Sunday, November 26, 2006

This I Did Not Know

Apparently, every last one of Emily Dickinson's poems can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." I wouldn't have thought of her being a particularly metrical writer--she who seemed to think that all vowels rhyme with each other.

Let's try it out, shall we?

An awful tempest mashed the air,
The clouds were gaunt and few.
A black, as of a spectre's cloak,
Hid heaven and earth from view.

Okay, that one works. Sure, it's got more verses, but let's not get carried away. How about this one?

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held just but ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

Oh yeah. That one too. Let's look at an index of first lines, shall we? Hmm. Well, not every every one fits, but an impressive number do. Do you have a favorite Emily Dickinson poem? Does it work with yours?

Next week, we test to see how many of Robert Frost's poems can really be sung to "Hernando's Hideaway." Ole!


Kaylen said...

Ha-I have never heard of this, but it certainly changes the way I will read her poetry!

Pappy's Fella said...

Prarie Home Companion did a bit on this like a million years ago. I can still remember them doing "I heard a fly buzz when I died..."

Happy Nablopomo

Cate Ross said...

Okay, so I'm terribly late to the game. But...did you know you can sing Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island? And vice versa?

Anonymous said...

Interchange Amazing Grace, Gilligan's Island and House of the Rising Sun. And probably any number of shanties, hornpipes and schottisches.