While at Rutgers University, I joined the Teacher Preparation Program to become an English teacher. During the program, I was required to observe at two schools before completing my Student Teaching semester. While at one of the two schools, the teacher I was observing was instructing a poetry class and the discussion of music as a form of poetry came up. Some students felt that music can be considered a form of poetry, while others did not think that at all. One student (who did not feel music was poetry) was arguing with the class so much that it caused upset and the class had to end their discussion on the subject.
What do I think?
I believe that some music can be considered poetry. Lyrics in music usually fit to a certain rhythm, just like a poet uses rhythm. Some songs also rhyme and have the purpose of sending the intended audience a message. I understand that there is plenty of music that is very straightforward and would not be considered poetry (I do not consider songs from Britney Spears to be poetry; her songs are meant to entertain her targe).
I didn’t know Ozzy could be this deep…
One example of a song that I do consider to be poetic is Ozzy Osbourne’s song Revelation (Mother Earth). This song dramatizes the conflict between mankind and Mother Earth. Given the song’s title, one might expect it to include references from the Bible. The first two lines of the song include a reference from Luke 23:34 (“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”). The difference is that Ozzy replaces “Father” with “Mother.” Ozzy is speaking to Mother Earth and asking her to forgive mankind. Children are born into war and do not know any different. To them, war is natural and is never ending. Once one war ends, another is ready to begin years later. This song is trying to warn us that when we fight each other, we are not only killing ourselves but we are also killing the world. If we continue to fight without stopping, we eventually will not have an Earth to live on; everything will be dead. Ozzy compares the destruction of Mother Earth and mankind to the apocalypse in the Book of Revelation. He sings about having a vision, seeing the world burn, and watching the seas turn to red. This is a reference to the Book of Revelation when John sees the seven trumpets being sound and the angels pouring their bowls onto the world. By killing each other with war, we are breaking God’s commandment of “Though shall not murder/kill.” Ozzy pleads with Mother Earth to show us the way so that we may fight the hatred we have for one another instead of fighting each other.
Has anything changed since this song?
This kind of music speaks to me and makes me wish that such hatred did not exist. What hits home even more is that in Ozzy’s song, he states that history repeats itself; war is not a new issue. This song is on Ozzy’s alb Blizzard of Oz which was released in 1980. How many wars and conflicts have there been since 1980?
This is interesting too…
The other element of the song that is interesting to pay attention to is what is not spoken, but heard. After the last lyric, the song goes on for another three minutes. It’s an interesting instrumental “conflict” between the soothing sounds of the piano and the harsher sounds of the guitar solo which sounds like a battle between two forces. As far as other poetic elements, such as rhyme and meter, this would be considered free verse. While some lines of the song rhyme, it is not a consistent pattern, but done so that the lyrics flow with the rhythm of the song.
Song: Ozzy Osbourne’s “Revelation (Mother Earth)”
King James Bible Online: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/
Wikepedia: Book of Revelation