Wednesday, May 29, 2013

poetry and song

Last night at practice we had a short discussion about poetry and it is often difficult to understand the lyrics to songs when we hear a choir reading the lyrics as a poem can help us make sense of the song.

A song is still a song without the words.  It may touch us in a different way.  And poetry is music to me even though it doesn't have a melody in the way a song does.  I tell my elementary school students that we always want to strive to make music, not just noise.  I think this applies to choir practice, performance and life. A line from an Amy Grant song I listened to in high school comes to mind: "It's not a song 'til it touches your heart".  We will keep striving to make our lyrics clear, but most of all we will strive to touch a heart each time we sing.

The Arrow and the Song
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.