Tag Archives: songs

If You’re a Grad Student and You Know It

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If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

Curfew used to be at 10,

Now we’re up ’till who knows when,

If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

——-

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

If all your friends are gone,

And you deal with freshmen all day long,

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

——-

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

Don’t care about my GPA,

All I want is my MA.

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

Summer Sunset

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Soft summer sunrise, I’ll sing you a song,

Now that I stand where my feet belong:

Alongside the ocean,

The breeze at my back,

Where everything’s right and nothing is wrong.

 

Sun in the heavens, you light my way.

Take both my hands, lead me to the day

Down the wild roads

Abreast of the hills.

Your gaze steals my words and my breath away.

 

Star of the twilight, your dancing eyes

Turn my head more than you realize.

I walk in peace,

For the shine of your smile

Gives me new hope as the daylight dies.

 

Soft summer sunset, I’ll sing you a song,

Now that I stand where my feet belong.

Safe in your light

In the magic of night

Where everything’s right—not a thing is wrong.

I Would Rather Build a Snowman

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I don’t’ wanna write a paper.

I don’t wanna go to class.

I don’t want to be here any more,

Want to run out the door—

I don’t care if I fail or pass!

 

I used to be well rested,

But now I’m not.

I feel like I’m going to die…

 

I don’t wanna write a paper—

Don’t have the brains to write a paper—

But I’ll try.

 

 

 

 

 

Forces of Nature

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Do your best to tear me down—

But you won’t, because you see

I am an ancient oak tree

And you can’t uproot me.

 

Hound my steps and you will come home

Empty handed, ‘cause you see

I am a mountain lion

And you’ll never find me.

 

Force me through your channels—

I’ll erode them, you will see

I am a mighty river

And you’ll never change me.

 

Try to lure me to your trap and

I’ll escape, because you see

I am a wild coyote

And you’ll never fool me.

 

Spread your net to catch my feathers

Spread in flight and you will see

I am a golden eagle

And you’ll never cage me.

 

Hold my head under the water—

I’ll survive, because you see

I am a river otter

And you’ll never drown me.

 

Do your utmost to destroy me

It won’t work, because you see

I have the heart of a mountain

And you’ll never crush me.

Reginald’s Song

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There’s a Cheshire Cat moon

On this Wonderland night.

Let me be your March Hare—

Let’s go out anywhere—

The future is bright.

 

Oh, Alice, where did you go?

What rabbit hole brought you down?

When will you come back to me?

You’re the Tweedle Dum to my Dee—

Of all girls, you wear the crown—

You’re the Queen of my heart, you know.

 

Though the Jabberwock roars,

And the mome raths outgrabe,

I’m your Knight on a horse,

Dressed in white, but of course—

Alice, don’t stay away.

 

Oh, Alice, why can’t you see

You’re more than a game of croquet.

You’re my tea-tray in the sky,

My bottle-blue butterfly—

Alice, how else can I say

You’re all of Wonderland to me?

 

Though the dormouse snores

And the mockturtles cry,

I’ll never be late,

My important date—

Alice, don’t say goodbye.

 

The Briny Beach has too much sand;

Unbirthdays only make me frown;

There hasn’t been a frabjous day

Ever since you went away—

My world has turned upside-down.

Alice, won’t you take my hand?

 

There’s a Cheshire Cat moon

On this Wonderland night.

Let me be your March Hare—

Let’s go out anywhere—

Our future is bright.

The Watermelon Waltz

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Pick a flower,

Any flower,

Take it to the Eiffel Tower

Squeeze a lemon, sweet or sour;

Whiff up the smelling salts—

It’s time that we were dancing to the watermelon waltz.

 

Need I ask it?

Take a basket,

Polish old Abe Lincoln’s casket,

Spruce it up and then re-task it,

Serve up some chocolate malts,

And then we’ll all be dancing to the watermelon waltz.

 

Quick! be nimble,

Grab a tibrel,

Swig some cider from a thimble,

Ring the bell and clang the cymbal—

The boy, he won’t play false,

So grab his hands and whirl into the watermelon waltz.

 

Summer pastry,

Berry pasty,

Bites of life are rather tasty,

Music that makes toesies hasty

Begins before it halts—

You’ll be delighted that you tried the watermelon waltz!

