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Complex metaphors in lyrics?

CapriUni 14 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM
Sorcha 14 Jun 02 - 04:31 PM
mousethief 14 Jun 02 - 05:01 PM
Sorcha 14 Jun 02 - 05:06 PM
Mudlark 14 Jun 02 - 05:49 PM
Amos 14 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jun 02 - 08:30 PM
CapriUni 14 Jun 02 - 09:28 PM
Amos 15 Jun 02 - 12:57 AM
Jack the Sailor 15 Jun 02 - 01:26 AM
Jack the Sailor 15 Jun 02 - 01:30 AM
CapriUni 15 Jun 02 - 01:51 AM
Mr Red 15 Jun 02 - 05:02 AM
CapriUni 15 Jun 02 - 10:03 AM
Mac Tattie 15 Jun 02 - 12:57 PM
Don Firth 15 Jun 02 - 01:15 PM
Amergin 15 Jun 02 - 01:22 PM
Jack the Sailor 15 Jun 02 - 02:53 PM
Jack the Sailor 15 Jun 02 - 03:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jun 02 - 05:14 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Jun 02 - 10:17 PM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 12:55 AM
Jack the Sailor 16 Jun 02 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,fred miller 16 Jun 02 - 09:57 AM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 11:04 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jun 02 - 01:53 PM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 02:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jun 02 - 02:19 PM
Nigel Parsons 16 Jun 02 - 02:47 PM
Jack the Sailor 16 Jun 02 - 03:52 PM
Amos 16 Jun 02 - 03:59 PM
Jack the Sailor 16 Jun 02 - 05:09 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM
The Pooka 16 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jun 02 - 06:44 PM
Jack the Sailor 16 Jun 02 - 07:04 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jun 02 - 08:00 PM
Mr Red 16 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jun 02 - 08:17 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Jun 02 - 08:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jun 02 - 08:34 PM
The Pooka 16 Jun 02 - 09:14 PM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 10:39 PM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 10:44 PM
pavane 17 Jun 02 - 10:27 AM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 10:55 AM
Jack the Sailor 17 Jun 02 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Lynn 17 Jun 02 - 12:38 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 12:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jun 02 - 02:29 PM
Art Thieme 17 Jun 02 - 02:55 PM
Art Thieme 17 Jun 02 - 03:02 PM
Art Thieme 17 Jun 02 - 03:14 PM
SharonA 17 Jun 02 - 03:39 PM
Jack the Sailor 17 Jun 02 - 04:16 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 04:52 PM
CapriUni 17 Jun 02 - 04:57 PM
Mr Red 17 Jun 02 - 05:03 PM
Jack the Sailor 17 Jun 02 - 05:49 PM
Lynn 17 Jun 02 - 10:43 PM
Jack the Sailor 17 Jun 02 - 11:33 PM
CarolC 18 Jun 02 - 12:14 AM
pavane 18 Jun 02 - 02:57 AM
pavane 18 Jun 02 - 03:00 AM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 18 Jun 02 - 12:20 PM
pavane 18 Jun 02 - 01:22 PM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,fred Miller 29 Jun 02 - 08:55 AM
CapriUni 29 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 02 Jul 02 - 09:47 AM
CapriUni 02 Jul 02 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,AtoZeka 13 Mar 11 - 12:29 AM
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Subject: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM

This year, I have decided to try and stretch my brain, and develop some new synapses in the old grey matter, by teaching myself to write songs. I'm already adept at poetry, particularly free verse, but writing an arangement of words that fit a pattern of liguistic logic and musical logic is a special skill. Back in Januaury, I started a thread here basically asking for any advice that came off the top of Catters' heads.

I'm starting a new thread now, rather than refreshing that one, because a particular piece of Fortunato's advice in that thread has got me thinking in a new direction.

For those who don't like to hop back and forth between links, the gist of his advice was: "Pick one metaphor and stick with it."

So my question is:

What about complex metaphors? To use a mathematical model:

X=Z, Y=Z, so X=Y

Is that one metaphor, or 2 (Z=X, Z=Y)? Are there some big ideas that you simply cannot express through song?

Hoping this leads to an interesting discussion....


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 04:31 PM

That is a logical syllogism, Capri. Not really a metaphor. Metaphor is saying something is something it is not. Such as an egg is chicken. A woman is a flower....not sure how syllogistics would work with double metaphors.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 05:01 PM

Very complex metaphor song (skip down to the song lyrics before you read the very florid and somewhat irrelevant prefatory material):

http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/data1/sy/jch/alwords/als113.htm

Alex


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 05:06 PM

(aside--usually "complex metaphors" bypass me totally and seem like gibberish.) Probably just me.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Mudlark
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 05:49 PM

My gut reaction is that you are thinking about it too much...your messages are always articulate and delivered with feeling...why not just jump in with a nice original tune in mind, and see what happens?

Having said that, I've always liked the metaphors in the jazz tune Midnight Sun (Your lips were like a red and ruby chalice, warmer than the summer sun...The clouds were like an alabaster palace, rising to a snowy height, each star its own aurora borealis...etc.) It's a simple melody, just a descending scale...

BTW, Alex...I've never heard Antarctica but the lyrics are great.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 07:43 PM

Her thoughts, like a mountain
Stood lonely and lofty
Her eyes like a mirror, and her hair like a shawl
That is worn by a mourner, who steals away softly
From those who would have him mourn nothing at all

Townes van Zandt got away with it, and not for the first time, but it requires a keen sense not only of words, but of their evocations, so that the imagery, the extended analogies, and the words themselves -- three different sets of weavings cross connected -- do not tear or explode or cause dissonance among them.

A


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 08:30 PM

When you say something is like something else you aren't using a metaphor, but a simile. For a metaphor you leave out the "like" or its equivalent. That sounds like a pedantic distinction, but it has the effect often of making it more possible to extend and elaborate the image, and of giving it a more vivid quality.

