I met my favorite local poet at Word on the Street. His name is M.R. and I was first introduced to him when Kate bought me his fabulous collection about a mythical lake in 1996. He has since published a novel but his poetry is my favorite.
To be a best seller of poetry in Canada, you have to sell 500 copies. Poets, I imagine, do not get a whole lot of recognition outside of their peer group, so I thought I would say something to him, to let him know that I love his work. Before I opened my mouth, however, I was blushing furiously. Compliments are hard to give sometimes, but I blustered on in my own goofy way.
I don't buy a lot of poetry these days, and I don't read it as much as I used to, and I certainly don't write it as much as I once did. And while I just heaped praise on one writer, I will now offer up some caustic remarks about other wanna-be poets.
You see, I have this pet peeve: Bad song lyrics that feel like constipated attempts at poetic insight, but disintegrate into meaningless abursurdity faster than Ethan Hawke's marriage.
But where to begin? Drops of Jupiter was the first that came to mind, by Train. "She acts like summer and walks like rain Reminds me that there's time to change, hey, hey" That song makes me break out in hives. These lyrics make no sense, even with the loosest poetic standards. Act like summer? Walk like rain? There is still time to change, Mr. Monahan.
God, I am mean.
While digging up lyrics of the craptastic Counting Crows, I started to notice a motif as unforgivable as DMB's wine. Yes, your favorite trope and mine: rain.
I guess there are a lot of reasons to use "rain". To begin with, it rhymes with just about anything (again, plane, train, complain...) and it is a nifty little scene-setter with it dark and defeated dampness (aye, like a second narrator, weeping for humanity).
Here are some great Counting Crows gems. While we're at it, keep an eye open for the mommy motif:
"Sleeping children better run like the wind out of the lightning dream Mama's little baby better get herself in out of the lightning"
"If I could make it rain today And wash away this sunny day down to the gutter... Meanwhile all the days go drifting away And some of us sink like a stone [!!] Waiting for mothers to come"
"Somewhere out in America, it's starting to rain"
"All these wasted dreams Just waiting for the sun to open up my heart to anyone Bring me some rain Because I'm dying and I can't get this damn thing closed again"
"I've been to Boston before anyway, this change I've been feeling doesn't make the rain fall"
"She's been dying and I've been drinking And I am the Rain King"
"Well the children laugh and sing a song that ushers in her driving rain And I am standing in the station like some old record waiting on a train"
"I need a raincoat I really need a raincoat I really really need a rain coat I really really really need a rain coat I really need a raincoat "