I came across the above quote, earlier this week, while doing some research for my radio show, Never Mind The Sonnets. Weller refers to the lyrics in his 1993 song, The Weaver. He states in the book, Suburban 100, that he wrote and used the lyrics for the way they looked on the page, not for any attached meaning. An abstract song, as it were.
A question I get asked from some readers of my work is what does the poem mean? On occasions, I have to shrug my shoulders and admit I am not sure. Like Weller, the words have come from various sources and put together, more for the way they sound than for any meaning.
Dame Edith Sitwell was one of the first protagonists of Abstract Poetry. Her poetry collection, Facade, was an experiment in aural performance poetry. When she first performed the work, in 1922, it was met with a hostile reception. She recalls at the end of the performance having to, ‘hide behind the curtain. An old lady waited to beat me up with an umbrella.’
Rythm was a key necessity in many of Sitwell’s poems. In her autobiography she describes poetic rhythm as, ‘one of the principal translators between dream and reality.’ Much of her poetry is now perceived as unfit for today’s cultural climate, but she had a valid point on her views about poem soundings.
A Search for Meaning
Throughout childhood, I was hooked on the writing of Roald Dahl and Dr. Seuss. I still recall nursery rhymes, read to me, being enjoyed on a wave of sound as opposed to meaning.
The search for meaning is innate and one of the brain’s primary survival functions. If our brains are searching for patterns and connections, then they are not looking to create mischief.
Weller, Sitwell, and Abstract Poetry have conspired to keep my brain busy this week. I’m still not sure whether they have made any coherent connections, but I thought I would put them out there to see if you can do any better.
Let me know if you do. You can listen to Weller’s, The Weaver, below. Have a good weekend.