Thursday, 6 November 2008

Still full of it?

It's a bit odd just now. There is the international news of great importance (see post below) but then of course life goes on as normal and what that means here this week in fact is various death issues (nothing too close to home but enough to have an effect). So sadly we're not exactly dancing in the streets right here right now (more's the pity)... though on the plus side I am getting somewhere (finally) with my dancing poem (as in a poem about dancing...not a poem that can dance...again more's the pity).

Also I've been thinking a lot (as usual) about language - what we say, what we mean, when words don't cover it, when words have too many possible interpretations, when people are just too stupid or arrogant or unpleasant to be allowed the use of words. I quite often come back to the same conclusions in my head when I think along these lines. I come back to 'it's not what you say, it's how you say it' and lots of stuff about humanity and respect and understanding and love. Maybe I should have been a politician after all (long story...I'll tell you that another time...).

So here's a poem that looks like a love poem but is really about lots of things. It's one of the few I have recorded so if you want to hear it go to the website and the 'love' section of 'poems'. I've put it up today for my friend Ana Laan - twice found, twice lost again (not that she's one of the deaths mentioned, she's just lost).

All in the tone

Call me anything
But call me now
Call me gorgeous
Or silly cow
Call me Lucy
Or call me Kate
Call me Marjory
For goodness sake
Call me Trevor
If that seems right
Call me crazy
Both day and night

Call me sweetheart
But mean it true
Call me Shirley
It’s up to you
Call me later
And call me soon
Call me cheeky
You call the tune
Call me Romeo
From up above
You call me anything
But call with love



Poetikat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poetikat said...

I've read this one before and liked it very much. It puts me in mind of Dorothy Parker - a specific poem that escapes me at the minute.

I look forward to your "dancing" poem.


I'm just faffing about with the limitations of magnets.

Rachel Fox said...

I've been working on a fridge magnet project thing this year too. I've been trying to do a poem a month...managed it about 2 months out of 3.

Glad you like this poem. It is simple but it says quite a lot, I think. Sounds like my epitaph!


Fiendish said...

"Sounds like my epitaph" made me laugh, I must admit. Couldn't be further from the truth, of course. This poem is very sweet and has plenty of the lovely, rhythmic quality I admire about your stuff.

Rachel Fox said...

I may have to frame some of your comments, Fiendish. And if you think this is rhythmic...just wait for the dancing poem!


The Weaver of Grass said...

I like the way this poem has a form, Rachel - it swings along nicely and I like the sentiments expressed too.

The Solitary Walker said...

Call me a Dylan fanatic, but this one reminded me how Bob sometimes plays around with words (eg with the word 'broken' in 'Everything is Broken.')

Then again, I tend to see Dylan connections everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I love this. Great stuff.

hope said...

Brief and beautiful it dances off the tongue. Well done.

Liz said...

Hi Rachel, just found your blog through Barbara your posts and the poem too - sure is rhythmic, I agree, - will try to listen to it at some stage throughout the day.


Frances said...

Great fun Rachel. May all your poems be dancing ones.

Jim Murdoch said...

I just made a comment on Dick Jones' blog and I'm going to make the same one here. Or a similar one. I think the best thing about this poem is the title. I've not listened to you read it and, although I'm sure the poem reads very well, for me the whole point to the piece is that I don't know what exact tone it should be read in. Normally an ambiguity like this would annoy me but in this instance, to my way of thinking, the ambiguity is the point.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for all these lovely comments. Almost all of you mention music or rhythm or dancing and that is SO important for me (and I guess most of you at some level). Much as I love writing and reading it is music/sound/rhythm that comes first for me in lots of ways. It's hard to explain...the poems do it better.

I'm glad this little poem is getting some love though and it is appreciated. I must admit I'm a little worried that it may get quite excited by all this attention, perhaps get a bit big-headed, start going off to celebrity parties, pick up a drug habit, have to go to rehab. Poems can be so temperamental, so demanding...I'll keep an eye on it.

It is in my book by the way (still available...all good websites and various book shops and places in Scotland). I'm always open to interesting swaps too (I grew up with Swap Shop on TV). But please no 'Buckaroo'.

And Jim...always there to make sure I don't get too carried away with straightforward compliments...still your comment is positive too... I think. And I agree with you - I like the title...but then I love titles in general. A good title can be a very exhilarating experience.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh and welcome Liz, friend of Barbara! Nice to greet you.

Fiendish said...

Poems temperamental?

I have to disagree. Poems are absolutely the least likely thing to land themselves (and then you) in jail, rehab or the NME. Which is probably the foremost tragedy of my adolescent life.

I do agree with the Dylan reference, though for me it's got more of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" in it than "Everything is Broken". But hey, Dylan is Dylan - and for a music fiend like yourself, what higher praise could there be? ;)

Rachel Fox said...

All Dylan references very welcome (as long as they are Bob not the Magic Roundabout). I'm not a mega fan of his as it happens but I do like lots of the songs and I like the way words/lyrics fall out of rain, Sorlil, and not even hard rain...easy rain more like.

If you're interested I rewrote some Dylan lyrics (cheeky, me? I did say nothing was sacred) and you can read them in the songs section of my website. It's a poem really - called 'It's still blowing, Bob' - meant to be spoken not sung (but that's not to say it couldn't be sung too).

One of my favourite BD songs is 'You're gonna make me lonesome when you go' but the albums I know best are 'The Freewheelin' BD' and the newer one 'Modern Times' which we listened to quite a lot when it came out. It's really different but I like it...I like the way he's done so many different things, just rambled about, doing a bit of this and a bit of that and coming up with some great songs along the way. I even like his voice now and again now.


The Solitary Walker said...

Buckets of rain even more like!

Before the Dylan analogies go completely to your head, let me bring you gently back down to earth by saying that your poem also has echoes of schoolground, skipping rhymes...

