Monday, 25 June 2018

The Tribulations of the Lyric Writer

The power of words: pen versus sword
Bad treaties can cause real discord!
Do actions speak out more than words?
Each in its own way the blood stirs!

Words perplex, cause you to pause
Well written, give rise to applause
A well-turned phrase, a loaded gun
Strange how both meanings can be one!

Translators have their work cut out
All versions must have the same clout
They must weigh terms up and assess
Which shade of meaning fits in best.

Both medical and legalese:
Minefields in varying degrees
Ambiguity can be hell
So one must know the subject well.

Interpreters are on their own
Quick-thinking, their skills are well honed
Approximation is allowed
Speed of the essence in a crowd!

But what of those like me, who rhyme?
In my mother tongue that's fine
But a huge challenge comes along
When adapting from a foreign song.

The words must scan, they must make sense;
Though word conceits are fine in French
Songwriting calls for special powers:
Their way of thinking sure ain't ours!

(c) Poet in the woods 2018

Member of the SABAM (Belgian Songwriters and Composers Association) since 1979.

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