 

 

Questions, Questions (A Contemplative Nonsense Poem)

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Where did you go

And what did you see

Before you found yourself

Walking along with me?

 

How many steps did you take?

How many hearts did you break?

How many broke yours?

How many slammed their doors?

 

And if you could

Would you turn back time

And rewrite the past,

Different words, different rhyme?

 

Would you have talked to me?

Would you have let me be?

Would you have said your name?

Would I have said the same?

 

Did you find yourself

In pieces and parts

Never knowing that you

Would soon be fixing hearts?

 

Did you find it strange?

Did you hope for change?

Did you hear the lies?

Did you close your eyes?

 

Given the chance,

Knowing how things would end,

Would you change the past

And have become my friend?

 

Could you have thought the best?

Could you have guessed the rest?

Could you have dared to try?

Could you have wondered why?

 

All those years ago

Could you have guessed

That every heartache

Would work out for the best?

 

How many times I wish I

Would have met you before.

Did you think you and I

Could be singing once more?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mer Chris

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Today marks the halfway point of the year.

The Christmas year, of course.

Yes, in six months, we’ll all be decking those halls and jingling our bells and harking to those herald angels. Fa-la-laing all over the place. It’ll be great.

Have you finished your shopping?

As an early Christmas present, I will give you all the beginnings of a set of song lyrics. It’s only half finished, because the Christmas year’s only half finished. It is a silly song, just like this post is silly.

It is also short because I kind of have miles to go before I sleep, as it were, to get class prep work done.

So here you go! Mer Chris. (Halfway there, remember?)

KOOKABURRA

Come on, Kookaburra, baby,

Sing me a tune

Right outside my window

In the middle of June

 

For years I’ve had to listen to

A lousy bunch of wannabes—

From kangaroos with didgeridoos

To bongo-beating wallabies.

 

I know that my request might seem a little bit outrageous,

But I’ve never heard another bird whose laugh was as contagious.

 

So come on, Kookaburra, baby,

Sing out of tune

Right outside my window

In the middle of June. 

The Originality Vampires

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There are pros and cons to getting a song stuck in your head.

The pro is, hey, you’ve got a song in your head. Cheaper than an iPod, right? If it’s a good song, having it linger in your brain all day is not a bad thing. Sure, you’ll probably hum it a bit, sticking it in other people’s heads while you’re at it—but if it’s a good song, you’re just spreading the love—as long as you’re spreading it among people with similar musical tastes, which admittedly is a bit tricky.

The con is—you’ve got a song in your head. Good or bad, it won’t leave. Whether it’s “All I Ask of You” or “The Hamster Dance,” it’s there and it’s there to stay for a while. Days. Weeks even. That songs, its chords, its tune, its words, its rhythmical patterns, its rhyme scheme, are all your subconscious mind can process.

So what happens when you sit down to write lyrics of your own? That’s right. You’re writing your words, but with the tune of that other song in your head. You catch yourself using the same rhyming words. Or worse, you come up with a clever way of communicating your thought, you’re very proud of yourself, and then you turn your radio on and realize that the thought was not your own and neither was the phrasing. Boom. You’re not as original as you thought you were.

This happens to the best of us. Arthur Freed, the producer of Singin’ in the Rain, wrote the lyrics and tunes for most of songs in his popular musical films. One song and dance number he was particularly proud of was “Make ‘Em Laugh,” a song paired with a clever slapstick routine by Donald O’Connor that appeared in Singin’. Trouble is, that song is nearly identical to another song by Irving Berlin called “Be a Clown,” which appeared in an earlier film. There was a minor hoopla and the threat of suit over the plagiarized song, but Irving Berlin did not press charges because he and Freed were such good friends—and he knew that Freed hadn’t copied the song deliberately. Like so many other clever songwriters, a snappy tune got stuck in his head, only to resurface years later in the man’s subconscious and reincarnate itself into another nearly identical song. It’s embarrassing. But it happens.

Likewise, I have been encountering this problem as I’ve jotted down potential song lyrics this week. The germ of the idea always stars when I get a tune in my head. But then, usually because I cannot remember the actual lyrics, I make up my own. They fit the song. I write them down. I build a whole new song around the rhythm and tune of that first line. I come up with some cool thoughts—but in the end, I feel like none of them are mine because none of them are truly original. The last poem I put on the blog was like that. Isn’t that a shame?

