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.
[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.