Poems To Inspire Song Writing

Song writing and inspiration go hand in hand. The written word is one way that can influence song writing.

Poems about love can inspire love songs, while poetry that yearns for something can create music that also features a sense of loss and wishing.

In this blog, I will feature a variety of classic poems that are perfect for song writing.

Let the words inspire!

Poem #1: Emily Dickinson / Wild Nights – Wild Nights! / 1861

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!
Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

In Emily Dickinson’s poem, her lines reveal the story of a lover in the midst of a raging storm, sending the wind and ocean in a frenzy.

What song can this poem produce?

A song writer can certainly be most inspired by the imagery and freedom that the term, “Wild Nights” creates. A wild night can be compared to the similar instance of lovers or the persistence of nature and the surrounding world.

Oceans often act as similes and metaphors in poems, songs, and other stories. Using the motion of water and the violent lashing of waves in a storm, can steal the show of any song. Nighttime can also produce a lot of beauty, adding to the tune’s description and visualization.

The rhythm of the poem appears to match perfectly with a more classical or synth-pop style.

Poem #2: Robert Frost / After Apple Picking / 1914

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree 
Toward heaven still, 
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill 
Beside it, and there may be two or three 
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. 
But I am done with apple-picking now. 
Essence of winter sleep is on the night, 
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. 
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight 
I got from looking through a pane of glass 
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough 
And held against the world of hoary grass. 
It melted, and I let it fall and break. 
But I was well 
Upon my way to sleep before it fell, 
And I could tell 
What form my dreaming was about to take. 
Magnified apples appear and disappear, 
Stem end and blossom end, 
And every fleck of russet showing clear. 
My instep arch not only keeps the ache, 
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. 
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend. 
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin 
The rumbling sound 
Of load on load of apples coming in. 
For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking: I am overtired 
Of the great harvest I myself desired. 
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, 
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall. 
For all 
That struck the earth, 
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, 
Went surely to the cider-apple heap 
As of no worth. 
One can see what will trouble 
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. 
Were he not gone, 
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his 
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, 
Or just some human sleep. 

In Robert Frost’s poem, he describes hard work, exhaustion, and the approaching of seasons through the repetitive act of apple picking.

What song can this poem produce?

Apples are the fruit of focus in autumn, but they all must be picked in order to be given to hungry eaters and avid apple cider drinkers. The mix of language and rhythm can make a reader question reality and dream-like states.

The dreamy atmosphere and touch of approaching seasons can lead into powerful song writing as lyrics relate to realism, while instrumentals remind one of something more dreamy. This poem can inspire experimentation with word and sound to combine something more tangible into something unfeasible, truth versus questioning.

The topic of the poem appears to match perfectly with a country-styled beat.

Poem #3: Sylvia Plath / Firesong / 1956

Born green we were
to this flawed garden,
but in speckled thickets, warted as a toad,
spitefully skulks our warden,
fixing his snare
which hauls down buck, cock, trout, till all most fair
is tricked to faulter in split blood.

Now our whole task's to hack
some angel-shape worth wearing
from his crabbed midden where all's wrought so awry
that no straight inquiring
could unlock
shrewd catch silting our each bright act back
to unmade mud cloaked by sour sky.

Sweet salts warped stem
of weeds we tackle towards way's rank ending;
scorched by red sun
we heft globed flint, racked in veins' barbed bindings;
brave love, dream
not of staunching such strict flame, but come,
lean to my wound; burn on, burn on. 

In Sylvia Plath’s poem, she uses intense imagery and visualization, creating comparisons.

What song can this poem produce?

The poem’s exposition is that of a garden with the mentions of flaws and brokenness.

Much comparison takes place throughout the lyrical lines, making the reader form interpretations of its true meanings. The question of a relationship throughout the piece encourages secretive verses. Moreover, the use of alliteration throughout creates catchy phrasing, as well as vivid beauty.

The interpretation of the poem appears to match perfectly with a love song in the pop rock genre with some serious Amy Winehouse vibes.

Which poem was your favorite of the three listed above?

What poem, not featured, do you believe can also influence song writing?

List them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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