Thursday, 12 August 2010

so green it's blue

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


Catherine said...

I never thought of lawnmowers doing breaststroke before :)

richardg said...

Interesting thought Kay, about music being homesick. I guess most music does belong to a certain place
where it is best suited.

Kay Cooke said...

Catherine - Maybe if the grass is that long!?

richardg - Something like that I think. Sometimes the poem takes over and you just write what it says. :)

rel said...

It's always so much easier to picture when you say it.

leonie wise said...

very often when i read your poetry i have to come back to it and read it over.

the description...
"It's a foreign accent in a suburb that gurgles with lawnmowers doing the breaststroke through oceans of grassand air that swirls
with the catfight-sound of electric saws"
just totally astonishes me. I even interrupted Nic's reading this morning to read it aloud to him

Some poets I love, some not-so-much. Your writing (and you) are definitely the former!

Kay Cooke said...

Leonie - That is so lovely of you to say that and it has made my day!

Lydia said...

Marvelous! Her name isn't instantly recognizable to me so I'm off to youtube . . .

Lydia said...

This is soon as the video with Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss came on screen at youtube I realized I saw the trio live some years ago at the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" tour that came through Salem Oregon! I'm a huge fan of both Emmylou and Alison Krauss, and realize I must become familiar with Gillian Welch's music too. :)

J.T. Webster said...

Really enjoyed your poem Kay. The breaststroke lawnmower, homesick music and catfight -sound of electric saws are wonderful pictures.

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