Vertigo

  • Creator
    Discussion
  • #2511

    Rachel Kaufmann
    Participant

    This piece was written for the tune to “Believe Me if All These Endearing Young Charms…” Any thoughts?

    If Truth has fallen from it’s place within the human soul,

    How dark the night that falls anon. How then shall man be whole?

    As storm and tumult, vertigo, as day bereft of sun,

    So is man’s life without his God. Hopeless, alas, undone.

    /

    With ever restless intellect, he plumbs the depths of doubt.

    Wanders in darkness all alone, yes, wanders lone, without.

    Alone, alone ,no Northern Star, no compass, map, nor guide.

    A hopeless, friendless wander. No One to walk beside.

    /

    To turn from God is not to cease to bear His image here.

    Without Him, woe betide that soul, to know is then to fear.

    Who suffers without hope or aim, his all for nothing gives.

    To live a life that’s meaningless, ’tis death while yet one lives.

    /

    For Thou O Lord made man to live, and being find in Thee,

    Tho questions come and doubts arise, tho deep the darkness be,

    Yet trusting may we turn to Thee, who made both heart and soul.

    Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Light. In Thee man is made whole.

  • Author
    Replies
  • #2556

    I am not familiar with the tune that you refer to, so I most likely cannot accurately critique your poem. But as I read it, I have a few thoughts I will pass on.

    The meter… A theme has to be very clearly and compellingly developed to really hold the attention of most hymn singers through 14 syllables in a single line. Even pentameter, which is my personal preference for writing, is long for singing.

    The theme… the darkness, despair, turmoil, meaninglessness… that results from a rejection of truth, is a powerful theme. It is suited to a long and ponderous meter, yet to be singable has to be kept free flowing and alive. I love writing (or trying to write) about these deep questions; I am not the poet for writing about sad goodbyes and blue skies and flowers in springtime. But the difficult trick is to capture these deep themes in easy words.

    I would probably continue to refine with a view toward eliminating more of the trite expressions (alas, anon, vertigo, woe betide, yes, lone) and redundancies (lone, alone, hopeless, without, friendless, no one). And possibly consider changing the metrical arrangement, unless of course you want it to simply live as a poem instead of a song.

    There’s plenty of good material here; the key is going to be the polishing.

  • #2557

    Thanks for the advice.

    I am rather a word enthusiast and tend to prefer songs that have pretty long phrases and plenty of big words in them (as long as they are actually saying something of substance) so thanks for pointing out the fact that not everyone feels quite the same way. I will bear it in mind!

  • #2566

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator

    Rachel, I really like the depth of expression that I see here. It’s a very meditative piece and speaks to some of the timeless human questions.

    That being said, I agree with James that there’s a lot of material here for a song. Consider that people will be singing it, so some of their attention will go to the music. And also, when singing, you can’t turn back and reread something, since the song goes on. So you need to write texts that, even if they are profound, can be grasped fairly well on one read through. That requires simpler phrasing and not as many uncommon words.

  • #2573

    Does this look any better as song material? I rearranged the meter to 8/6, cut out the verse which contained most of the repetative bits, and did a bit of rewording.

    1: If Truth has fallen from it’s place

    Within the human soul,

    How dark the night that falls as well.

    How then shall man be whole?

    As storm and tumult, vertigo,

    As day bereft of sun,

    So is man’s life without his God.

    Hopeless, alas, undone.

    /

    2: To turn from God is not to cease

    To bear His image here.

    Without Him woe betide that soul;

    To know is then to fear.

    Who suffers without hope or aim,

    His all for nothing gives.

    To live a life that’s meaningless,

    Is death while yet one lives.

    /

    3: For Thou O Lord made man to live,

    And being find in Thee.

    Tho questions come and doubts arise,

    Tho deep the darkness be,

    Yet trusting may we turn to Thee

    Who made both heart and soul.

    Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Light.

    In Thee man is made whole.

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