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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Essay Questions for Bad Poetry

Today, in "Essay Questions for Bad Poetry" we approach the song stylings of pop singer Seal. This song was attached to the film "Batman Forever" and has since become a staple of Light FM. Song lyrics can be seen as the new "popular" poetry, I'd like to approach this as such. Get your pencils sharpened.

"Kiss From A Rose"
There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea.
You became the light on the dark side of me.
Love remained a drug that's the high and not the pill.
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and
The light that you shine can be seen.
Baby,I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh,The more I get of you,
Stranger it feels, yeah.
And now that your rose is in bloom.
A light hits the gloom on the grave.
There is so much a man can tell you,
So much he can say.You remain,
My power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny.
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby?
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom.
A light hits the gloom on the grave,
I've been kissed by a rose on the grave,
I've been kissed by a rose I've been kissed by a rose on the grave,
...And if I should fall along the way
I've been kissed by a rose ...been kissed by a rose on the grave.
There is so much a man can tell you,
So much he can say.
You remain
My power, my pleasure, my pain.
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny, yeah
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby.
But did you know,That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom, A light hits the gloom on the grave.
Yes I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you
Stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grave
Now that your rose is in bloom,
A light hits the gloom on the grave.

Question #1 - Grey and Grave are interchangeable in this piece. How important is specificity in a poem?
Question # 2 - In this poem, the writer expressly states: "I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey [grave]." Does every rose have its thorn? Just like every night has its dawn?
Question # 3 - When you read this, does it get stuck in your head? If I were to tell you that I could get these lyrics unstuck from your head, to what crime would you confess?
Question # 4 - There is a "tower" referenced in the opening line of this "poem." Why does the poet mention this if, obviously, the Tower does not factor into the narrative. Speaking of which...is there a narrative?
Question # 5 - There is a reference here to snow and also to addiction. Is this poem about cocaine? Or, as you might call it "blow?" Is it about drug abuse? And is that healthy, baby? Why or why not?

BONUS QUESTION - What sort of a name is Seal?

If anyone has further thoughts on how to interpret this...I'm ready to listen.

8 comments:

Ian said...

"My eyes become large"? What the hell is that?

These lyrics sound like what you get if you have Google translate something into Japanese, then back into English.

(By the way, try that sometime. Big laughs!)

Scott Walters said...

Confession: I had no idea what the hell the lyrics were saying, but I really loved the melody of this song. So kill me.

Kyle said...

You cynical bastard. I love this song. god, you're a prick...

Ian said...

For instance, if you have Google translate Shakespeare's immortal line:

Lord, what fools these mortals be

into Japanese, then have the Japanese text translated back into English, you get:

Are these humans of what kind of idiot, the main thing

I'm tellin' you, hours of fun!

MattJ said...

So, Ian, am I to infer that google in all its technological and corporate glory reversed the sentence so that "the main thing" is equal to "Lord" ?

greg said...

who said grey and grave are interchangable? Did we miss something in the original lyrics. I have heard it sung both ways. That's stupid if you ask me ...There is only one meaning. Seal's. Grey.. and that's it .!!

Anonymous said...

The short version.

Kiss from the 'rows' on the grey [rows of coke on a mirror]


to me your like a growing addiction that I can't deny [-comparing his love for 'her' to his love for coke]

won't you tell me is it healthy baby? but...

When it snows [coke party] my eyes become larger [dialated] and the light that you shine can't be seen [becomes an idiot concerning the things that are really important, including the advice about how unhealthy his addiction is above]

So much a man can tell you so much he can say [babbling coke head], you remain my power, pleasure, pain [a pretty exact way to describe any addition to something harmful]

the more I get of you the stranger it feels, yeah

sarah said...

wow. i've always wondered what this song was talking about. it's a beautiful song, but it doesn't make any sense at all. it may or may not be a reference to drugs (although i'm thinking it is) but i have to say, it makes a hell of a lot more sense this way.