5.3 A Second Example from a Song I Wrote

Despite the intricacies of “Tell Apocalypse, ‘Hello’,” I think I like the lyrics for my song, “Magi, Sailors” (from Saints & Children’s Of Seasons, Of Souls album) better.

Turn shoulder to the sunrise
Leave evening on your left
When sun rejoins horizon
Closed eyes seek rest
Toward the daybreak wander winsome
Shadow cast by starry guides
Glides across the ground beside you
Till dawning hides
Days broken at the sunrise
Repaired or patched are left
To landlock their horizon
Till lying rests
Standard lines lead straight to heaven
Metaphor for mortal minds
In that desert grow mirages
To mollify
The East is marked by sunrise
On maps the West by left
The Dipper shows us True North
But I the rest
Cannot see what they depend on
Magi, sailors know the sky
Locates them in space and time though
I’m naught but blind.

The lines of the first two verses end on the same words, which creates a special link between the verses. The first lines end on “sunrise,” the second on “left,” the third on “horizon,” and the fourth on “rest(s).” Even the bridge follows suit. Except the third line, which ends with “North.” Why did I break the pattern?

The choruses of “Magi, Sailors” have a loose rhyme pattern, but there are internal rhymes—or perhaps “echoes”—that link the lines together more tightly. I don’t know if they were purposeful on my part—it’s been a while since I wrote the song—but they are an example of something I enjoy about doing art: it’s always rewarding to discover things in what you create that increase its interest or beauty beyond what you had at first intended.

The text of "Magi, Sailors," with links marked in green.

One inter-line link that was deliberate is the use of “winsome.” I choose it both because of the alliteration with “wander,” and because I liked the image of someone wandering winsomely through a desert at night. In my accent, however, “winsome” is pronounced like the phrase, “when some.” Therefore, if you heard the lyrics sung, you’d think I said, “Toward the daybreak wander, when some shadow cast by starry guide. . . .” Thus, the word that ends the first line sounds like it belongs with the second line. This is one of my favorite things to do in lyrics.

Notice finally the quasi-hidden rhyme between the final lines of each chorus:

Till dawning hides
. . .
To mollify
. . .
I’m naught but blind.

The last line there is kind of cheesy, but it was the best I could do given that (a) I needed to fit the pattern and (b) I needed to say that I can’t see what others see in the stars. The “pattern” I needed to fit was the same as I used to end the choruses of “Tell Apocalypse, ‘Hello’,” and has to do with what poets call “assonance” (a repetition of vowel sounds rather than of vowels and consonants). The assonance occurs not only in the final syllable of each line (“hides,” “-fy,” and “blind”) but also in the third-from-last syllable in each line (“dawn-,” “mol-,” and “naught”).

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Featured image by skeeze.

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