5.2 An Example from a Song I Wrote

I don’t have Lewis’ talent, but I do find linking lines together in ways that are not just rhyming their ends, to be helpful in writing lyrics. Very often, for example, I’ll like a particular word that I used in one verse, and decide to use it at the same place in all the others. The following are the lyrics for a song I wrote entitled—rather dramatically—“Tell Apocalypse, ‘Hello’.”

Every time you say it’s over
Winter’s memory now.
Summer, from this moment forward
Losing ground
The causal web, marionette, and providence
That no distance can shatter
The print you leave upon each leaf and blade of grass
And the breath you take away from them
Will find a way to seal it all inside the past
Tell Apocalypse “hello” again.
Ever since, it’s all been settled
Future’s memory now.
Morning, but no time to meddle
Painted frown
The causal web, marionette, and providence
That no distance can shatter
The print it leaves upon each soul the potter cast
So the breath He gave He takes again
Eternally seal destiny before the past
Put Apocalypse on hold till then
Every stage it’s still uncertain
Faith is memory now
Hope for a tear in the curtain
Love and bow

This song has a mildly-unusual structure in that instead of having a single bridge toward the end of the song, it has a bridge between the first two verses and first two choruses, and ends on a verse. I can’t say this is due to my lyrical creativity, however, since the lyrics ended up this way because I wrote them to fit music I had already written.

Likewise, the rhyme scheme for the verses is not very creative, being basically ABAB. I am proud of a few things, however.

First, I was able to make the rhyme scheme work even though the melody only allowed three syllables for the last line of each verse. Second, I was able to start each verse with the word “Ever(y),” and end the second line of each verse with “memory now.” Third, the two choruses use “print” and “leave” in the first line, “breath” and “take” in the second line, “seal” in the third line, and “Apocalypse” in the fourth. Fourth, the final lines of the chorus not only end with the same vowel sound (“-gain” and “then”) but also use the same vowel sound in the third-from-last syllable (“-lo” and “hold”).

So, I established a pattern in the first verse that I then attempted to imitate in the second and third verses, and I established a pattern in the first chorus that I attempted to follow in the second. In doing this, I deliberately limited the choices available to me . But, this is extremely helpful, because it turns an infinite task into a manageable one.

There are even more links of rhyme, assonance, or meaning crisscrossing the lyrics, but I’ll leave them to you to discover.

The text of "Tell Apocalypse, Hello," with internal links marked.

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Featured image by John Hult

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