The most effective use of this kind of imagery I think is where the image is in the foreground, and the metaphorical implication is in the background, maybe to be picked up later. That's the case with, for example The Mary Ellen Carter, or that song Antarctica in mousethief's link.

I think that mostly in that kind of song, it is the story and the picture that the writer is focussed on, rather than the idea that it might have some other metaphorical meaning.

I always like what Tolkien wrote about allegory, commenting on people who tried to treat The Lord of the Rings as allegorical: "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations...I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 09:28 PM

Sorcha: Metaphor is saying something is something it is not. Such as an egg is chicken. A woman is a flower....not sure how syllogistics would work with double metaphors.

Or X is Y? ;-)

As for complex metaphors, they probably are gibberish... but I'm an old English Major -- I'm fluent in gibber! ;-)

Okay, let me see if I can put the complex metaphor that's going 'round in my head into a form that can survive outside my head.

A song is insubstantial. When it is past, it leaves no trace. But when it is good, it is the sharpest sword that can bring down the mighty.

Love seems as insubstantial as a song, as dreamlike as a melody, and as fleeting. But when it is good, it is a deep and strong mountain cave where we can take shelter, and sing.

My love is a song, you are the earthly singer from whom this ethereal song rises.

(that's not quite right, but it's getting closer).

Mudlark: I may over intellectualize, but at least it led to a link with that wonderful Antarctica song, and that song snip by Townes von Zandt (love the line/s: "a mourner, who steals away softly / From those who would have him mourn nothing at all.")

Besides, I'd been mostly posting to BS threads, lately, so I thought I'd even the balance a little bit by writing a music thread. :-)


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 12:57 AM

Glad you did, Capri.

The precedent that comes at once to mind is Waly, Waly, where love is like a tree which breaks when you lean on it, or lie a ship loaded deep as deep can be; or The Rose, wherein love is a flower, and you its only seed -- both beautiful and timeless in their different ways, no?

I am aware of the strict difference between simile and metaphor but I wasna gonna quibble for the purposes of your question.

A


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 01:26 AM

CapriUni

Wracking my brain for a few minutes. I think I have created an example for you.

Her cheeks were rosy
Her tears the dew.

It is not saying that her cheeks are roses til the second line. but saying that her cheeks are the colour of roses sets that up. There is no metaphor til the second line when it then becomes a double metaphor because the second metaphor cannot stand on its own.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 01:30 AM

I don't think the complex metaphor will work well without cliches. and indeed it is a common practice in songwriting to extend metaphors to avoid cliche. eg love's petal instead of saying explicitly that love is a flower.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 01:51 AM

I'm glad you're glad, Amos!

Actually, I was thinking of a version of "Waly, Waly" ("The water is wide") with the lines:

Love is gentle, and love is kind --
just like a jewel when first it's new.
But love grows old, and waxes cold,
and fades away, like morning dew.

Now, the romance may fade (thank goodness -- that whole thing is exhausting!). But if her love really is someone she'd trust enough to share rowing duties, I don't think the love will fade quite so quickly... but so many people think love and romance are the same thing.

The bit about the strength of songs comes from an outrageous statement I read in a book about how music affects the brain, that complex music is only 3,000 years old.  (Maybe the first tangible <i>evidence</i> of complex music is only that old, but early hominids might have been singing nine part rounds since they climbed down from the trees -- a song doesn't leave any tangible evidence behind for archeologists to find millennia later)
Anyway, it occurred to me that the equating of imortance or strength with lasting evidence was akin to equating romance with love -- all surface judgements.

Anyway, I'm fading fast....


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 05:02 AM

What about the old mathematical trick of "reducto ad absurdum"
In order to prove a premise you state the opposite eg X=fish, fish=pisces pisces=astrology etc and you end up with water=wine, and state "this is absurd therefore X does not = fish.
Used in a comic context you can rubbish a whole political stance and you can stop short of the final conclusion for an even funnier joke.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 10:03 AM

Jack --

I don't really think that

Her cheeks were rosy,
her tears were dew

is a complex metaphor, but rather, an extended one: Taking one image (of a rose in a garden) and layering as many details over it as possible, making that one metaphor stronger. Just as roses are wet with dew, her cheeks were wet with tears, therefore, her cheeks were like roses in more ways than just their color -- and you could extend that metaphor even further by saying something like her first blush of love was a rose bud opening, and after she is heartbroken, and her cheeks lose their color, the rose that faded and dropped from the vine (why do we always hear about the rose on the vine in song, but not rose on the bush? ;-)).

What I'm talking about is layering different images together in a song -- things that don't ordinarily fit together (the way roses and dew do) -- a bit like the five blind wisemen describing an elephant: It's a rope, a tree, a fan, a snake, and a wall.

Like elephants, some ideas are too big to fit a single metaphor. But can those ideas be put into a song, where language is kept to its bare bone minimum (Songs must say things even more succinctly than poems), without thouroughly confusing the listener?

Are there some ideas that just cannot be sung about?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Mac Tattie
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 12:57 PM

Her hair was like the sea, all waves and little creatures. Her teeth were like the stars, they came out at night. Anon. cheers.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 01:15 PM

I worry about the word "complex." A whole string of metaphors can actually sound pretty stupid unless it's handled carefully. One good metaphor sticks in the mind, whereas a whole bunch can get bewildering ("What's this doofus trying to say?").

Read a lot if good poetry.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Amergin
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 01:22 PM

Well...you have to know what you are doing....too many times a poet tries to make himself sound rather intellectual...but making himself look like an idiot...at least to me....Bob dylan is one example...while he wrote many good songs...he wrote several that because he was trying to sound intellectual...sound rather stupid...

Like Pete Seeger once said...any idiot can write a complex song...but it takes a genius to write a simple song....


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 02:53 PM

I now see what you want. My problem with understanding your point is with your model.

