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Hey everyone! It’s Mish here tending bar for you today.

Do you have a song in your head?

Wait!  Not that one from the radio that you heard a few hours ago and has relentlessly played on repeat. I was thinking more on the lines of your OWN song.

Songwriting and poetry differ in many ways but there is no denying that there are connections and overlaps between the two.  Some of the best lyrics have evolved from some very poetic minds.  It is no wonder that artists like Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, John Lennon, Art Garfunkel, Jewel and Joni Mitchell are only a few who have published poetry in addition to their songwriting. One of my favourite artists is Adam Duritz from a band called Counting Crows.  In this particular song “I Am Ready”, he uses some poetic devices such as imagery and alliteration but it is still “sing able”. You can listen to it here.

I Am Ready

I am color blind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready, I am ready, I am ready

I am taffy stuck, tongue tied
Stuttered shook and up tied
Pull me out from inside
I am ready, I am ready, I am ready

I am fine, I am covered in skin
No one gets to come in
Pull me out from inside
I am folded, and unfolded, and unfolding

I am color blind
Coffee black and egg white
Pull me out from inside
I am ready, I am ready, I am ready
I am fine, I am fine, I am fine


We know that poetry and song lyrics are designed to elicit some type of emotion or response. The power of language prevails in both. Music combined with words can seduce us across the dance floor or flood our minds with nostalgia. There is always that song, the one that tugs at our heart.

So where do we start?

The first part of this challenge is to come up with a tune in your head. Remember, no one will hear you!  If you happen to play a musical instrument, then you will have an advantage. Next, write your lyrics to fit your new melody.

As poets, we write from a speaking voice. We have much freedom to tap into an array of creative tools such as imagery, metaphors, alliteration, personification, rhythm, rhyme and more. As songwriters, we will need to adjust our poetic styles. Free verse poetry is not as compatible with music. A song requires more defined verses, often a chorus and refrains. Rhythm and rhyme become paramount to the fusion of lyrics to music. You may want to look at some of your favourite songs for ideas on structure.

We will also need to lighten up our phrases a little to make them “sing able”. As you write, try singing each line or phrase, to see if it sounds too awkward. Keep it simple, concise, and not overly abstract. Don’t be afraid to use repetition, a major part of conveying a clear message in a song. This doesn’t mean that you cannot utilize some of your treasured poetic traits. It’s all about modifying to come up with something in the end that you can hear as a song. YOUR song!

With that said, you will probably find that as we read each others “song” poems, we will be receiving them in a speaking voice since we will not know the writer’s tune that may go along with it. That’s ok. Let’s just have fun!

I will leave you with a little inspiration from Sir Paul McCartney.

If you are new to the pub, this is how it works

• Write your “song”
• Post it on your blog or website
• Leave a comment below
• Click on Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and enter your name and the direct URL of your post
• Visit other poets’ work and let them know what you thought
• Spread the word on social media with the #dVersePoets hashtag