Lyrics & Poetry

I will be adding creative writing of Lyrics and Poetry to my Blog here.  I think it is important for people to practice the Arts, regardless of talent. I believe it helps one develop inspiration that can be applied in other areas of one’s life. Ancient civilizations believed this, but it was lost somewhere along our path to modernity.

For more on this, you can read my Dec. 3, 2012 post on Innovators, or an HBR post on The Benefits of Poetry for Professionals.

POEM 1 – RIP published 12/4/12

Poetry’s inspiration comes from moments of clarity, moments of surprise, moments of great joy, and moments of sorrow.  The RIP poem (below) came to me when I heard about the deaths of both a great actor, Larry Hagman, and a great fighter with a lot of heart named Hector Macho Camacho, on the same day, November 24th.

Mr. Hagman died of cancer, most likely brought about by his lifestyle issues. Larry Hagman was best known worldwide for his role as the villain JR Ewing in Dallas. I used to watch him religiously on I Dream of Genie as a kid. As if we needed more reasons to want to grow up to be Astronauts, he and his Jeannie made a generation of boys wish for a career at NASA and a life in Cocoa Beach.

Mr. Camacho died of a gunshot to the face, another brutal end also probably as a result of the life he was living after retirement. I don’t think its too much of a stretch to say that Camacho won some brutal fights that he should have lost, not because of the muscles in his arms but due to the muscle in his heart.

This also brought to mind the earlier passing of Randy Macho Man Savage, who was a very colorful and imposing wrestler. I imagine that the heart attack that took his life was at least in some part probably due to the stress that he put his body through.

I would say that each of these individuals could appropriately be called “one of a kind” people who were driven to achieve stratospheric measures of success in their professions. Like all of us, eventually they returned to Earth, and sometimes in harsh or abrupt ways that make us stop and take notice.

One co-star of Mr. Hagman’s wrote a press release mourning the loss and used the term RIP for “rest in peace”.  When I heard that, I said aloud “rest in peace, that’s what they say” and the rest flowed from there. While the sentiment for using this term is a human one, the poem is meant primarily to highlight the inadequacy of that term to capture the entirety of what is lost when someone dies, and how as a society we continue to rely on that phrase as some sort of illusory balm for the deep feelings that death brings to those left behind. Secondarily, it brings to mind that every day of our reasoning lives we suppress the unwanted knowledge (the shadow) that for each of us, our time of no tomorrows will also come.

Using “Shot down in May”, I also made a reference to lyrics of Sinatra’s song, That’s Life. It  has a similar tone to what I was trying to reflect both in general and also with regard to Mr. Hagman and Camacho; how you go through the troubles and go on with life, and at some point you die. The lyrics to that song also mention many professions (Puppet, Pauper, Pirate, Poet, Pawn and a King).

As we approach the end of the year, I’m always reminded that there have been some deaths of popular personalities that occur each year. Many times they are folks known for high achievement. In rare cases, they are shocking and tragic deaths of truly inspirational and transformative figures like the Kennedy’s, MLK, John Lennon, Lady Diana, artists tortured by the undeniable brilliance of their talent, and well-known people I have never heard of from other parts of the planet.  This generates a wider communal mourning.  Regardless of the professional admiration one has for such high achievers, the non-achiever who lives perhaps a boring and unselfish life is mourned maybe not as widely, but arguably at least as deeply by loved ones.

I wish I could spend more time on this poem to make it better, but for now, here it is.

RIP

  • Rest in Peace
  • That’s what they say
  • The lyrical congealant of communal dismay
  • The villain’s departure
  • With the spaceman he played
  • Wishes won’t grant him
  • One more of life’s days
  • As macho men succumb
  • To the game that life plays
  • Rest in Peace
  • A distasteful cliché
  • To insult love and life
  • The humanity way
  • We stockpile tomorrows
  • Rebuffing in dread
  • As the sun casts its shine
  • Suppressing the shadows
  • O’er our family’s bed
  • The teacher, the fighter, the doctor, the Mom
  • Executive and shoe shiner kneel in their qualm
  • The counter, the driver, the waiter, the star
  • They’ll all belly up to St Peter’s bar
  • As we soothe the passing with an expiring balm
  • Rest in Peace
  • Still there they lay
  • A person’s potential
  • Once exponential
  • Shot down in May
  • Regardless of achievement
  • They garner our bereavement
  • Rest in Peace
  • That’s what they say
  • A poor pacifier
  • To suckle the nays
  • That’s all that we need
  • To get through the days
  • Suppressing the heartache of communal dismay