Songs That Are Poems, Poems That Are Songs Meme

Poet With A Day Job has tagged me for a meme where I have to choose five songs that appeal to me for their poetic sensibilities, that inspire me. These are five songs that I feel really are poetry, not just lyrically, but melodically. It has taken me ages to do this because I was having arguments with myself over which songs to choose. Finally, here, they are. My Top 5 songs that represent a poetic sensibility. They inspire me because each song takes on a different form of beauty. Each song is memorable and touches me. Hope you enjoy them.


Written by Paul Weller this song appeared on the 1980 album Sound Affects. I went to see The Jam in concert in London in the early 1980s with my cousin and this song brought the house down. Rumour has it that Paul Weller wrote it in 10 minutes while waiting for the bus home one evening. For many years I firmly believed I was going to marry Paul Weller, particularly as he loved one of my favourite poets of all time – Shelley. Sadly, our union was not meant to be…..

“Waking up from bad dreams and smoking cigarettes
cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume
a hot summer’s day and sticky black tarmac
feeding ducks in the park and wishing you were far away
That’s Entertainment, That’s entertainment…”


I am an unashamed Dylan fan. He really is a poet. This song appeared on the 1974 album Blood On The Tracks. It is one of my favourite songs ever.

“He woke up, the room was bare
he didn’t see her anywhere
he told himself he didn’t care
pushed the window open wide
felt an emptiness inside
to which he just could not relate
brought on by a simple twist of fate.”

3. ILL WIND by Lonette McKee.

This song is a jazz standard written in 1934 by Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen but it is probably most famous for appearing in the 1984 Francis Ford Coppola film The Cotton Club where it was sung by Lonette McKee. Love it. Love it. Love it!

“You’re only misleadin’
the sunshine I’m needin’
ain’t that a shame?
It’s so hard to keep up with troubles that creep up from out of nowhere
when love’s to blame.”

4. NORTHERN SKY by Nick Drake.

We call him the Folk Master in our house. I often feel bad about his death at such a young age from an accidental antidepressants overdose. It makes his music seem even more melancholy. This song is from the 1970 album Bryter Later.

“I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons, knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree.”

5. CANDY by Iggy Pop.

I love Iggy, who duets on this song with Kate Pierson from The B-52s which I think is a match made in heaven. This is a modern-day torch song from the 1990 album Brick By Brick.

“I’ve had a hole in my heart for so long
I’ve learned to fake it and just smile along
Down on the street, the men are all the same
I need a love, not games
Not games.”

So there you have it. That was fun.

I’d like two tag two of my favourite blogging poets, Paisley and Crafty Green Poet because I’d love to hear what songs arouse their poetic sensibilities; as well as Chris and Roshan who love their music. I would love to hear your selections. Have fun.


23 thoughts on “Songs That Are Poems, Poems That Are Songs Meme

  1. I may be meme stealin’ this of some point in the future. Excellent song choices. It would be hard for not to back to back Otis Redding.


  2. I can’t believe you don’t have any Neil Young on there or Leonard Cohen. Where’s your two favourite songs of all time – Midnight Train To Georgia and What A Difference A Day Made? You’re freaking me out including The Jam. And where’s Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel? What about Creep and Suffragette City and all those blues songs you love? I like the songs you’ve chosen but how did you narrow it down to those five? You have surprised me (apart from the Dylan) with your choices.


  3. I was sure Midnight Train would be on there too because everyone who knows you knows what a Gladys Knight freak you are. You are the only person I know who wants Gladys Knight played at her funeral. Good choices, though, especially the Nick Drake. LOVE him!


  4. Hey Sel. Love your blog. I have been reading for a while but you know me, too lazy to comment. I loved that story you wrote about the witch travelling back in time – gave me chills. Also love your song choices. I fell in love with Iggy Pop all over again when ‘Candy’ came out. That song is soooo hot!


  5. MEL – if I’d put all my faves on there it would have been the longest meme in history. I was trying to look for songs that I liked that were like poems, not necessarily my favourite songs. It was hard to decide. Maybe I should do a Part Two. Hahaha.

    JULES – I know. I know. I feel bad about Gladys. She is the most spectacular singer ever. I shouldn’t have left her out.

    CHELS – where ya been? Yeah, yeah, yeah on the Iggy. There is such a ‘noir’ aspect to that song – it’s full of heartbreak. Brill!


  6. Most of Dylan’s songs are poetry set to music. I think, anybody with an acoustic guitar are simply singing their poems. I had a tough time narrowing my choices to just five. But it was fun. Thanks for the tag.


  7. Re: going to see The JAM in the 80’s – wow! I was a Sydney mod in the 80’s theywere one of my favourite bands – in fact, I still like them.

    Re: Songs that have poetic sensibilities – most of time Waits’ ouevre. Especially:

    TOM WAITS lyrics – Singapore

    We sail tonight for Singapore
    We’re all as mad as hatters here
    I’ve fallen for tawny moor
    Took off to the land of Nod
    Drank with all the Chinamen
    Walked the sewers of Paris
    I danced along a colored wind
    Dangled from a rope of sand
    You must say goodbye to me

    We sail tonight for Singapore
    Don’t fall asleep while you’re ashore
    Cross your heart and hope to die
    When you hear the children cry.
    Let marrow bone and cleaver choose
    While making feet for children shoes
    Through the alley
    Back from Hell
    When you hear that steeple bell
    You must say goodbye to me.

    Wipe him down with gasoline
    Till his arms are hard and mean,
    From now on boys this iron boat’s your home
    So heave away boys.

    We sail tonight for Singapore
    Take your blankets from the floor
    Wash your mouth out by the door
    The whole town is made of iron ore
    Every witness turns to steam
    They all become Italian dreams
    Fill your pockets up with earth
    Get yourself a dollar’s worth
    Away boys, away, boys, heave away

    The captain is a one-armed dwarf
    He’s throwing dice along the wharf
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King
    So take this ring

    Repeat First Verse
    Singapore, Tom Waits


  8. CHRIS – I can’t wait to see what you’ve chosen. Will be over shortly.

    PAISLEY – eclectic sums me up to a T. Hope you liked ’em.

    DAVID – I am hanging my head in shame right now for forgetting Tom Waits. My husband may never speak to me again. In fact, I should probably just leave home and be done with it. This was actually a really hard meme. Love the song you’ve included. He is a brilliant lyricist.


  9. You rock girl, I love tune posts – especially ones that exhibit taste. I have seen Dylan three times in concert and he is an idol of mine. Keep coming correcting with your musical influences on your blog, I intend to do the same. I bet we have a lot in common in that respect.


  10. JOHNNY – I bow before you having seen Dylan 3 times in concert. Not once for me, I’m afraid. Once would have been the event of a lifetime, but three times. I’d be beside myself with glee. You’ll have to do a post one of these days on what the concerts were like. I want details…..

    MELEAH – it is a fantastic song. So sad. God, that man can write a song. It’s incredible!

    HEATHER – (in my best John McEnroe voice) you CANNOT be serious. You have no idea what that song means to me. LOVE doesn’t even come close. Now we are song sisters, that’s all there is to it!


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