Day 208: Why Speak Plain When You Can Speak Beauty

Part of my routine, especially after long nights of dealing with the [insert inappropriate words about the general public], is to listen to that most old-fashioned of devices on my walk home—the i-Pod (everyone listens to their smart phone now, don't they?) I'm a word freak. The music can be daggy, twee or just plain odd, but if the words are right, I'm all yours. I was thinking about it this morning as I came home and listened to two of my favourite songs: 'The Table' by The Beautiful South and Randy Travis' 'Where Can I Surrender?'. What I call 'fine lyrics' are those which, essentially, use metaphor (as such) to create imagery. It may be, as in the former song, a thing of beauty, or, as in the latter, a thing of wit. If there is anything more satisfying that coming up with new and exciting ways to twist language in writing, to stretch its boundaries and make it do things that banality and the everyday can't foresee, then I haven't found it. I am paranoid, but when I started a writing degree at university as an (annoying!) mature age student a few years ago, and, on one of the first days, was asked for an example of my favourite writing, I sensed a judgement regarding my response of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. But it is all about the language. Why say 'She was scared because she sensed fear in him', when you can say 'He folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.' Why say "He stood with his arms tightly crossed', when you can say 'Comrade Pillai's arms were crossed over his chest, and he clasped his own armpits possessively, as though someone had asked to borrow them and he had just refused.'

Irene               List_Addict

In 'The Table' it is (huge word alert) more a matter of anthropomorphisation rather than metaphor—the table becomes a member of the family, but in doing so is a conduit to telling what type of a family owns it. Who woulda thunk a song about a family's table could be so beautiful? Probably just me. When I grow up I want to have a job that somehow relates to the study of dreams (study, but not interpretation). After that I would like to make shoes. And when that loses its appeal I want to be a lyricist because of songs like this. I may fail because, try as I might today, I am having difficulty picturing in words why it is I like this song so much. Maybe it is merely that it is accessible poetry.

On the other hand, which, ironically, is the title of another Randy Travis lyric, 'Where Can I Surrender?' is possibly easier to explain. Like a lot of country music, it more wholly embraces a slightly tacky metaphor or imagery to tell its story. It is borderline comical, although I am not sure if it is meant to be, or if that is why people often dismiss country as silly. Personally I love the crime/police analogy. 'I'm guilty of entering and breaking hearts so dear/Guilty of unlawful flight and failing to appear/I've committed all the crimes of love—every felony/Now I have but one defense—to plead insanity'. Okay, yeah. It is just silly. Good for coming down off night shift though. Can we ask more?

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Singlet: Target
Skirt: Op-shopped
Clutch: Op-shopped (for a girl who doesn't 'do' bags, I love this clutch. Of course, I don't 'do' anything with it, just show it in photos. It has a copy of The Mill on the Floss in it to make it look used.)
Earrings: Old and faded
Shoes: Urban Soul

Photographer de Jour: Moi

Who wore it better?

Making friends today with:

Lena B, Actually


  1. I just love your writing. The end. (=

    No, ok, I can't leave yet. Besides being totally entertained by your deadpan gaze in the list addict photo, I was even more entertained by your own wordplay. I had forgotten Randy Travis. And actually, I think his lyrics are meant to be funny, it's just that prejudice prevails in the music world. Don the country brogue, bring out a fiddle, and apparently you lose credibility. But there are some truly clever lyrics sang with a twang, y'all.

    You should take a minimalist poem and rewrite it word-passionately. And post it with your next outfit. (=

  2. love the top on you! its goregous! and a too appreciate good lyrics, beautiful south are great at this! and a band called Masters of Reality are real fun! Thanks for linking up with Passion For Fashion, hope you'll join us again today!


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