Poems have been in existence ever since the bards sang about their stories in dates that used to be letters and not yet numbers in form and they usually reflect what the songwriter’s emotions and sentiments are as it celebrates self-expression. Simply defined as a composition in verse by the online dictionary Merriam-Webster, there are several characteristics that one has to look for in a composition for it to be considered poetry.
Renowned singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan’s song Possession is a good example of poetry in music writing. Examining the title, and after reading the lyrics to this song, one would have to conclude that the person who is singing this song wants to gain possession over another person. However, this other person that the singer is referring to does not reciprocate the desire for possession. Oh you speak to me in riddles and / You speak to me in rhymes,” as can be interpreted in these lines, the refusal to be possessed, because the person to be possessed is probably trying to tell the singer that he or she does not want him, and the singer is in denial hence, the singer thinks that the neglect coming from the person that he or she wants to possess is just a riddle or a rhyme that would eventually mean something in the end. Right now, for the singer, it does not make any sense. Also, possession is a very powerful word.
To be used as a title, you have to have supporting lyrics that would further elaborate on how you would possess your target, “And I would be the one / To hold you down / Kiss you so hard / I’ll take your breath away. ” To possess somebody by literally holding them down and kissing them so hard that you will take their breath away could also mean to kill them, so that nobody else can have them, hence you have possession over them. You are the one’s running their lives already, and to end it by your means can be measured up to possession.
In the first two lines of the song, “Listen as the wind blows / From across the great divide,” the great divide can vary in meaning, one is the North American Atlantic or Pacific divide and can mean that she is living near the seaside, or the great divide being heaven and hell and she is probably a spirit or is dead already. Mentioning a sea of waking dreams and that nothing stands between us here, can also allude to a probability that the singer killed the person that she wants to possess and the afterlife can be the sea of waking dreams and in that place nobody can come between them anymore, unlike possibly in real life.
Scattered throughout the song are different elements of poetry. As for the use of figures of speech, personification is used. “The night is my companion,” personification is used here in this line, also here, “Solitude my guide. ” For the rhyme, there are several, for example, “Into this night I wander / It’s morning that I dread / Another day of knowing of / The path I fear to tread,” the use of dread and tread in alternate lines, referred to as a masculine ryhme. In this example, we have a sight rhyme, “And after I’d wipe away the tears / Just close your eyes dear,” the use of tears and dear.
In these lines, “Oh you speak to me in riddles and / You speak to me in rhymes,” the repeated use of speak can be accounted for as a rhythm through word repetition. Also, if one would count the number of syllables per line, one would find out that in the first stanza, the count was playing between 6 and 7 syllables per line: 6, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6, 7, 6. Also in the stanza after the chorus, the syllable count reveals a pattern: 6, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 6. Tone, which indicates the emotional intent of the poet or songwriter, sets the mood of the poem.
Here, the confession of undying desire for a person, so as much to possess another sets the emotional intent of the writer. In today’s modern times, there are various literary types, some still uncategorized. However, I reckon that this song by Sarah McLachlan is a poem. Even though it does not conform to usual literary standards, what is important is the self-expression and creativity that came along with this masterpiece, and we as the audience, have to pay respect to the hard work of the songwriter, poetry, or not.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2016
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