Music and poetry are capable of healing and educating for a very vast number of reasons. Poetry and songs have the ability to create awareness, educate an audience or to help heal a single individual. They have the power to connect us to others all around the globe or connect us to family and friends on a deeper level. Poems have a way of transforming our thoughts and feelings into words. Poems can also inspire, uplift and even encourage those who need it the most.
A great example of a poem that does all 3 is “Anyway” by Mother Teresa. Music is as equally capable of being therapeutic as poems are. Music has a way of letting us express ourselves and deliver a message to different types of audience. The combination of rhythm and lyrics gives music the ability to soothe and to heal. In the song “You Gotta Be” by Des Res, there is that perfect combination of beat and meaningful lyrics.
Mother Teresa wrote the words to the poem “Anyway” on the children’s wall at the orphanage. “Anyway” was her version of the Ten Paradoxical Commandments. “Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough/ Give the world the best you got anyway”, was a way to encourage and uplift the children at the orphanage (Mother Teresa 13,14). With her poem, Mother Teres was inspiring others to always do the right thing and rise to the challenge. In lines 3-8, Mother Teresa employs repetition, saying
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives/ Me kind Anyway/ If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies/ Succeed Anyway/ If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you/ Be honest and frank anyway.
The purpose of this, is to emphasize the importance of generosity and being the very best person one can be. This repetition continues throughout the poem, with the concept gradually growing more specific and nuanced. In the lines,
Give the world the best you have, and it may not be enough/ Give the world the best you got anyway/ You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God/ It was never between you and them anyway,
Implies that you should make positive choices because at the end of the day, a person will hae to look themselves in the mirror (Mother Teresa 15-18).
Poems, while they are similar to music. are also uniquely different. Music can tell compelling messages the same way as poetry, whether it is through the lyrics which are poems set to music or solely through the rhythm and sound. One commonality that we share with others all around the world is music. All around the globe listeners speak and understand different languages, but the beauty of music is that no one needs to understand the lyrics. Listeners can still understand the message that is coming across because of the tone. We use music for different things such as, celebration, awareness, education, and for therapy. Because of this, music possesses the ability to unite many or to soothe and heal only one. An example of a song that can be both soothing and upbeat is “You Gotta Be” by Des Res. Between the beat and rhythm of the music and the lines such as, “Challenge what the future holds/ Try and keep your head up to the sky”, it can inspire and uplift a person’s mood (Des Res 2-3). For many people, listening to music can be like a time capsule and certain songs can take them back to a certain moment in time. In 1975, “Landslide” came out by Fleetwood Mac and to this day, nearly 45 years later, many people become nostalgic while listening to this song. “Landslide” became very popular because it hit home for so many. In the lyrics, “Oh, mirror in the sky, What is love?/ Can the child in my heart rise above?/ Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?/ Can I handle the seasons of my life?”, gives the audience an imagery of a time in their life that was filled with so much doubt but also wonder (Fleetwood Mac 5-8). There will come a time in everyone’s life where they will hae to make life changing decisions and those moments can be scary. When you look at “Landslide” at face value, it is beautiful as is, but when you take a deeper look at the message it makes the song extraordinary. For most of us, after we go so far or after we reach a goal, we like to take a step back and reflect. We have the chance to appreciate how far we have come and that is demonstrated in “Climb a mountain and I turn around”, perfectly (Fleetwood Mac 2). The word “landslide” is used repetitively in the song to show how even when you reach the top, a landslide can quickly bring you down. However, even when life continues to knock you down, you need to get back up and climb that mountain.
While music and poems are two different things, they also have very similar qualities. Music itself can do many things on their own, but when it is paired with just the right lyrics it takes on a whole different meaning. Poems lack the actual music but poems also take on a whole new meaning when used with different writing styles such as, rhyming, tempo, and the use of repetition. A few of the main qualities that were pointed out earlier are, poems and songs can bring awareness, educate and unite. Every person on this earth is completely different from one another, but poems and music can make any two people relate to the same message. The next time a song or poem comes along, take a deeper look at the words or lyrics and see what they mean. What message are they trying to convey?