Sunday, 18 October 2009

Monday poem - Death, the Musical!

And so to this week's Monday Poem task (a bit early - we'll be travelling home all day Monday)! As some of you know I've been away all week so there was no danger of me taking the first option (finding the film 'Garage', watching it and writing about it). This meant I had to take TFE's second option which was...take in this Sylvia Plath poem, think about it for a bit and then get to work on one of our own. I didn't have a lot of time but I wanted to keep up my 100% attendance so I got to work when I could (quickly and quietly and in between visits and meals out with family...).

To be honest with you (rightly or wrongly) Plath already popped up in a Monday Poem of mine a couple of weeks ago (here) so I was not exactly keen to work on another Plath-related task again so soon. I'm not a huge Plath fan (as I've said before) and so I would have been happy to read anything by pretty much anyone else for this assignment. But it was not to be so I got on and read the poem (as many times as I could bear) and then I started writing guess what...a sad poem about the tragedy of humanity. Luckily, perhaps, that poem didn't seem to want to come out right (it's still sulking in a file somewhere). Then, without any warning, this song came into my songs do. It came again...and again...and again (and I've chosen to post you a version sung by our Girl's favourite singer...RIP EK).

It's a while since I rewrote an existing song (there was this one a while back) so I thought I'd have a go at it with this Cole Porter number. To begin with I wondered if English comedian Victoria Wood had already done it but her song shares only the title (see here). Mine has a different title but shares the tune and the format (you will notice the two longer verses at three and seven as in the original). I've sung it to myself a few times and it does all fit if you pause in the right places (so if at first it feels wrong just give it another go). I would sing it for you but my excuse, once again, is that we're away from home (and I'm really not meant to be doing this kind of thing at all). Here it is...and you'll be humming the tune all day if nothing else:

Dying art

Birds do it, bees do it
Dogs and frogs and certain seas do it
We all do it, we all die some day

And whilst bees do it, birds do it
Love and friendship, tired words do it
We all do it, we all die some day

Eventually, even cats do it
Once they get to their ten
Buddhists get less stressed about it
Such is the power of zen

Presidents, monarchs - popes do it
Fairly often all our hopes do it
We all do it, we all die some day

The so-called great and the good do it,
From nowheresville to Hollywood they do it
We all do it, we all die some day

Young hearts way ahead of turn do it
Some of us dread it, others yearn for it
We all do it, we all die some day

Victims of war on all sides do it
We know that's part of the plan
There seems little sense to it
Some people do what they can

The folks at home and away do it
Two hundred thousand every day do it
We all do it, we all die some day

RF 2009

I could have kept going and written a hundred verses...still might try some more at another date. For now there's more family stuff and then a long journey and then we should get home Monday night. I might get to read everybody else's contributions then.


Totalfeckineejit said...

A great poem Rachel taken from a different and refreshing angle, plenty of homour in there too , taking the Grim out of Reaper!

This was a great stanza...

'Eventually, even cats do it
Once they get to their ten
Buddhists get less stressed about it
Such is the power of zen'
And these were my favourite lines

'Fairly often all our hopes do it'


'From nowheresville to Hollywood they do it'


'Young hearts way ahead of turn do it'

Like you say Rachel wee all gonna do it so, maybe, where's the big deal? Sometimes death like life is what you make it? (or make of it)
Who knows ? I know I like this poem though/Tanxio mucho.Enjoy the rest of yer holiday!

Karen said...

What a relief from the seriousness of Sylvia, and the light-hearted approach is welcome! Thanks for that!

hope said...

After reading the Plath poem [not a fan either] I found yours a refreshingly humorous take on death. :)

TFE picked my favorite line, concerning Buddhists. :) You do have a way with words.

Dr. Jeanne Iris said...

Ah, but your poem doesn't 'do it'....for it's alive with the human spiritual experience. I love this. Slan abhaile!

Jim Murdoch said...

The Victoria Wood influence is unmistakeable - I could hear her sing every line - especially in the line about the cats.

Excellent. (That's two this year I believe.)

Rachel Fox said...

It feels weird doing this on a Sunday!

Thanks all for the comments so far.


Niamh B said...

Another lovely one Rachel - you always manage to do something original.

Anonymous said...

Call me thick, but I couldn't find TFE's instructions in his blog this week.

Rachel Fox said...

It was a weird one, Colin, because he posted the instructions for this task back on 7th October (in two separate posts) and then last Monday was meant to be a week off (so we had 2 weeks to think about this one). But then I guess he couldn't resist setting a task last week (quite last minute). So nip back to 7 Oct at his and you'll find the 2 options for the poems due tomorrow! Clear as mud...

The Solitary Walker said...

Rachel, I think this is great! (It's Monday properly now.)

Colm Keegan said...

Darkly comic stuff!

A Cuban In London said...

I loved the fact that you oheld back at the right moment, in my opinion. The Sylvia poem does go on for a bit, but then her last line is bang on the money. Many thanks for this beautiful offering.

I got your book last week and have been reading it on and off. I love it. I really do. Thanks for the cards, too.

Greetings from London.

Tess Kincaid said...

Let's fall in....death! I love the Cole Porteresque feel here. Fun take on the Plath.

Batteson.Ind said...

*smiling... :-)

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love this and look forward to even more verses. Do you think it is easier to compose lines when one has a tune in one's head to fit them to? I wonder.
It was a pleasure to see you all for coffee and a walk this morning - now you have a stopping off place every time you come south - you are always welcome. Tess sends love to Zoe too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rachel. Found them. I'll pass this week - I don't go much on films, and much though I like quite a lot of Plath, this poem passes me by. Besides, I'm getting geared up for tonight - will blog tomorrow either in sorrow or celebration. (Not true about the sorrow bit actually, I'm realistic in my expectations).

NanU said...

I'm with you in not being a Plath fan, but it's certainly worth a bit of bother to come up with something so refreshing as this. Thanks, Rachel!

Kat Mortensen said...

Great fun! I could see it as the alternate ending to "Life of Brian".
Keep up with the verses; this was great!

Mine's a shade darker, rather.

ken armstrong said...

The girl done well with that. It's a great song to start with but, yeah, deffo dun well. :) x

Dominic Rivron said...

A good one for communal car-singing, I'd've thought :)

Argent said...

Hahaha what a great antidote! I also picked up on the dying aspect of the poem but I like what you did MUCH better!

Titus said...

Love love love it!
Works extremely well, and the final full stop of the "Two hundred thousand every day do it"
superb for perspective! Brill.

VW's very good (really laughed out loud when I first saw it) but this is right up there.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for all these lovely comments. We were on the move and visiting folk so much this week that I certainly couldn't have been working on something heavy at the same time (well, not without serious complications...). I don't really think it's fair to visit people unless you're going to at least try to be cheerful! Plus I have written a few darker/heavier pieces in the past few months and I simply can't write like that all the time. What I like most of all in art is variety. To me the really great poets, for example, are the ones who can do it all (from the funniest humour to the harshest horror and every mixed up poem in between).

As for Weaver (and Dominic) - it was lovely to meet you all too today. I don't know which is harder (writing for your own tune/pattern or someone else's). I did fiddle with this one a fair bit to get it all to a point where I was happy enough with it. I think that was partly to do with trying to use words as well as Porter does in some of his original lyrics (the electric eels bit I love!).

And's been a very long day! To bed, to bed, to bed...

Rachel Fox said...

And yes, Kat, I think there was more than a hint of Monty Python song in my head as I was doing this too!

Dick said...

I can hear the velvet EK voice wrapping itself around this to great effect, Rachel!

Dick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel Fox said...

Nothing sinister above...just a doubled up comment.