You are not looking for "X=Z, Y=Z, so X=Y" An extended metaphor as you call it relates X and Y to Z as I have done. Dew is not necessarily flower related, but it is never face related. You need the flower to put dew on the face.

You are perhaps looking for X+Y+Z= Big Idea.

I think what you get is X+Y+Z = Confusion

The example you have mentioned

Love is gentle, and love is kind --
just like a jewel when first it's new.
But love grows old, and waxes cold,
and fades away, like morning dew.

Is a horrible example of MIXED metaphors. First love is a person, then a jewel, then what? a combination of the moon and a candle? (shouldn't it be wanes colder?) Then something that fades away, Which dew does not. Unless there is a metaphor making dew equal to light or colour. Each thing is only tangently related to the other and even then each description of love is at best questionable.

The author of this piece is forgiven because it is so emotional and pretty when sung. Emotion is the key word here. The author has layered a number of pretty mental pictures together to create emotions of longing, regret and confusion. The metaphors are pretty but uncomfortable when strung togethjer. One is actually relieved to get back to the boat. The only ideas in the song are that "love is difficult and I want to get away" These are very simple ideas.

I'm not sure what you mean by big ideas but, In answer to your question, Mixed metaphors (I'm using the term mixed because that is how my teachers defined what you are describing) are a very poor way to communicate complex ideas. They just add confusion and uncertainty.

For a good song which communicates a lot of information and complexity see "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan. It criticize racism, civil rights and the justice system without actually saying there are problems. The song is pretty much free of metaphor. The information and ideas are carried in the narrative. the emotion carried in the choice of words and how Dylan sings them.

For a song communicating ONE BIG idea see "The Times they are a Changing" Also by Dylan with just the one big metaphor of the "floodwaters of change"

If you want to communicate a Big Idea. Keep the song simple and focused.

If you want flowery language (please pardon the metaphor) then you may throw in lots of metaphors. But then clarity is next to impossible.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 03:07 PM

CapriUni

This is a good mental exercise but I think you are making it to complex. In fact I completly disagree with this statement.

"Like elephants, some ideas are too big to fit a single metaphor. But can those ideas be put into a song, where language is kept to its bare bone minimum (Songs must say things even more succinctly than poems), without thouroughly confusing the listener?"

Ideas buy their definition, can be stated succinctly. What a song does is wrap emotion around the idea. I say. Show me an idea too big for a song and I'll show you a poorly formulated idea. Which makes the answer to the question below a simple.."No"

Are there some ideas that just cannot be sung about?

I actually think any of us would find it difficult to find an idea that hasn't been sung about and added to popular culture in that way. In fact when a new idea is found and executed well in song it often has enough novelty to become a hit.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 05:14 PM

"Where love is like a tree which breaks when you lean on it" - I've never understood it that way. It's the lover who turns out to be unreliable when push comes to shove, rather than love as such.

That may sound like a quibble, but I think the distinction is actually crucial to the song, which isn't about being miserable but rather about being betrayed and abandoned.

I think the general consensus about the wise men describing an elephant is that they didn't come up with a very helpful description. Their problem was that they got it completely the wrong way around - they didn't start with an idea of the elephant as a whole, and then pick out the various ways in which it was like different things; nor did they bring together the various similarities they identified, and build up an overall picture; what they did was grab at some random similarity, and then proceed to insist that that was an adequate account of a creature that was much more complicated.

The point is that, if you start with a real thing (such an elephant, or a story, or a vivid and real image), and then tease away at it, on its own terms, you can learn from it things that are relevant and true about other matters. "Applicable" as Tolkien said.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 10:17 PM

An old, old definition from the OED, which I like: "A metaphor is an alteration of a woorde from the proper and naturall meanynge, to that whiche is not proper, and yet agreeth thereunto, by some lykeness that appeareth to be in it." T. Wilson, 1553.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 12:55 AM

Dicho -- I like that definition, too... That phrase: "and yet agreeth thereunto" gets to the sense of quality, which is beyond words, and yet so important.

Jack: Speaking of archaic language: "Waxing", in the old days, simply meant to become more of something -- didn't just refer to the moon. So to say something "waxes cold" isn't equating it with the moon, it's just saying "grows colder". And dew may not fade, but "evaporate" doesn't really scan with the line.

But I have to agree with you about the kind jewel line... jewels are hard and cold, not kind.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 05:31 AM

I really don't think waxes cold is a proper use of the word. The lack of heat gets lager. Does a beer stein wax empty? I also don't think the song is all that archaic. Doesn't seem to be. Seems to me the author was just working very hard to "be" poetic, and conversely not trying to actually communicate.

Interestingly enough the version of the song in one of my book by Gavin Ralston is a little less uncomfortable. "Carries colder" is still abit odd but it sings better and is not as ambiguous.

Oh love it is gentle, and love is kind
The sweetest flower, when first is new
But love grows older and carries colder
And fades away like the morning dew

But these are quibbles and are off the point. I was hoping to see some discussion about there being no idea to big for a song.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,fred miller
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 09:57 AM

I was referred to this discussion by someone on a guitarnotes songwriting thread. interesting. for extended metaphors check out gogol's parodies of the homeric rambling metaphor in Dead Souls. The object of comparison takes on a life of its own beyond any direct intent to describe. As Nabokov commented, it's one thing to say the mist is like a veil, another to say the mist is like the veil of a bride who's very fat and her sister is even fatter. I may be in error, but prefer to think of simile as a particular subspecies of metaphor, a way in which metaphor is formally introduced, and metaphor as the right word when discussing comparisons in general, including similes. I like the way John Hiatte mixes a metaphor, as in "i ain't no porcupine, take off your kid gloves". Are porcupines typically handled with kid gloves? a complex metaphor, I think, is a major central comparison which is sustained, as in a story line, but which lends itself to other particular points of comparison along the way, so that a pattern of likenesses is developed. And so then a metaphor might be structured in various ways. One old literary formula that has an enduring appeal is when A knows b, b knows C, and A recognizes C through oblivious little b, though b doesn't quite get it. It's sometimes a buddy-buddy appeal to one's audience. in van gogh's starry starry night, my pal Vincent and I see the coiling cosmic sky above the oblivious little sleeping town. But in the Mona Lisa, Leonardo plays the part of little b. We see her omnicient smile and recognise a higher plane of knowlege on her part, even though the way we see it is through the dutiful reportage of leo, who only understands the surface appearances. So the situation of a portrait itself takes on metaphorical implications.In the socratic dialogues, plato is dutiful journalistic b, while socrates seems wiser and less certain that rationality accounts for everything that matters. some thoughts. hi.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 11:04 AM

hi, fred miller! Welcome to the 'Cat!

