Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opps...I did it again!

Hey writers! Last time I talked about rhyme and how many song writers write songs that are actually rhyming poems. Well today I have two really fun exercises for you all to try.

1.) Take any pop song and transform its lyrics into a real poem, either keeping the song form or dropping it. Try to improve the word choices, imagery, rhymes, and rhythms. Cut the stuff that seems like filler. Your work should become a poem without having the music in your head!

For example I used the song The Last Goodbye by James Morrison.
Here's the original version:

The Last Goodbye
By James Morrison

I don't believe you
And I never will
Oh I can't live by your side
With the lies you've tried to instill
I don't have to give you a reason
For leaving this time
Cause this is my last goodbye

It's like I hardly know you
But maybe I never did
It's like every emotion you showed me
You kept well hid
And every true word that you ever spoke
Was really deceiving
Now I'm leaving this time
Cause this is my last goodbye

I've gotta turn and walk away
I don't have anything left to say
I haven't already said before
I've grown tired of being used
And I'm sick and tired of being accused
Now I'm walking away from you
And I'm not coming back

And here is my version entitled True Words.

True Words
By Jen

Some people say that I'm not worth it.
Never thought that of you.
I'm not perfect, we make mistakes.
But see I don't believe you, and I never will.
The lies you've tried to instill, swim
through my heartline veins.

It's like I hardly know you but maybe,
I never did.
Three years.
Three birthdays.
Three Christmas's
poured onto the floor in pieces of old shells.

It's like every emotion you showed me
could have just hid.
Would give my soul to keep you, but this is
my last goodbye.
True words are deceiving.

2.) Many songs use refrains, lines that are repeated at the same spot in each stanza. The changing words might describe a place or tell a story, while the fixed refrain made a kind of aside, repeating a saying or mysterious statement. Like Britney Spear's song Opps...I Did It Again. Britney repeats that refrain over and over throughout the song but also incorporates other lyrics. I want to you try and write a poem that uses a refrain.

For example here is a poem by Allen Ginsberg entitled Refrain

By Allen Ginsberg

The air is dark, the night is sad,
I lie sleepless and I groan.
Nobody cares when a man goes mad:
He is sorry, God is glad.
Shadow changes into bone.

Every shadow has a name.
When I think of mine I moan,
I hear rumors of such fame.
Not for pride, but only shame,
Shadow changes into bone.

When I blush I weep for joy,
And laughter drops from me like a stone:
The aging laughter of the boy
To see the ageless dead so coy.
Shadow changes into bone.

Pick your favorite song and give it shot! I wouldn't recommend anything too hard but something fun and simple! Happy writing :)


  1. lol this works, Erin and I tried it with Bump, Bump, Bump. Good Stuff enjoyed it very much.

  2. Oops...I did it again! ha how appropriate for you jen. I like this one because it is so true. I always think of songs as long poems and I have made up my own words to other songs before with friends..its pretty cool.