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Synchronicity II -- Gordon Matthew 'Sting' Sumner

Guest poem submitted by Amit Chakrabarti, the
first in a guest theme:
(Poem #929) Synchronicity II
 Another suburban family morning
 Grandmother screaming at the wall
 We have to shout above the din of our rice krispies
 We can't hear anything at all
 Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
 But we know all her suicides are fake,
 Daddy only stares into the distance
 There's only so much more that he can take.
 Many miles away something crawls from the slime
    at the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.

 Another industrial ugly morning
 The factory belches filth into the sky
 He walks unhindered through the picket lines today,
 He doesn't think to wonder why.
 The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street,
 But all he ever thinks to do is watch,
 And every single meeting with his so-called superior
 Is a humiliating kick in the crotch.
 Many miles away something crawls to the surface
    of a dark Scottish loch.

 Another working day has ended.
 Only the rush hour hell to face
 Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
 Contestants in a suicidal race.
 Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
 He knows that something somewhere has to break
 He sees the family home now looming in the headlights,
 The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.
 Many miles away there's a shadow on the door of a
    cottage on the shore of a dark Scottish lake.
-- Gordon Matthew 'Sting' Sumner
[Comments]

The British rock trio known as "The Police" were on the verge of a breakup
and Sting was setting out on his singer-songwriter solo career when this
song was written. Thus, it captures Sting the Songwriter in his early years.
Already apparent are his gifts for vivid imagery and his ability to bring
out a bigger picture through little snapshots. Notice how with just a
handful of descriptive words Sting adds life to his scenes, e.g. "packed
like lemmings into shiny metal boxes" -- no mention of trains and noise and
crowds and jostling, but can't you just see it? Again, we're not told what
"pain upstairs" is seen "looming" in the headlights (lovely choice of word),
but we can guess.

To cap it all, Stings add a touch of surrealism by setting off his images of
urban angst against an ominous refrain involving the (never directly
mentioned) Loch Ness monster. What a touch!

-Amit.

[Notes]

For those who want to hear the song, it's on the hugely popular 1983 album
called "Synchronicity". The accompanying music features some nice interplay
between the band members, and cool Loch Ness monster sound effects.

[Links]

Other Sting songs on Minstrels:
Poem #114 "The Soul Cages"
Poem #287 "Mad About You"

[Trivia]

Sting seems to've bought the (possibly Disney-created) myth that Lemmings
commit group suicide every now and then when their population increases too
much. I can't claim to know what the truth
is, but see this site
      http://www.snopes2.com/disney/films/lemmings.htm

[On the theme]

It occurred to me that rock/pop lyrics are a vast enough body of work to be
able to supply a theme by themselves. Anyway, I recently noticed that three
very unrelated songs I like happen to talk about "urban problems" in a broad
sense. Hence the theme.

39 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

GrusumGreg said...

Nobody calls him Gordon Sumner. If I remember correctly, in the film Bring
On The Night, he tells a reporter not to call him that. I suggest you
attribute this poem to simply Sting.

duncan said...

whatever. It's still his name. I'll bet that's what gets printed on his
royalty cheques.

d.

Stewart Dickson said...

I think that the author is mistaken about the nature of the bottom of dark, Scottish lochs. I believe that the bottoms Scottish lochs are covered in peat, which is certainly dark, but not slimy. I don't mean to diminish the poetic effect -- just a factual quibble. The bottoms of dark Scottish lochs are certainly very creepy, with all those ancient, dead Celts down there, etc.

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