Thursday, 4 September 2008

More about the Marra

I have rambled on about Dundee's Michael Marra before. He is brilliant - quite brilliant - as a singer, a songwriter, a performer, a storyteller, a thinker...heck, I would call him a poet too. On Tuesday Kris Drever played Marra's song 'Hermless' at the folk club here. It's a lovely song and it's just my kind of thing because it seems simple and yet it says so, so much (and I always prefer that to writing that seems complex and yet says so, so little...layers of bullshit, my friends, count the layers...).

Anyway, I wrote a poem about Marra after his last visit to our folk club and I had an sudden urge this morning to put it up here. A lot of Marra's songs are called things like 'Bob Dylan's visit to Embra' and 'Frida Kahlo's visit to the Taybridge bar' so my poem is a kind of tribute to Marra and his songs. He's kind of a shy bloke so I don't know what he'd make of this! It's a villanelle again...I don't have that many villanelles but you might think so from the number of them that end up on here. If it doesn't scan for you I'm afraid you're just not reading in the right bizarre accent (mine is part Durham, part Yorkshire, part Queen's, part little bits of Scottish creeping in).

Michael Marra's visit to the Links Hotel (Montrose)

It really doesn't have to be all about hell
I've seen the light and it came from Dundee
Via Michael Marra to the Links Hotel

Was it from heaven to us that he fell?
Soulful and funny and bright as can be
It really doesn't have to be all about hell

He brings quite a singing voice with him as well
Maybe from the bottom of the deep blue sea
He creaks, does Michael Marra, at the Links Hotel

The audience and he just somehow gel
There's never any plugging of a latest dvd
It really doesn't have to be all about sell

When Michael Marra plays the score you can foretell
Happy warm hearts and faces worry-free
Adored is Michael Marra, at the Links Hotel

So up on the deck and ring the loudest bell
Tell it how it is, we love him endlessly
It really must be all about the spell
He weaves, does Michael Marra, at the Links Hotel

RF 2008


hope said...

He sounds very interesting...and in your description of him I can almost hear his "sound."

I did have to laugh at what my eyes saw when I read this: "...yet says so, so little...layers of bullshit.." My brain say "layers" as "lawyers". Freudian slip I suppose, having worked for one who elevated BS to a high art. Then again, it might be the 3 hour "Customer Service" seminar I just endured.

And if I ever get a moment to myself again [poor hubby threw his back out yesterday] I might take up your challenge on my blog to try my hand a "Dependable" poetry. :)

Anonymous said...

The villanelle form serves the theme well. I have the vaguest recollection of having crossed paths with Michael Marra in the early '70s when I was also scuffling around trying to get recording and publishing. I'll have to check with my musical pals from the time whose recall might be less foggy than mine! Great distinctive voice.

Anonymous said...

Whoops - 'd' is meant to say 'Dick'. There was a kind of digital premature ejaculation!

Anonymous said...

Ah digital PE, eh? A new technological development that is 'coming soon'. Eh? Eh?

I love the poem and was very struck by the bits of Michael's work that I found after you last mentioned him.

BTW - I haven't got up to the post office yet with this little package - please forgive me, awkward week thus far...

Rachel Fox said...

Ah Ken...PE was a very different activity in your school obviously.

Fiendish said...

A very sweet and rhythmic piece. Your love of music comes across through your poetry, it really does.

Sounds like a cool guy, too.

Rachel Fox said...

One of the many great things about Michael Marra is that he is pretty indefinable - he plays at our folk club but he's not what most people would think of as folk. He sometimes gets put in 'jazz' too but he's really not that either (I am not a jazz fan, personally, keep trying now and then but just don't like it). He's beyond genre...he's just excellent!
He writes songs about everything too which I like. He has songs about football, songs about history, songs about all sorts of things...

Kat Mortensen said...

This makes me wish I could be there to see him in person, but since I can't, your poem has well-represented the ambience and his talents so I feel as if I have already.


I loved the single-syllable rhyme that ran through the entire piece from start to finish.