:::Wow! my wierd musings started a discussion that's being referred to in 'outside' forums in less than 24 hours?! I'm humbled (better not put my foot in my mouth!).:::

I think your A-->b, b-->C, A-->C formula is what I was trying to get to above, with the five wizemen and the elephant analogy. The wisemen may have failed, because, as McGrath said: they didn't start with an idea of the elephant as a whole, but if none of them had ever seen or heard of an elephant that idea didn't exist for them or for the magistrate to whom they were reporting their findings.

To insert them into your formula, they're the b in the equation. The storyteller and listener are A and C, though, and the wisemen and the foolish magistrate are an allegory (a metaphor in narrative form) for pigheadly insisting that your perceptions of the world are the absolute truth. Before Van Gogh put brush to canvas he knew the truth about the swirling stars that you may not have -- until you view that painting and get a chance to share that view.

It's the same way with the storyteller (or songwriter) and the audience. The storyteller knows that no matter how much faith we put in the idea that what we experience is hard and fast reality, our senses can decieve us, and the more 'expert' we are, the more likely we are to be fooled, and lead us far, far astray. Saying that outright to passersby on the street would get that storytellier locked up in a loony bin, so she draws on the poor, oblivious wisemen as a common acquaintance.

The different mixed metaphors in a song or story may not fit together when they stand on their own, but they never do sand on their own, really, the storyteller and audience is always there, and their it's their relationship that forms a context that links all the 'mixed' metaphors on some common ground (Which may be why the metaphors in "Waly, Waly" don't jar as much when sung as when read off the page).

To use your expansion of metaphor to include symmatry, let me try to explain the idea for the song that I was talking about above again:

A song is like X, Love is like X, Love is a Song. Therefore Love is a Song and X.

Now, saying that Love is a Song and X right off the bat does make it a mixed metaphor. But is it still a mixed metaphor if we include that middle link that puts it in a new context? Or does Song + X = one complex metaphor (would that be a meta-metaphor)?

I just have to find just the right metaphor to put in X's spot...


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 01:53 PM

"Waxes cold," as waxes cauld, is in a version of "Waly, Waly" published in 1733.
See Child 204 in Bronson, p. 362, 2nd verse:

Waly, waly, gin love is bonny,
A little while when it is new;
But when it's auld, it waxes cauld,
And wears away, like Morning Dew.

Wax means to grow, or to become, or to increase. Weaxan is the Old English, the word is hoary with age and saddled with much use.

I also like verse 4:
When cockle-shells turn siller Bells,
And muscles grow on ev'ry Tree;
When Frost and Snaw shall warm us a',
Then shall my love prove true to me.

These verses read well, as well as sing well, and through exaggeration leave the reader with a smile.
When metaphors are stretched too far, they tend to lose effect on second thought, and the intent is lost.

The line about dew fading is in a 1725 version, I think. The verses above are close to those in Waly, Waly 2 in the DT.

Gee, folks, my eyes started to glaze over at the higher math and profundities in your posts. Something simple is the best way for A to reach C.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 02:14 PM

Something simple is the best way for A to reach C.

Or a least to use real language instead of this algebra nonsense! ;-)

When I've worked out that lyric I'm wrestling with, I'll post it... then we can have something real to discuss.

In the meantime, what are some other fave-rave metaphors you find in songs?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 02:19 PM

Oh love it is teasing and love is pleasing Gay as a jewel, when first it's new; But as it grows older then love grows colder And fades away like the morning dew.

(Which isn't quite how the DT has it, but it's the way it seems sung mostly.)


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 02:47 PM

Jack The Sailor: No! a glass doesn't "Wax empty", but I believe that love can "Wax cold" (i.e. grow cold). Whereas the glass's contents would wane, Wax Cold seems acceptable. Describing ones reaction to the weather, it is accepted usage to say I'm getting cold, or getting colder.
By the same system, whilst it is right to say that leaving the door open of a heated house 'lets the warmth/heat out', it is also common to say that someone is 'letting the cold in'. The transfer of heat (from a scientific point of view) is always from a 'hotter' to a 'colder' body. But that is not always the apparent effect.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 03:52 PM

Nigel, Your point is well taken. With 2002 meaning of hot and cold (thermodynamics if you will) it is an improper use of the word. But, I will concede to Dicho that in 1733 it was very probably correct. I'll sing the more modern version. Sorry for being technical, but "waxing" is more difficult to sing and rather jarring and "carries" fits in better with the big metaphor of the boat crossing the river.

I also would like to recind any references to the author of "Waly Waly" it seems that there are near as many versions as singers, and that the words have been reworked many times. But the big idea of the song is still very simple.

I recently attended the songwriter's seminar at Kerrville Folk music festival. One of the things I learned was to "headline" a song. What would be a simple headline to describe the point story? What is the "big idea" of the song. If you do this for a while you see that pretty much any lyric can be summarized by a headline.

e.g. Hey Jude: "I know you are hurting Julian but I'm there for you"

Louie Louie: "Jamacian man speaks of missing his girl"

Waly Waly: "Love is difficult, maybe two people pulling together can get through it."

