side of church, green tree, Clyde
In the interests of my latest poetry collection, I have been listening to a lot of popular music this week (and watching a lot of Youtube music clips and videos). I have been listening to a range, from the recent past, as well as from the 'ancient' - relatively speaking. (After all, I am talking the 1950s!)
I have been catching up on music my kids listened to in the '90s and early 2000's and found that they actually had good taste. (I just didn't have time at the time to take it all in. Well, apart from a few of the more melodic songs, like 'Bittersweet Melody' by TheVerve, 'Daughter' by Pearl Jam, 'Razor' by Foo Fighters ...)
But I am tired of thinking and researching popular music. I'm about ready now to just listen to any old music for straight enjoyment again; no agendas.
Below is a poem I wrote some years ago while listening to a Gillian Welch c.d. I have. I fell asleep listening to a long track called 'I Dream A Highway'. I remember how it suddenly seemed surreal to be listening to this music from another country's culture in my own, New Zealand suburb on a Saturday afternoon with NZ'ers out and about doing kiwi suburban stuff like mowing lawns ... The track is about 15 minutes long and I can attest to it being a wonderful lullaby, as well as some kind of motivation for this poem. (There is no banjo playing bluegrass on the track; but they were there in my imagination).
so green it’s blue
This music is homesick
for a bayou. It's a foreign accent
in a suburb that gurgles with lawnmowers
doing the breaststroke
through oceans of grass
and air that swirls
with the catfight-sound
of electric saws. It is music that picks
and talks of grass so green it’s blue.
Music that pines, this plucked banjo
I listen to in a town fastened
to fast-cooled, volcanic remains.
Kay McKenzie Cooke