Dead Poets

from by Baba Brinkman

/

lyrics

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

I’m livin’ every day with the dead poets’ society
Rioting inside my head, so it requires me
To keep every word I’ve read close beside me
Inspiring me to never go quietly

I’m posturing like I’m the offspring of Oscar Wilde
The foster child of Geoffrey Chaucer; now
Hip-hop’s the trial I face here, so I adopt the style
But I've got to make clear that since my eighth year
I’ve been possessed by Shakespeare and William Blake’s spirits
And still I wait to hear a voice like T.S. Elliot’s
And Percy Shelley is the first to tell me just
How to speak out of turn and keep my verse rebellious
I read Keats and learn from a grecian urn
How to reach eternity through the gyre where Yeats purns
So I can meet Traherne, plus I’m a freak like Burns
With his twenty-some children, though I’m still a young pilgrim
And I’m buildin’ a temple from the skills my tongue’s yieldin’
So I feel like John Milton; paradise is lost
For the thrill; I’m John Skelton crossed with Wordsworth
And my zeal is unwelcome in George Herbert’s church

I’m livin’ every day with the dead poets’ society
Rioting inside my head, so it requires me
To keep every word I’ve read close beside me
Inspiring me to never go quietly

For a challenge I’m known to approach talent shows with
Poems that I stole from Edgar Allen Poe’s lips
Opium hits dope Alexander Pope’s wits
I was Samuel Coleridge in a trance when I wrote this
And I awoke with the whole song done
I felt the soul of John Donne; Andrew Marvel
Taught me to chase the sun; I can’t make it stand still
So instead I’ll make it run, with puns denser
Than Edmund Spencer’s, and modern lyrics
Modeled on Robert Herrick’s; when I dispense words
It’s like a forge is firin’, and I’m strikin’ the iron
Inspired by Lord Byron when I’m writin’ the Siren
Song; evidence of desire went wrong
And lost innocence; my memory’s gone
In a sense, Tennyson has been reborn
In a form with the fingerprints of Henry Vaughn

I’m livin’ every day with the dead poets’ society
Rioting inside my head, so it requires me
To keep every word I’ve read close beside me
Inspiring me to never go quietly

As a poet I’m conscious of the goals I accomplish
That I owe to accomplices, and when I’m feelin’ honest
My conscience bids me to admit to stealin’ sonnet
Styles from Philip Sydney; I’m fulfillin’ a promise
I gave Dylon Thomas to rage against the dyin’
Of light; I’m like Adonis: I’m still a novice
But I already got the skills to thrill a Goddess
Or start a riot in the heart; that’s why it’s pounding
I’m Thomas Wyatt’s foundling; on Ezra Pound’s wings
I fly, quietly grounding my weight on the past’s crutches
I’m Robert Browning, and this rap is “My Last Dutchess”
I’m puttin’ the last touches on the way it’s sounding
In strange surroundings my grasp clutches
For balance; I spin words, recalling how fast structures
Fell and splintered at my feet like Alan Ginsberg
That’s how I’m ensured power of speech, and now I’ve been heard

I’m livin’ every day with the dead poets’ society
Rioting inside my head, so it requires me
To keep every word I’ve read close beside me
Inspiring me to never go quietly

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments...

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so...

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes
On what wings dare he aspire
What the hand dare seize the fire...

As holy and enchanted
As 'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover...

Who'd stoop to blame this sort of trifling
Even had you skill in speech, which I have not...

Well those passions read, which yet survive
Stamped on these lifeless things...

To whom thou sayest "Beauty is Truth,
Truth Beauty, that is all ye know on earth
And all ye need to know"

Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run

credits

from Swordplay, released April 20, 2004

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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