Hurricane: "Hurricane Carter's unfair treatment reflects badly on society."

As you pointed out at the start of this CapriUni, one doesn't have a lot of words to work with in a song. Before audience boredom kicks in, you have to tell your story or make your point. Metaphor, Simile, Allegory, all of those things we have spoken about are just a means to that end. Simple metaphors are clearer, try not to confuse.

I look forward to seeing your lyric when completed. But I suspect a much better lyric will come from you honestly saying what you feel about love.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 03:59 PM

Waxing and waning are perfectly good general verbs which have been in use for 400 years at a guess.

When love wanes, you can say, poetically that it is "growing" cold even though it isn't growing but shirnking (different sense of the word, i know) and you can likewise say poetically that it is waxing cold, which should not be confused with f***ing cold, a different construct altogether.

A


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 05:09 PM

Amos, If those words survive it will be from the fine efforts of men like you. The certianly seem to have passed from general usage here in North America, except when related to the moon.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 05:37 PM

Unfortunately, the word wax in the sense discussed here is no longer in common usage. Good English is passé. Barbarous slang is prevalent, e. g., to "wax" an opponent.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM

Actually, in the 1992 version of The American Heritage Dictionary, the first definition of Wax2 (the verb, not the oily stuff) is: "To increase gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity". The moon waxing is given as the second definition, and the third definition is: "To grow or become as specified" and the example given is a quote from John Simon: "could afford . . . to wax sentimental over their heritage."

So, it's not that an archaic a meaning...

Okay -- a headline for my song-to-be? How about:

"Songs and Love are both stronger than they appear."


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: The Pooka
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 06:20 PM

Amergin (15 June 1:22 pm) - Huh? Bobby Zimmerman (aka God) sometimes pseudo-intellectual? Why, Perish the thought!

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Oh, who among them do they think could bury you?
With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who among them do they think could carry you?
Sad eyed lady of the lowlands, Where the sad eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or sad eyed lady, should I wait?

Now I ask you: what metaphor & simile could be more intellectual that that? / Hmmph?? Oh. / Nevermind. :)

Mac Tattie (15 June 12:57 pm)- LOL!!

The very first time that I rolled in beside her
Her bones were as sharp as the teeth of a saw
And her skin was as cold as a frog on the mountain
And not a sound tooth in her whole underjaw.

--Spoken by Liam Clancy on some album or other; intellectual author unknown (to me)


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 06:44 PM

Hey now! I will have to look for the rest of that Liam Clancy song. Are you certain that the author was intellectual?
At one time I had a copy of Lincoln's Gettysburg address, with corrections marked on it as if it were a composition submitted in English class. I think Lincoln got C-. My warehouse eyes? Mercury mouth? How would that teach have handled those??


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 07:04 PM

I like the Headline CU You are on the way to a great song.

Pooka Pooka What was poor Bobby smokin'?

I remember Liam Clancy speaking that rhyme on an old Tape I had. Was it the introduction to The Cobbler?

CapriUni, Yeah its in the dictionary but when is the last time you heard it in a sentence? I've heard it a couple of times in my life and always thought cool.... they're not talking about the moon. Alas, I really believe it is a dying word. But maybe we could change that. If everyone on the Mudcat used it once a week, in public for a year. I bet it would come back into usage. Maybe even included in an add slogan.

T.D. Waterhouse waxes your investment

or Are dandylions waxing on your lawn?

Or new Improved Bleacho! Waxed to the Max!!!!


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 08:00 PM

Just post "waxing" every day and refresh like the guest troll who always revives the Shatner threads. When an archaeologist ten thousand years from now goes through the rubble on the earth, he will find the discs with Shatner- Shatner- Shatner- And think that Shatner was our principal god. He may also conclude that civilization died because our beans didn't wax.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM

CapriUni
concept for a song - yes, hook line or even title - er - IMOHO - no.
But as GBS said - "the golden rule is that there are no golden rules".


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 08:17 PM

The language isn't just the words we speak every day. There are any number of words I use in writing that I probably don't in speech, and even more which I recognise when reading which I probably wouldn't use in writing.

Generally speaking it's better to stick to spoken language in a song. But all rules need to be broken sometimes.

I'm surprised that, with all these Dylan quotes and discussions of "wax", noone has yet quoted "Gates of Eden":

Upon four-egged forest clouds
The cowboy angel rides
With his candle lit into the sun
Though its glow is waxed in black
All except when 'neath the trees of Eden,/I>,/B>

(Well that's what the book says - but I think he actually sings "waxing black")


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 08:32 PM

Four-egged? Or four-legged? Or was Dylan overdosing again?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 08:34 PM

No, that was me...


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: The Pooka
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 09:14 PM

Har har! O dear! Hope we haven't cut this Thread completely a-Drift from its seriously-intellectual Moorings. Here I was actually learning something, until I posted those Dylan lyrics. Now we've even gone and cited *Shatner*! :)

Dicho, Jack the Sailor, & Co.: I *think* Liam C. recited that lovely romantic verse by way of intro to T. Makem's "The Town of Ballybay", about a winsome lass with a wooden leg ("...that was hollow down the middle; she used to tie a string on it and play it for a fiddle...")It's in the DT I believe.// But hey now - B. Dylan SMOKING something? Overdosing?? Perish the thought!!

I agree we must preserve the language, before it Wanes completely and can be viewed only in Wax Museums. Accordingly, from the intellectual film classic "Horsefeathers":

"The Dean is furious. He's waxing wroth."
Groucho: "Well, tell Roth to wax the Dean for a while."


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 10:39 PM

As a writer, I often wax poetic...

Actually, I prefer "four-egged" I read that and imagined the cloud with rounded tops, like eggs in a carton, or a nest...

Okay, for the Pooka's sake, I'll try to bring this back to metaphorical lyrics (though I kinda like the goofy, too).

