(Poem #287) Mad About You
A stone's throw from Jerusalem I walked a lonely mile in the moonlight And though a million stars were shining My heart was lost on a distant planet That whirls around the April moon Whirling in an arc of sadness I'm lost without you, I'm lost without you Though all my kingdoms turn to sand and fall into the sea I'm mad about you, I'm mad about you And from the dark secluded valleys I heard the ancient songs of sadness But every step I thought of you Every footstep only you Every star a grain of sand The leavings of a dried up ocean Tell me, how much longer, How much longer? They say a city in the desert lies The vanity of an ancient king But the city lies in broken pieces Where the wind howls and the vultures sing These are the works of man This is the sum of our ambition It would make a prison of my life If you became another's wife With every prison blown to dust, my enemies walk free I'm mad about you, I'm mad about you And I have never in my life Felt more alone than I do now Although I claim dominions over all I see It means nothing to me There are no victories In all our histories Without love A stone's throw from Jerusalem I walked a lonely mile in the moonlight And though a million stars were shining My heart was lost on a distant planet That whirls around the April moon Whirling in an arc of sadness I'm lost without you, I'm lost without you And though you hold the keys to ruin of everything I see With every prison blown to dust, my enemies walk free Though all my kingdoms turn to sand and fall into the sea I'm mad about you, I'm mad about you.
As I pointed out the last time I did a Sting piece, it's difficult (and indeed, unfair) to judge musical lyrics using the same yardstick as for 'ordinary' poetry. For one thing, songwriters operate under far stricter constraints than even the most metrical of poets, because they have to fit their words to the 'mood'  of the accompanying music; at the same time, when their lyrics are reproduced on the printed page, they lose the wealth of detail and emotional content provided by performance. It's a no-win situation. Having said that, there are still a few lyricists who stand out. Dylan, Cohen, Springsteen and Simon are the obvious examples, but I have a soft corner for the troika of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Suzanne Vega. And I like Sting. As far 'Mad About You' goes... well, I suggest you read the poem, then try to get a hold of the album ('The Soul Cages, 1991) and give it a listen. Then reread the poem. The difference will stagger you. thomas.  An undefined and undefinable term, if ever I saw one. [Minstrels Links] I've done Sting before, the densely textured 'Soul Cages', at poem #114 Other musicians to have featured on this list include Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and of course Bob Dylan; you can read their work (and much much more) at the Minstrels website, http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/ [Random Meanderings] Have you ever wondered how we select our poems, gentle reader? Scroll down... Yesterday's would-be Ozymandias was what reminded me of this poem; Sting's 'They say a city in the desert lies The vanity of an ancient king' resonates both with Shelley's famous 'Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. and with Horace Smith's somewhat less accomplished 'The city's gone! Naught but the leg remaining to disclose The sight of that forgotten Babylon.' By a happy coincidence, 'a stone's throw from Jerusalem' fits in nicely with a poem I'm going to run next week (a poem which I've been planning to do for some time now - you'll see why when I run it). That poem in turn is part of a Christmas / New Year's theme which will inform my choices in the days to come. Yes, I have a convoluted mind :-).