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posts about poetry.

today i stumbled about a song called gloomy sunday, originally composed by the hungarian pianist rezső seress. there are probably as many urban myths about this song, which is also known as the hungarian suicide song, as there are cover versions… i like the original lyrics the most; you can read them here (both the original hungarian version and a literal translation). reads like a typical doom song, just written around 50 years too early…
for me, it seems like a really strange idea to kill yourself because of listening to a song, and in particular, it seems really strange to blame a song for making people commit suicide. for me, it sounds like an excuse for not having to search for other reaons… maybe it was the last straw to tip people off, or suicideers decided to listen to it on or shortly before their suicide because it expresses their feelings.
but anyway. i’m somehow wondering whether a doom metal band has covered this one, too; the only metal band i found who did this is a german black metal act called negator; a video of a life performance can be seen at their homepage (don’t watch it if you don’t like black metal); they are performing sam m. lewis‘ english version of the song. i didn’t like it too much, first of all because i don’t think black metal fits here and, secondly, i’d prefer something more close to the original lyrics.

it is autumn and the leaves are falling
all love has died on earth
the wind is weeping with sorrowful tears
my heart will never hope for a new spring again
my tears and my sorrows are all in vain
people are heartless, greedy and wicked…

literal translation of the first stanza taken from

a piece of poetry which i really like is p. b. shelley’s sonnet ozymandias:

“i met a traveller from an antique land
who said: two vast and trunkless legs of stone
stand in the desert. near them on the sand,
half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
tell that its sculptor well those passions read
which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
the hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
and on the pedestal these words appear:
“my name is ozymandias, king of kings:
look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
nothing beside remains: round the decay
of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

percy bysshe shelley, 1818

i first got in touch with this poem when i was listening to the black league‘s album ichor, which contains the poem in form of a song. a very beautiful one which, in my opinion, makes the poem even more affecting, powerful, than it is already in text form. after some oriental tones, the first nine lines of the poem are read out by taneli jarva‘s baritone voice. then, for the two lines quoting the inscription, the music gets hard and heavy, whilst the two lines are screamed. (i’d say that this is one of the best examples where screaming as a singing style fits perfectly.) after that, the music returns to the slow, oriental sounding style from the beginning, and the rest of the poem is spoken. then, music slowly turning to an end, the two lines of the inscription are whispered in the background over and over.