loretta Lynn – I never knew that). The song (usually described as 'pop country' and lyrics here) was a hit in the UK in 1977 and was written by a bloke called Richard Leigh. The title is kind of poetic when you think about it...and I really like the song (whatever kind of music it is) even after all this time. I remember listening to it most a bit after 1977...probably something more like 1981... and in particular on our local commercial radio station in Middlesbrough back then (Radio Tees) whilst hanging about in my bedroom (in between bouts of my main teenage pastime which was of course getting into serious trouble). In that period I listened mainly to heavy rock/metal with friends (it was the North East of England...there was a lot of rockin' going on) but like many people I was more open-minded on my own at home and listened to all kinds of sounds (rock, metal, pop, disco, funk, my brothers' LPs, my Mum's LPs, all kinds of radio...).
Anyway, back to this week's job. Once the song for this project had chosen itself I listened to it a few times and then I sat myself down, honey, and I wrote this little ol' poem (sorry, country music does this to a person apparently...). I tried not to write a rhyming poem but I'm afraid that matter seems to have been out of my hands too. It's very, very different to last week's Monday poem...and the week before's too. And that's good, isn't it? Here it is – hope y'all like it. I've recorded it as an audio file too (here) – it just seemed to be asking for sound.
Here we are, one and all, in an '80s teenage bedroom
It's best not to picture it, horrors galore
Ugly, ill-chosen, stupid plastic furniture
Duvet cover from hell, scruffy posters, eyes sore
And under the bed, with the dustballs and rubbish
Two curious magazines from a holiday find
We wanted romance when we went Spanish shopping
We got prose porn but in the end didn't mind
The centre of the room is a box that looks empty
A funny old thing, handed down from a Gran
It's a radio (burgundy) only plays FM
It can take you away like no other box can
Even the local commercial stations
Though their drone and their drivel can feel like a bind
At fourteen I handle the endless pop music
The gardening phone-ins, crap chat, I don't mind
The voices tell stories of what is still waiting
Comforting sounds and a background to new
And once in a while there's a call that comes clearer
Like a gal singing 'don't it make my brown eyes blue'
For a few minutes all there is is that piano
That song like a bell, ringing joy (but resigned)
And even though my eyes are green and so useless
I can sit, love the song, sing along, I don't mind
Now I wonder what music everyone else has chosen...
17 minutes ago