Will check out your Dylan pastiche.

Ken Armstrong said...

I love the comments! You see, I read it and said to myself, "this is like Dylan" but then I resolved not to mention that I thought that.

Then I read the comments, and lo and behold, other people thought the same except, interestingly about completely different Bob songs - for my part I was reminded of 'Serve Somebody' "you may call me Bobby or you may call me Zimmy, You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray, You may call me anything but no matter what you say, You're gonna have to serve somebody..."

Now that I'm feeling bold, I will also say that it reminded my of 'Get Here' by Oleta Adams which came into the charts in a period when I was away from the LoML and hence moved me in all kinds of silly ways.

All of these 'reminds' are good - the poem connects, reminds and tugs at shallow-buried chords. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Buckets of rain indeed, SW! Skipping/schoolyard rhymes are fine with me too. I do sometimes feel that I write children's poems for a way. There are a lot of poets writing the hard stuff, if you like, and I've had plenty of hard stuff of other kinds in my life so I like my poetry a little warmer, a bit more friendly, a bit less aloof...and if that makes it childish or schooly then...I can live with that. For now.

Thanks Ken. I know you're a big music freak/fan too so I'm glad you ...get what I'm up to. Some poetry folk just think I'm crap/underdeveloped/lazy but if people like you all can recognise something good in the poems then that more than makes up for the other reactions!


The Solitary Walker said...

The connection I made with children's rhymes was a compliment too, Rachel! Not childish or schooly at all - but knowingly childlike and artfully innocent, in a gentle way.

And all this reminds me of Dylan's own 'nursey rhyme' song 'Under the Red Sky'.

Ah yes, Ken, 'Serve Somebody' - of course..! Was trying to think of it.

Rachel Fox said...

Well you lot are improving my Dylan knowledge anyway! I only know the old stuff or the new stuff and not so much in between so I had to go and look up 'Gotta serve somebody' which I really like on first listen (but then despite my godlessness I do like gospel music on the whole - I like most music written and or performed with real feeling and passion - whatever the source).

Thanks SW - I took it as it was meant about the skipping rhymes honestly. If I sounded a bit defensive...that's just to do with...the whole poetry business. It is a funny business...sometimes wish I was a musician fact I often wish that.

Rachel Fox said...

And Ken...I went and listened to the Oleta Adams too...I didn't recognise the name but once I heard it I knew it...huge 80s drums sounds (it was 91 but those were still 80s drums) but I love her voice. Oh to be able to sing like that!

And the lyrics are powerful but they made me smile too...'you can reach me by caravan' maybe sounds more romantic to US ears. It made me think of Alan Partridge or something...driving down the A1 with a flask and a blanket. Which can be romantic too of its own way.

Dave King said...

I'm with Jim. I can hear it being sung, but spoken....? I'm not sure. But that's maybe just me!

Rachel Fox said...

But you can hear it spoken's recorded on the website (doesn't mean you'll like it of course!). I'm always open to poems being put to music though...someone else has just done that with a couple more of my poems (more details soon...makes about 14 in total set to music now) and I've even done it myself.

The Solitary Walker said...

I used to drive down (and up) the A1, the M1 and the M6 with a flask, a blanket and a bag full of samples for 30 years - and I assure you it was definitely NOT romantic!

Re the Oleta Adams, I used to play keyboards in a local band called 'Spitfire Mcguire' and Helen, our singer, covered that song. The band, like most bands, sank without trace in a morass of arguments, personality clashes and musical ineptitude.

So that makes me a failed musician AND a failed poet! (Said not too seriously or bitterly.) At least you can claim some stature as a poet even if not a musician...

(Don't really mean too seriously all that success/failure stuff. There's no success like failure and failure's no success at all... Oh, God help us, I'm back to Dylan again...)

Rachel Fox said...

Samples of what?

The Solitary Walker said...

I'd love to reply body parts, badger droppings or blood, but I must tell the truth and say books.

Dominic Rivron said...

I keep coming back and reading All in the Tone and it does it for me every time.

It makes me wonder how often people go to blogs, read and really enjoy without actually commenting. It must happen quite a lot.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dominic...I'm glad that you and so many other of these discerning readers like this poem. It is one that I didn't expect people to like's so simple and straightforward in many ways and the poems that do well (in the competitions etc.) are so anything but that! All your positive comments really help me in the whole 'god, what am I doing this there any point...should I just pack it in and go and do something else' process...I'll still feel like that some days but at least I'll have some arguments for the defence too! I can't quite explain to you how much that helps me.

Quite a few people let me know that they read this blog and never comment (shy/busy/just not the commenting types). It makes it quite exciting...who is out there..?


The Solitary Walker said...

Most people don't comment, it goes without saying. It does require a certain level of commitment, and then there's the 'pressure of time' factor.

Counters like 'Statcounter' or 'Google Analytics' can give you an idea who and how many are reading your blog - but I'm told these can be quite inaccurate as they don't record all site hits (eg if you visit via a feed like Bloglines). Don't know if this is true or not. And I don't really care. 'Cos I think it's good not to get too hung up on reader stats else one might get depressed. Some blogs never seem to receive any comments at all!

Rachel Fox said...

I agree - I don't look at stats at all...that way madness (and marketing conferences) lie. Interesting comments and exchanges are enough for me.

McGuire said...

Sweet poem.

No one has yet ever 'called me with love' but I appreciate the sentiment. Hopefully one day, someone will share that sentiment with me. Till then, this poem will suffice as a sign indicating and ommission in my life.

Very good.

Rachel Fox said...

It is really about all kinds of love - for friends, family, romantic partners, even people you hardly know! It's kind of about using the right tone all the time...or at least as much as possible.
She typed, lovingly.