Along the same lines as "Waly, waly" -- at least in the motif of love gone/unrequited love -- but one that I think works better is "In my garden grew plenty of thyme":

In my garden grew plenty of thyme,
It flourished by night and by day,
But along came a lad, and he stole all I had.
Yes, he's stolen my sweet thyme away (2x)

For I was a maiden fair,
Ah, but fairer I wished to have been.
So I washed me in milk, and clad me in silk,
And I put the sweet thyme in my hair (2x)

In June, the red rose is in bloom,
But that is no flower for me
For I pulled me a bud, and it picked me to blood,
And I gazed on the willow tree, (2x)

Oh the willow tree it will twist,
And the willow tree it will twine,
How I wish I were clasped in my lover's arms fast,
For 'tis he who has stolen my thyme (2x)

Now, here are two metaphors for losing virginity to a false lover (the loss of thyme, which was once a symbol of virgin strength [also a pun with 'time' -- I love it when words can double up on the figure of speach quotient!], and the plucking of the rose). But, unlike "Waly, waly", each metaphor gets it's own verse. And even though the metaphors are connected in an "extended metaphor" sort of way, they still fit together logically.

It's easy to imagine this young woman walking in her garden, recovering from heartbreak, looking from her patch of thyme to the roses to the willow tree, and letting her thoughts follow her gaze.

I also like it because she takes at least some responsibity for what has happened -- she tried to be more than she was, she plucked the rose -- rather than just blaming her lover, or love itself.

Also, the thyme is a metaphor, but it is more than a metaphor, too -- it's real thyme, that you can pick, and tuck behind your ears, and the character speaking has a personal reason for associating it with her age of innocence...

There's a whole slew of thyme & rose songs in the DT, by the way, here, including a version of the song I cited above, which I like the best.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 10:44 PM

Ooops! the blickie I meant to post above got away! Luckily, I caught it again. Here it is!


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: pavane
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:27 AM

How about 'On the Border' by Al Stewart? Or are his words puns (as in double meanings), not metaphors?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:55 AM

I'm unfamiliar with that song, Povane, so I can't say.

Can you give us a snippet of the lyric you have in mind?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 11:02 AM

Pooka,

You are Correct sir.

It was the one about the wooden leg! I wonder if the wooden leg that she plays like a fiddle a metaphor for the complex working world that today's woman has been thrust into?

Naaaah!


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,Lynn
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 12:38 PM

You ought to read some Dylan Thomas. Therein lie many metaphoric challenges for you to savor. Overkill, perhaps, but beautifully wrought none-the-less.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 12:42 PM

Mr Red (re: "Songs and Love are both stronger than they appear." ):

concept for a song - yes, hook line or even title - er - IMOHO - no.

Well, I only meant it as a concept -- a "headline", as Jack the Sailor suggested.

Here's an alternate, more "newspaper-y" one:

"Lover praises hidden strength of songs, love -- claims beloved is singer, their love, song"

Now, for the verse on the hidden strength of love, I'm using the ol' cliche of the rose -- but I'm expanding it from the typical metaphor of the blossom, (which fades) and thorn (which wounds) to the strong roots underground, which survive the coldest winters, and sends forth new life year after year. I think the same metaphors show up in song after song because of limited space of lyrics -- there's not much room for introducing an image the listener hasn't heard before. When you equate roses with love, you don't have to worry about the audience not getting it.

The problem is, roses are not a good metaphor for a song -- at least, the quality of songs that I want to highlight: something that seems to be a trifle at the surface, but in actuality is the strongest human beings can create -- that can change the world: topple a despot, or heal a broken heart.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:29 PM

Why not? A rose isn't just a pretty flower, it is also a bearer of sharp thorns on which you can hurt yourself badly. In addition it is a tenacious and strong plant, a plant that can break a paving stone, for example.

The point is, when you take a real thing, such as a plant, as your image, that opens up other aspects of that thing which can also echo other aspects of the thing that the image is seen as standing in for.

An image of a river opens up the possibility of a bridge, a flood, of something that divides people, or brings them together...and so forth. The different aspects are linked, because they relate to the underlying (or overarching) image, but they can allow for an enormous range of meaning.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:55 PM

X=Z
Ten years ago on a ccold, hard night,
Someone was killed by the town hall light,
The people who saw it they all did agree,
That the slayer that ran looked alot like me.

Y=Z
:She walks these hills in a long black veil,
Visits my grave when the night winds wail,
Nobody knows and nobody sees,
Nobody knows but ME.

MORE Y=Z (plus irony):
The judge says,"Son, what is you alliby?
If you were somwheres elde then you won't have to die."
I spoke not a word though it meant my life
I had been in the arms of my BEST FRIEND'S WIFE...

EVEN MOREY=Z
:The scaffold is high and eternity's near,
She stands in the crowd and she sheds not a tear,
But oft times and night when the cold winds moan,
In a long black veil she cries o'er my bones.

Yes, I see what you mean !!!
ART THIEME


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:02 PM

...and ie. I guess that's why X really does = Y.

Art


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:14 PM

And the "scaffold is high" but so is "eternity" some say. Yes, scaffolds equal and are like eternities from all the world's religions in the truly metaphoricalisticness to be found so compatibly and intrinsically encased, enveloped and even stuffed within by the poster in the first entry of this profound thread.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: SharonA
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:39 PM

CapriUni: Hmmm... I'm trying to put together the specific metaphors you've mentioned, and I'm getting a bit somewhat very confused. So far we've got song, love, sword, cave, lover and rose. Pulling some of your comments pertaining specifically to this song, I get:


A song is insubstantial. When it is past, it leaves no trace. But when it is good, it is the sharpest sword that can bring down the mighty.

Love seems as insubstantial as a song, as dreamlike as a melody, and as fleeting. But when it is good, it is a deep and strong mountain cave where we can take shelter, and sing.