Songs are wonderful things. But occasionally, if they get stuck in your cerebral cortex for too long, they suck the originality right out of you head until you can’t write anything new anymore. Hence why the title of this post is “The Originality Vampires,” and hence why I’m writing this really long post instead of a song. 

What Comes of Listening to Too Much Owl City and Watching Too Much Doctor Who

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Woke up on the wrong side today

And found that you had gone away—

You said that you were here to stay

            So where could you have gone?

                 where could you have gone?

 

I go out to the railway station

Thinking you’ve gone on vacation

I call your name—wake up the nation—

            The people stop and stare

                   people stop and stare.

 

Shy and scared, but still unbowed,

An airplane lost inside a cloud—

All these faces in the crowd

            And none of them are you

                    none of them are you.

 

So I go back to where you found me

Hoping to find you around me

The silence here simply astounds me

            You’re so far away

                        so very far away.

 

I know I’m not always on top of things

I fall flat each time I try my wings

But I still want to go on adventurings

With you

With you

So please let me come along

On your adventurings

Will you let me come along

On your adventurings

With you,

Just you?

 

Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow,

Find a bit more time to borrow,

Pack my joy and leave my sorrow

            And follow where you lead

                    follow where you lead.

 

And maybe if you’ll stop a minute

I’ll catch up and we’ll begin it—

Seize the day and finally win it

            Once I’ve found you again

                     I’ve found you again.

 

I know I’m not always on top of things

I fall flat each time I try my wings

But I still want to go on adventurings

With you,

Just you—

I can’t see the road any other way

So please come back and please come back to stay

And please let today turn into the someday

With you

With you

Please let today be the first day of every day

With you.

Music

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Music is amazing.

Like most people, I like music. Love it, even. I’m a music fanatic. Granted, I know nothing of music theory. I can’t tell an accented passing tone from a minor fifth, nor could I tell you what either of those things are. But the fact remains that I love and will always love good music.

I have broad taste. It strikes me that those who stick to only one or two genres of music seem to be missing out on a lot that the world has to offer. Some people will only listen to songs of a specific kind (country, rock, R&B, classical, gospel, etc.) to the exclusion of all others, determined never to open their ears to something they are unfamiliar with. As a general rule I avoid evaluating songs by their categories, and try to judge the song on its own merit (if any).While I cannot claim any specific genre as my favorite, I have more favorite songs in Broadway and Classical than anywhere else, with a good chunk of Irish and Scottish traditional ballads thrown in as well as select film sound tracks (Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia being at the top of the list), and of course most of the hymns known to mankind.

I, as well as most laymen music-overs of the world, judge songs based on how they make me feel. I am one of those people who almost always has a song running through her head. As to what song, that is based entirely on my mood.

Some songs always make me smile. They’re the rainy Monday songs that you play just because the sun isn’t shining and you want to feel better about life. Songs like “Out There,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “Mama Mia,” “Daydream Believer,” “My Favorite Things,” “Confidence,” or “Seventy-Six Trombones.” Some songs are so deliciously joyful that they’re in the running for my (as of yet purely fictional) wedding recessional, like “The Jellicle Ball” from Cats or “The Rap” by the Celtic group The Secret Garden.

Then there are the running songs. Though I am not so blessed as to own an iPod, I like to loop songs in my brain while I run. These are the ones with driving rhythm and inescapable energy. Power songs. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is one. Also “Holding out for a Hero,” “The Battle” and “Wunderkind” from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Mambo” and “America” from West Side Story, and “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean. “Somebody That I Used to Know” puts me in a fighting mood that gets me running a little faster when I run it through my brain.

And everyone has songs that they love out of nostalgia. All Christmas music falls under this category, as well as most songs from Disney movies. Few Disney songs can be appreciated for depth of content, but all of them can be loved for their singable melodies and the fact that just about all of us grew up with them being played constantly. And most girls still hum “A Dream is a Wish” half out of nostalgia and half out a firm belief that the song isn’t lying. All songs by the group Libera rocket me back to when I was an elementary school student in art class producing awful charcoal drawings while mesmerized by the sound of the boys’ choir.

