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exitnirvana's avatar

What song lyrics stick out to you as being distinctly poetic?

Asked by exitnirvana (912points) May 4th, 2009

An example that piqued my curiosity:

“Am I alive or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do as prophets say?
And if I die before I learn to speak
Can money pay for all the days I lived awake
But half asleep?”—from Standing Outside of a Broken Telephone Booth with Money in my Hand by Primitive Radio Gods

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25 Answers

aidje's avatar

Anything by Sleeping at Last, especially from the album Keep No Score.

Belisario's avatar

Got out of town on a boat
Goin’ to Southern islands.
Sailing a reach
Before a followin’ sea.
She was makin’ for the trades
On the outside,
And the downhill run
To Papeete.
Off the wind on this heading
Lie the Marquesas.
We got eighty feet of the waterline.
Nicely making way.
In a noisy bar in Avalon
I tried to call you.
But on a midnight watch I realized
Why twice you ran away.
Think about how many times
I have fallen
Spirits are using me
larger voices callin’.
What heaven brought you and me
Cannot be forgotten.
I have been around the world,
Lookin’ for that woman/girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.
And you know it will.
When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time
You understand now
Why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from
Is so small.
But it’s as big as the promise
The promise of a comin’ day.
So I’m sailing for tomorrow
My dreams are a dyin’.
And my love is an anchor tied to you
Tied with a silver chain.
I have my ship
And all her flags are a flyin’
She is all that I have left
And music is her name.
Think about how many times
I have fallen
Spirits are using me
larger voices callin’.
What heaven brought you and me
Cannot be forgotten.
I have been around the world,
Lookin’ for that woma/girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.
And you know it will.
So we cheated and we lied
And we tested
And we never failed to fail
It was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
Somebody fine
Will come along
Make me forget about loving you.
At the Southern Cross.

bright_eyes00's avatar

anything by Jason Boland or Ray LaMontagne

YARNLADY's avatar

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life I love you

MacBean's avatar

Anything by The Decemberists. Amazing.

asmonet's avatar

I was rockin’ out to that song on the way home from class yesterday!

Let Your Troubles Roll By / Grey Sky Eyes – Carbon Leaf
Every line and the way it’s sung gets me.

I’ll Be – Edwin McCain
Good stuff.

Early Morning Rain – Gordon Lightfoot
Lightfoot is classic.

Overkill – Colin Hay
And Woman’s Face personally.

Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan
Do I really need to say anything?

A lot of these, maybe wouldn’t qualify as poetic to some, but combined with the melody, the voice, the inflection… they take me away.

MacBean's avatar

@asmonet That is the only Bob Dylan song I can listen to all the way through! His voice makes me want to kick puppies*.

*Not literally. It just makes me really irrationally angry and I have no idea why.

asmonet's avatar

@MacBean: Dude, me too. I pick and choose my Dylan songs… but you can’t deny the man can write good lyrics. :)

MacBean's avatar

@asmonet Absolutely. He should just let other people sing them.

Jude's avatar

Love Ray’s “Winter Birds”

Winter Birds

It’s the Widow now that owns that angry plow,
The spartan Mule and The Crippled Cow
The fallow field that will yield no more,
As the fox lay sleeping beneath her kitchen floor

The stream can’t contain such the withering rain,
And from the pasture the fence it is leaning away
The clouds crack and growl
Like some great cat on the prowl
Crying out, “I am, I am” over and over again

The days grow short
As the nights grow long
The kettle sings its tortured song
As many petalled kiss I place upon her brow,
Oh, my lady, Lady I am loving you now

The winter birds have come back again,
Here the sprightly Chickadee
Gone now is the Willow Wren
In passing greet each other as if old, old friends
And to the voiceless trees
It is their own they will lend

The days grow short
As the nights grow long
The kettle sings its tortured song
As many petalled kiss I place upon her brow,
Oh, my lady, Lady I am loving you now

And though all these things will change,
The memories will remain
As green to gold, and gold to brown
The leaves will fall to feed the ground
And in their falling, make no sound

Oh my lady,
Lady I am loving you now

I’ve gathered all my money and I’m goin’ to town,
To buy my lady a long and flowing gown
‘Cause come tomorrow morning
We’re off to the county fair
I’ll find a yellow flower
And I will lace it in her hair

And, pretty much anything done by Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

zephyr826's avatar

@MacBean :
“There are angels in your angles,
There’s a low moon caught in your tangles…”

