Song Writing 101

Every once in a while, a feeling of dread consumes me. My husband has been discussing ObamaCare, which leaves me frustrated and depressed, with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I do not want ObamaCare, not for me or my family. Most people know that I don’t subscribe to mainstream medicine anyway, and I certainly don’t want to be fined for opting out of what I consider to be terrible medical practices (mandatory immunizations, radiation therapy, drugs, drugs, drugs, and more drugs, etc.) Now my husband is going on about microchips. At this point, I don’t have enough information to discern whether they will actually become mandatory. I will refrain from commenting, therefore. I will only suggest that, along with me, my fellow US citizens research the subject for themselves.

I had meant to wax poetic about song writing. Obviously, I need to vent my frustrations in some way, and I’ve always wanted to write songs. Yes, that’s right; I’ve wanted to, yet haven’t actually done so. I have passed the last sixteen years bearing children (my darling flesh and blood offspring) and novels (the offspring produced by the marriage of my mind with paper).

Throughout my adulthood, I’ve cast aside poetry. I think about it a lot, though. When I listen to David Gray albums, I suddenly realize that many of his song lyrics are written in trochees. Trochees carry the lines, I think, and I file this information away for future use. They add force. When I listen to El Poder del Norte, it occurs to me that some of these Mexican songs are written in traditional Spanish syllabic lines of eleven or seven. My childhood favorite, Bob Dylan, writes his songs in iambs and trochees, with various metrical lengths (I’m certain he doesn’t stick merely to iambs and trochees, either, but the songs I’m thinking of do).

In any case, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m in a waiting period in my life, which may become a time for gathering information. The world is getting to be a dark place, but then it is night in the Southwest, and I’m tired. And I’ve just thought of a Dylan song with a mix of metrical patterns:

Mama, take this badge off of me (trochaic trimeter w/ anapest at end)
I can’t use it anymore. (trochaic trimeter)
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see (iambic pentameter)
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door. (iambs and dactyls)

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore.
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.

I know–all this talk of dactyls et al is foreign to many of you. It’s just another skill set that poets of old had, which is lost to many modern day poets due to a lack of interest in meter. Meter is music! Bob Dylan, despite the example given, is a modern poet well-versed in meter (pun intended). All song writers ought to be as well.



  1. I'm just hoping the new "reforms" will be as inefficient as most government projects 🙂 I also avoid mainstream medicine whenever possible–it has its good points, but I think one of our country's biggest problems is our reliance on it. I'll avoid further ranting and just say, great post on song lyrics 🙂

  2. There are more and more people out there who don't rely on mainstream medicine.

    Thanks for stopping by. Are you a metric poetry person? Most people into history also like old fashioned meter.

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