Saturday, April 4, 2009

Polly Jean Harvey, Poet/Rock Legend Extraordinaire

I've said it before and I'll say it until the day I die: Songwriters are the new poets of our generation.

We may not have a Wordsworth or a Millay today, but we have the tender hearts and translucent, poetic souls of singers like Polly Jean (P. J.) Harvey, whose haunting voice can at turns bring me to tears with longing or make me want to jump up from my chair and dance with abandon. She's my newest musical muse.

I can't listen to her music and not grab my pen to write. Ideas seem to jump out of the speakers as I listen to her singing one of my favorite songs so far, "Grow Grow Grow". Her voice is at times high pitched---soft, innocent and gentle---fragile almost, as she plays the autoharp, then suddenly hard as the ground she speaks of stomping down with her boots in this amazingly inspiring song which speaks to me on so many levels that I could never describe them all here. I like her live performances on YouTube best. Check them out when you get a chance and be enthralled with her many personas.

She's a chameleon, a shape shifter---one minute the wounded lover, the next carelessly breaking a man's heart. She's basically shy but can wear a red dress and slut it up with the best of them, as in her song, "Down By The Water" based on an old Irish ballad. In "This is Love" you're riveted to her blood red lips, a slash of crimson in the canvas of the otherwise entirely white video. You can't take your eyes from her mouth in this hard-driving song.

If you've never listened to any of her music, you're in for a delicious treat. I recommend the song below first. I always like to sing along so here are the simple yet profound lyrics:


By Polly Jean (P.J.) Harvey

I sowed a seed
Underneath the oak tree
I trod it in
With my boots I trampled it down


I sowed a rose
Underneath the oak grove
With my boots on the ground
Into the earth I trampled it down


Teach me how to...
Teach me how to...

Teach me, Mommy
How to grow
How to catch someone's fancy
Underneath the twisted oak grove…


You may have heard of one of her early song, "Sheela-na-gig" which is a classic. Kurt Cobain said it was the best rock song ever written. She's an enigma, a true poet and today I salute her as my poet muse and thank her for sharing her heart and soul with all of us.

Read a poem today and listen to some new music----GROW!

Blessings, Hugs and Peace,


Music is the poetry of the air. ~Richter

If I were to begin life again, I would devote it to music. It is the only cheap and unpunished rapture upon earth. ~Sydney Smith

There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is. ~William P. Merrill

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. ~Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. ~Robert Fripp


Kelly said...

She's new to me so I watched a few of her clips. Beautiful lyrics!

I'm trying to make a conscious effort to read more poems!!

quid said...

I've not heard of her, before ML, but she's amazing. I can't get interested in music where lyrics are not the prime focus... quid