Of Angles and Angels, Picaresque, The Decemberists

IBERnineD's avatar

And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes

Jack Johnson “Talk of the Town”

sdeutsch's avatar

Almost anything by Storyhill (that link is my favorite song, but there are dozens and dozens more!)

elijah's avatar

“Your tongue is a rudder, it steers the whole ship.
Sends your words past your lips or keeps them safe behind your teeth.
But the wrong words will strand you, come off course while you sleep.
Sweep your boat out to sea or dashed to bits on the reef.
The vessel groans, the ocean pressure is it’s frame.
To the port I see the lighthouse through the sleet and the rain.
And I wish for one more day, to give my love and repay debt.
But the morning sees our bodies washed up thirty miles west.
They say the captain stays fast with the ship, through the still and storm.
But this ain’t the Dakota, the water’s cold.
Won’t have to fight for long.
This is the end.
This story’s old but it goes on and on until we disappear.
Calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed while you were underneath.
I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea.
I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean.
I know that this is what you want.
A funeral keeps both of us apart.
You know that you are not alone.
Need you like water in my lungs.
This is the end.”

Brand New- Play Crack the Sky

benjaminlevi's avatar

Now we’re apart, though not through choice.
Do we stay mute, or raise our voice?

He Films the clouds pt. 2 by Maybeshewill
Its probably the most beautiful song I have ever heard.

tinyfaery's avatar

Simon & Garfunkle/Paul Simon
The Doors/Jim Morrison
The Shins

aviona's avatar

Haha ditto @tinyfaery, anything by The Shins, especially The Past and Pending

I have them written on a shelf in my room

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I find it hard to shed a tear.
Brought it on yourself my dear.
Wrong, yes I may be,
But don’t leave the light on for me.
Cause I ain’t coming home.
It hurts me baby to be alone.

Black Crowes…Seeing Things For The First Time…

lifeflame's avatar

Leonard Cohen, definitely.
I keep laughing at the twists in his lyrics.

some examples: Hallelujah

SuperMouse's avatar

The Sounds of Silence written by Paul Simon
American Pie written by Don McLean
Thunder Road written by Bruce Springsteen
The Luckiest by Ben Folds

@Russell D Spacepoet, She Talks to Angels is another super poetic song by The Black Crowes.

Blondesjon's avatar

So your girlfriend rolls a Honda
Playin workout tapes by Fonda
But Fonda ain’t got a motor in the back of her Honda
My anaconda don’t want none unless you have got buns hun
You can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don’t lose that butt
Some brothers wanna play that hard role
And tell you that the butt ain’t gold
So they toss it and they leave it
And I pull up quick to retrieve it
So cosmo says you’re fat
Well I ain’t down with that
Cuz your waist is small and your curves are kickin’
And I’m thinkin ‘bout stickin’
To the beanpole dames in the magazines
You aint it miss thing
Give me a sister I can’t resist her
Red beans and rice didn’t miss her
Some knucklehead tried to diss
Cuz his girls were on my list
He had a game but he chose to hit ‘em
And I pull up quick to get with ‘em

Jude's avatar

“Gossip in the Grain” (Another Ray)..

There is no official video for this song. Someone just threw this one together Great song, though.


Such the lazy Jackstraw,
Always late for tea
Never bothers to ring lately

Says the silly Sparrow,
‘There’s gossip in the grain,
Have you heard the…Oh you don’t say.’

A snow shall fill the trees
You’d best make warm the eves.’

Grown callous is the old Crow,
He’d mock even the sun,
Eyes as black as blood
Bone crack in the craw

He’d say,
He’d say,
Always a “Never mind’
Always a “Never mind’

Truth be:
The Beggar that holds his tongue,
Dines on none but air alone

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

Poke by Frightened Rabbit

Wrap Your Arms Around Me by the Barenaked Ladies

Snow Come Down by Lori Carson

This Modern Love by Bloc Party

We Both Go Down Together by the Decembrists

Books from Boxes by Maximo Park

Any thing by John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Easily the most poetic things ever put to music.

Strauss's avatar

My list of poetic songwriters includes the following:
David Crosby, Guinnevere
Steven Stills Helplessly Hoping
Graham Nash Suite:Judy Blue Eyes
Neil Young Unknown Legend
Leonard Cohen Bird On A Wire
Bob Dylanhttp Subterranean Homesick Blues

I know a lot of lesser known poets who express their poetry in song.

mYcHeMiCaLrOmAnCe's avatar

at the end of the world
or the last thing I see
you are never coming home
never coming home
could I?
should I?
and all the things that you never ever told me
and all the smiles that are ever gonna haunt me

The Ghost Of You, by My Chemical Romance

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