Then there are songs that bring tears to your eyes, no matter what mood you were in before you heard it. A lot of these songs fall into this category by guilt of association: some of the cheeriest or sweetest songs in the world can fit in this slot in our minds if we associate it with someone or something that, for whatever reason, is no longer in our lives. I love the hymn “Be Still My Soul,” but every time I hear it I can only think of a boy I knew who sung that hymn to himself in the middle of the night while he was dying of cancer. “It Is Well with My Soul” was sung at my grandfather’s funeral, and that’s who I think of every time I hear it. Some of these “sad” songs only have that label temporarily. It used to be I couldn’t bear to listen to “My White Knight,” even though it’s one of my favorite songs. After a while, my aversion to the song faded and I started loving it again. Currently, the entire soundtrack of The Lion King makes me rather embarrassingly weepy, as does Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and select songs by Michael Bublé—but only by guilt of association. In a month or so, I’ll probably be able to sing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” in the shower as loudly as the average enthusiastic four-year-old who also loves that movie.

The songs of the day today were the final three tracks of The Return of the King soundtrack. In these brilliantly composed passages by Howard Shore, the penultimate emotions and revelations of Frodo’s journey are captured in the folds of music that is half sorrow and half rejoicing. While this music plays, we see on the screen Frodo waking up in Minas Tirith, the coronation of Aragorn, the return to Hobbiton, and the departure of Frodo from the Grey Havens. Without fail, these songs remind me, oddly, of growing up, of finishing my days at Anytown Academy, of coming to the end of any chapter in my life. For whatever reason, I forget about these songs until spring, when graduation comes in a flurry of goodbyes and partings. There’s something about the song “Into the West” that reminds me of every time I have had to say goodbye to someone. Every single time.

Alright, I know you’re waiting for it. Usually I don’t ramble this long about my life or my personal tastes before making some broader, more universal application. Believe me when I say I wrote all this largely because I couldn’t think of anything else to say and I haven’t done a long post in a while, so here you go.

Let’s go back to my opening sentence. Music, I repeat, is amazing.

Music alone has the power to express what words alone could never say. Music can speak at once of beginnings and endings, death and rebirth, triumph and tragedy. Words alone cannot make us want to get up and dance—they need the help of rhythm and notes and vibrancy. One chord, properly placed, can hold more than a library of books. Music can hold our attention where human words fail to do so, and keep us spellbound as we ride the overlapping waves of sound, rhythm, energy, and emotion.

No wonder, then, that the Lord asks us to praise Him with a joyful noise, with the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets, with shouts of joy. He doesn’t want us to sit down and shut up, to keep out praise to ourselves. No. He wants to hear us. He made music to glorify Himself. He made music to be the language of the heart, able to carry every emotion He ever gave to man. He gave us voices so that we could raise them. He gave us hearts that would sway to the sound of “I Surrender All.” He made us capable of making a joyful noise.

Science tells us that the stars produce a low-frequency hum too deep to be detected by human ears. Birds sing with flute-like calls. Thunder booms like a celestial percussion section of a divine orchestra. And human voices—the voices of the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the well-known, the unknown—are all capable of singing, of shouting, of praising.

The universe is an orchestra. God is the conductor. History is His symphony, His masterpiece. And all the music we know and love is but an echo of the music our ears have yet to hear: the final “Hallelujahs” that will ring through heaven when time stops and eternity begins.

Music is amazing.

Fa La La La Wha?

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Image courtesy of xkcd.com

Carols have history. I think that sometimes we get so carried away by all the “fa la la la la”ing that we forget that every song has a story.

“Good King What’s-His-Name”—I mean, “Wenceslas”—for example. Does anyone know the full story behind that anymore? We sing the carol, sure, and we can hum it, and we fall in love with the Manheim Steamroller rendition, but how many of us know anything about the carol other than its first stanza? And just what is the Feast of Stephen, anyway?

How about the “Ukrainian Bell Carol,” also known as the “Carol of the Bells?” Since when do Ukrainians sing in English? Was the carol translated from Ukrainian or was it written in English but inspired by the Ukrainians?

In all honesty, how many of us (aside from my father, who taught me my vocabulary by breaking every word down to its Latin roots) actually know what “In Excelsis Deo” means?

And how many people recognize that “Joy to the World” isn’t really a song about Christmas anyway?

Inquiring minds want to know.