My love is a song, you are the earthly singer from whom this ethereal song rises.

A song is like X, Love is like X, Love is a Song. Therefore Love is a Song and X.

What I'm talking about is layering different images together in a song -- things that don't ordinarily fit together (the way roses and dew do) -- a bit like the five blind wisemen describing an elephant: It's a rope, a tree, a fan, a snake, and a wall.

Now, for the verse on the hidden strength of love, I'm using the ol' cliche of the rose -- but I'm expanding it from the typical metaphor of the blossom, (which fades) and thorn (which wounds) to the strong roots underground, which survive the coldest winters, and sends forth new life year after year. I think the same metaphors show up in song after song because of limited space of lyrics -- there's not much room for introducing an image the listener hasn't heard before. When you equate roses with love, you don't have to worry about the audience not getting it. The problem is, roses are not a good metaphor for a song -- at least, the quality of songs that I want to highlight: something that seems to be a trifle at the surface, but in actuality is the strongest human beings can create -- that can change the world: topple a despot, or heal a broken heart.



Okay, but that quality of song is not insubstantial; it does leave more than a trace in the mind and heart of the listener, and stirs both to action. Likewise when love is substantial.

So if you're going to mention the insubstantial sort of song and the insubstantial sort of love, you still need a metaphor for those in order to draw the contrast with the metaphors of strength and substance you've mentioned (the sword, the cave and roots of a perennial plant). Some opposites of the above three might be: the tender reed ("The Rose"), the house of straw (the story of The Three Little Pigs) – or the house upon the sand (New Testament) – and a rootless plant (New Testament).

What about the lover? What's to be your metaphor for him? Will there be a contrasting metaphor for his opposite, the false or insubstantial lover? (Just rhetorical questions, trying to spark your thinking here!)

Finally, I'd like to make the comment that since roses and love have been "equated" for centuries – with meanings assigned to the colors, even! – they may be considered to be "things that ordinarily fit together", which you seem to want to avoid. Maybe the use of the rose in the song makes it too easy for the audience; IMO the thing about metaphor that makes it work is the surprise of it, the little jolt that makes the listener sit up and take notice.

But if you want to stay with the rose as metaphor for love, then perhaps the thing to do is to have those blind wisemen describe that rose (the insubstantial fragrance, the substantial roots, etc.) in a song. Then the lover could be the one who sees the whole thing as what it is. Again, just a thought to spark more thought!


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:16 PM

All this thinking about song metaphors popped a song into my head. Maybe it needs some work but here it is.

Love is Song -----Copyright June 17, 2002 Rob Dale

Our love is a ballad tender and true
As soft as the flower as sweet as the dew
Our love is a blues song bitter and sweet
it tests our commitment but know no defeat
Our love is a march tune, Brassy and bold
With powerful tempo to never grow cold
Our love is dance song with thundering bass
Wicked and nasty, a slap to the face
Our love is sweet music Our love is delight
Our love is a love song, We'll sing it tonight


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:52 PM

Sharon, I realized something about myself while I was thinking about this:

I like to write rebuttals to "common knowledge" -- to make the song (or essay, or story) a bit like a dialogue.

Voice one: A song is insubsantial -- when it's over, there's no sign it was ever there.

Voice two: No, it's not -- a song can be the overthrow of a king, if enough people sing it.

V1: Love is fleeting, you can't trust it. When times get hard, your lover will leave you, just like the rose that falls in winter

V2: No, true love is stronger than hard times: It's the deepest root of the rose, that winds around the mountain stone, far below the winter's frost.

V2: Every song that ever existed that seems so ethereal now had to begin with a real flesh and bone person.

V2: And the love I feel began with you, my beloved. Let us go to the mountain, and build ourselves a shelter. Let us tend a rose garden, and sing to each other to keep away hard times.

Besides, the song (the real one, not the metaphorical one ;-)) isn't written yet -- these are just possible metaphors that have been vying for my attention (like a class of third graders: "ooh! Pick me! Pick me!"). I won't pick all of them, but I may pick two and combine them (as in that last verse)

It hit me this afternoon that I need to make the statement and rebuttal explicit, with the hook: "Wise men have told me all my life: _____ ... But I know: _____"


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:57 PM

Love it, Jack!

But how about:

Our love is a march we parade through the town
With powerful beat to never slow down
?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 05:03 PM

The problem with complexity is that as the mix gets more tortured then the meaning the audience take from it becomes further from your intention &/or they differ amongst themselves.
I nail my colours to the "one metaphor run as a thread" mast (unmixed those metaphors). Per verse at least, in a long song it can get overworked if it is stretched beyond it's plastic limit.
Say in a four verse song start with A advance through B & C and maybe THEN to D or swing it back A. OR with skill try running the logic of the first instances to meld A B &/or C as a closing act in the final verse.
ie telegraph the complexity by pre-empting.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 05:49 PM

Nice couplet CapriUni, but I would never sing it. I'm not much of a parader.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Lynn
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 10:43 PM

Was there a time when dancers with their fiddles/In children's circuses could stay their troubles?/There was a time they could cry over books,/But time has set its maggot on their track./Under the arc of the sky they are unsafe./What's never known is safest in this life./Under the skysigns they who have no arms/Have cleanest hands, and, as the heartles ghost/Alone's unhurt, so the blind man sees best.

Dylan Thomas

Shall we talk of metaphores?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 11:33 PM

What was Dylan Smoking?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 12:14 AM

This conversation is mostly completely over my head. But I just want to say, in defence of the use of the word "wax", that I've been using the prase "waxing poetic" (when someone's regular speach starts to sound a little like poetry) for just about as long as I can remember. I have no idea where I first heard it, but I know I didn't make it up. I'm not that good.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ON THE BORDER (Al Stewart)
From: pavane
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 02:57 AM

CapriUni: I was right about On the Border, it is mostly double meanings not metaphors.

