Words, Wonderful Words!

An illustration by Ernest H. Shepard from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
An illustration by Ernest H. Shepard from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Whether they are spoken or sung, words can reach into one’s very soul and do wonderful, terrible things. Words inspire me to write music.

Sometimes, it is a lyric:

“The fire of maples in autumn is how I remember you.”

— Michael Franks, “How I Remember You”, Dragonfly Summer (1993)

Sometimes, a verse:

And it came to me then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU that reeked of piss and 409
And I rationed my breaths as I said to myself that I’d already taken too much today
As each descending peak on the LCD took you a little farther away from me
Away from me…

— Death Cab For Cutie, “What Sarah Said”, Plans (2005)

Sometimes, a passage:

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leant back blissfully into the soft cushions. “What a day I’m having!” he said. “Let us start at once!”

— Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)

Sometimes, extracts from a play:

Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.

— Caliban, Act 3, Scene 2, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Oh, it is monstrous, monstrous.
Methought the billows spoke and told me of it,
The winds did sing it to me, and the thunder,
That deep and dreadful organ pipe, pronounced
The name of Prosper.

— Alonso, Act 3, Scene 3, The Tempest, William Shakespeare

Sometimes, a poem or two (I regret they are not English):

Et je ne sais vraiment
Où peut s’être posé
Le moineau que j’entends
Si tristement crier.

(And I honestly don’t know
Where it can have alighted
The sparrow that I hear
So sadly calling.)

— From Le Brouillard (“The Fog”), Maurice Carême

En hoog in die rande,
versprei in die brande,
is die grassaad aan roere
soos winkende hande.

(And high in the ridges,
scattered in the fires,
are grasses astir
like beckoning hands.)

— From Winternag (“Winter’s Night”), Eugène Marais


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