Saturday, March 16, 2013

365 Poems, #6, and your Saturday Morning Feel-Good Song.

Hot Actress: January Jones
Poems worth reading. And worth thinking about.  Here's today's!

Life Is Fine!
Langston Hughes

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine! 


 I actually read this poem about 5 years ago, back when I would post on a blog called Babies! Babies! Pets! Pets! that is now defunct. And then I forgot about it until today when I went to get the poem and thought "Langston Hughes" and there it was. 

 This poem, I think, may have inspired this song: 

 Which is a song I also love, and both have the same feeling to them: that as bad as things can seem, they maybe aren't that bad, yet, and so keep on going. 

 What caught me today about Hughes' poem, though, was that on reading it again, it's not necessarily a jubilant refrain, there, at the end. It could be taken as the speaker trying to convince himself that life is fine! Or it could be sarcastic. Because the last stanza seems to say the only reason he's going on is out of spite. 

But even with that, here's a thought: If you fake laugh long enough, you start real laughing. It's true. I've tried it several times. So if you fake live long enough, will you start to real live? 

 This, I think, might be a poem worth memorizing. I know lots of songs by memory, but almost no poems by memory. I might like to memorize this one, because almost any interpretation of it can come out positive, and you can't say that about everything.

And, speaking of positives, here is your Saturday Morning Feel-Good Song!


Suitable for:

-- Moot Court judging, which is what I will be doing today.

-- Closing your eyes and pretending it is not still snowing in March.

-- Eating pizza. (Hot only)


Andrew Leon said...

I am no good, really, with memorizing poetry. Even poetry I want to memorize. Like, I used to want to have the memorized the poem about the rings (back when I was in high school), but I would never remember it except for just after I memorized it, and, then, the next day it would be gone.

I've never really understood why I could do things like, say, memorize lines for a play (although I'm not one of those people that knows all the lines from every play I've ever been in (in fact, I remember none of the lines from any play I've ever been in)) but not keep remembered poetry.

Briane P said...

It's probably because there's no compelling reason to memorize a poem. We remember songs because of the music and the repetition. We remember lines in a play because we had to perform them.

What plays were you in?

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I was in a drama group that traveled around doing skits and stuff. I was in a play about Joan of Arc (I've forgotten the name of it). I was in a play written by another student. It was the first student written play the school ever did. I don't remember the name of it, either. I was in a bunch of stuff at church, but I don't remember the names of any of those, either.
Yeah, what good am I?

I also had a partner during high school that I performed Abbott and Costello skits with. We did that for a couple of years. I do still know "Who's On First" and parts of "Costello's Farm."

[I responded to your comment on my blog, by the way.]

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