At the Intersection of Poetry and Music

Four adaptations of poems set to music: some tender, some bizarre, all personal homages to poems and their masters. Enjoy!

“I’m Nobody! Who Are You?” by Emily Dickinson

Composed by Israeli singer-songwriter Efrat Ben Zur.

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

“Sonnet 49″ by Pablo Neruda

The best loved love poet as sung by jazz artist Luciana Souza.

It’s today: all of yesterday dropped away
among the fingers of the light and the sleeping eyes.
Tomorrow will come on its green footsteps;
no one can stop the river of the dawn.

No one can stop the river of your hands,
your eyes and their sleepiness, my dearest.
You are the trembling of time, which passes
between the vertical light and the darkening sky.

“To a Man Young and Old” by William Butler Yeats

A bit of an oddball, from the album “Yeats is Greats” by lo-fi San Francisco duo The Speakers.

THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty’s murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.
But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.

“Open His Head” by ee cummings

Tin Hat performs one of their songs from the album “The Rain is a Handsome Animal”, which contains 17 songs inspired by ee cummings’ poetry.

open his head,baby
& you’ll find a heart in it
(cracked)
open that heart, mabel
& you’ll find a bed in it
(fact)
open this bed,sibyl
& you’ll find a tart in it
(wed)
open the tart,lady
& you’ll find his mind in it
(dead)

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