I found the words easily by searching for 'on the border Al stewart' on Google. Here is a blickie to the site: Al Stewart Lyrics

I think One the Border is on his album 'Time Passages', but not sure. Well worth a listen, IMHO.

      F#m  
The fishing boats go out across the evening water
D
Smuggling guns and arms across the Spanish border
Bm
The wind whips up the waves so loud
A G
The ghost moon sails a-mong the clouds
F#m E F#m
And turns the rifles into silver on the border


F#m
On my wall the colours of the maps are running
D
From Africa the winds they talk of changes coming
Bm
The torches flair up in the night
A G
The hand that sets the farms alight
F#m E F#m
Has spread the word to those who're waiting on the border

A Em
In the village where I grew up nothing seems the same
D A
Still you never see the change from day to day
D C# C# B A G#m F#m E F#m
No-one notices the customs slip away


F#m
Late last night the rain was knocking on my window
D
I moved across the darkened room and in the lampglow
Bm
I thought I saw down in the street
A G
The spirit of the century
F#m E F#m
Telling us that we're all standing on the border


A
In the islands where I grew up
Em
Nothing seems the same
D A
It's just the patterns that remain an empty shell
D C#
But there's a strangeness in the air you feel too well


C# B A G#m F#m E F#m


Repeat 1st verse, then end :
D F#m repeat to fade
On the border, on the border

Words & Music Al Stewart (I believe)


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: pavane
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 03:00 AM

Oops, the chords slipped out of place!


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 11:03 AM

The ghost moon sails a-mong the clouds

From Africa, the winds, they talk of changes coming

Late last night the rain was knocking on my window

I thought I saw down in the street
The spirit of the century
Telling us that we're all standing on the border

For all of these lines (key lines, I'd say), the literary device is personifican -- taking something that isn't human (the moon, the wind, the rain, the spirit of the century), and giving it human characteristics.

One other literary device that is used is synecdoche (the use of the part to represent the whole, or vice verse):

The hand that sets the farms alight

It's not just one hand, but people (who have and use hands) who set the farms alight...


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 12:20 PM

Um, y'all are too quick for me. I just wanted to question whether the structural relation posted was really a syllogism. A syllogism involves logical concept relations like if/then, the little U-shape, reclining, and if and only if, and such, not the math equals sign used as shorthand for a metaphorical relationship. I'm still trying to think of a subject to big for song. It's easier to think of songs so petty they don't have a need to be sung. fred


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: pavane
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 01:22 PM

Other devices:

The turning of rifles into silver may be both visual (reflected in the moonlight) and financial (assuming the smugglers sold them).

Similarly 'no-one sees the customs slip away' could refer to the Customs & Excise as well as traditional activities.


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 01:29 PM

Sorry, Fred.

[McCoy] "I'm an English Major, James! Not a Mathematician! [/McCoy] ;-)

I only used X, =, and Y, etc. as substitutes for the parts of a metaphor, so that the discussion wouldn't get stuck on one metaphor or another. I wasn't trying to create a logical syllogism.

More like a word ladder -- where a word morphs to another word one letter at a time (To go from Hate --> Love in four "rungs", you'd go: Hate, Have, Hove, Love), but with images and ideas instead of letters and words.

For example, to go from love as: a rose, rose to thorn, thorn to sword, sword to ploughshare *G*, ploughshare to seed, seed to rose.

Is that a syllogism, or a metamorphoses? Or is there a difference?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,fred Miller
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 08:55 AM

Oh, yeah, that's how I took it. I was responding to another comment, calling it a syllogism, not a metaphor. I decided to nit-pick because symbolic logic was the only thing I ever seemed to have a gift for, but I didn't pursue it, except to get out of taking math. fred


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 Jun 02 - 02:15 PM

Welcome back, Fred!

Well, if you have a gift, flaunt it! That's what I always say (actually, that's not true... I say lots of other things, too, like: "Yes, I would like another chocolate chip cookie. Thank you!")

Anyway, just an update.

I've decided not to use metaphor for "Song" at all -- just to describe song's qualities: Brief and intangible, leaving no evidence behind after it is gone -- unlike a plough, which leaves a furrow, or a sword, which leaves spilt blood, or a hammer, which leaves a pounded nail -- but being stronger than all those things because of how it affects the mind and heart.

Then to describe "Love" in a similiar way: that it seems inseperable from the youth and innocence in which it begins. And since youth and innocence must pass, we fear that love will pass, too. But that it's only the heady intoxication of romance that passes, while the real love goes much deeper, and just as a song is stronger than a plough, sword and hammer, love is stronger than all of life's troubles.

I am contemplating using an analogy to the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper for the first part, at least a version I vaguely remembered from years ago ... a discussion of which is here: Alt. version of Ant and Grasshopper tale (the argument that songs are weak being supported by the fable, countered with: "but the ants were supported in their labor by the song of the grasshopper"). Maybe. But that might be getting too complicated again...


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 09:47 AM

so you're going that way? Tolstoy hardly ever used metaphors, just functional comparisons. There should be a term for the completely unannounced metaphor, the stealth metaphor--no "is" or "like" but just a thing described, which may seem to us to relate. Ripley's Percieve It Or Not. Tolstoy expressed a mistrustful view of the power of music in The Kreutzer Sonata, all mixed in with a bunch of crazed misogyny. But his stuff is similar to music in that it's hard to pin down why it's good. Seems to have to do with his feel for how time passes. Will we get to see "song"?


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: CapriUni
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 10:36 AM

Yes, you will -- I hope. When it's finished, I'll post a new thread for it...


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Subject: RE: Complex metaphors in lyrics?
From: GUEST,AtoZeka
Date: 13 Mar 11 - 12:29 AM

Not sure if this counts as a complex metaphor.
http://authspot.com/poetry/aoe-everlasting-book/


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