Friday, November 27, 2009

Songs of Disrobing and Exploration (youTube Homework Helper)

I took a break while the Finnish cinnamon rolls rise to respond to a query on youTube from a college guy who wrote, in reference to my video "Kirk: To His Mistress":
"Hey I noticed you did a Captain Kirk thing with john donne's elegy 19. I'm doing a powerpoint presentation on John Donne's Elegy 19 for my western lit class, What we have to do is compare how this would still be used today in present time, and i was thinking it would compare a lot to love songs for example like Marvin gaye,Temptations, and so on. We can add Youtube videos to this presentation,so if you can give me some feedback that would be awesome,I also thought about rickrolling everybody at the end of the presentation, it would be good though because the lyrics in never gonna give you up would kinda fit,lol."

Here's my reply:


What a fun project to compare Donne to modern songs of seduction!

A couple themes pop out at me:
1) the man trying to convince the woman to take her clothes off,
2) the theme of sexual exploration ("let my hands rove") being like geographical exploration

So--clothes first:

The first song that came to mind is "Tonight's the Night" by Rod Stewart--it's not exactly "present time", but it's all about seduction and getting the girl to "Loosen up that pretty French gown". I think Donne would recognize it.

For a totally different feel, a current song on the radio that mentions a woman undressing is the country-western song by Chris Young: "Gettin' You Home," though the man isn't having to seduce the woman---it's quite clear she's an equal partner:
"Walking through the front door,
seeing your black dress hit the floor,
honey there sure ain't nothing,
like you loving me all night long,
and all I can think about is getting you home."

I'm sure there are plenty more---it's a classic scene!

I don't think "Never Gonna Give You Up" is a close match, as the guy is promising faithfulness and love, and those aren't really Donne-like themes--he's pretty much a playboy in these poems.... That's why I have Kirk say "and thee" to about 20 women---it's not about monogamy! : )

As for exploration, as you know, Donne lived in an era of exploration by ship--the European discovery of "new found lands" like America. That's why I thought his poem was so perfect for Kirk, with his [space]ship: the original Star Trek was made in 1966-1969, the era of the first moon landing--a time when Americans were excited about exploration of space, and so the show imagined humans in the future--that is, Kirk & Co. in the 23rd century--being explorers. )

But I don't see that hopeful interest in exploration in current 21st century pop culture. If anything, American movies seem more concerned with disaster ("2012") and apocalypse ("I Am Legend")--the 2009 Star Trek movie, for instance, is imagines a post-apocalyptic world, at least for Spock, whose homeworld is blown up.
Off the top of my mind, can't think of a song that combines seduction and geographical exploration the way Donne does, though surely there must be some.

So, those are my thoughts on this morning after Thanksgiving.
Good luck with your project--let me know what you come up with.
My best, Fresca
So, readers if you can think of songs that explore seduction AND exploration, I'd love to hear them--and I'll pass them on to my correspondent.

Oh! Perfect! A commenter notes John Mayers "Your Body Is a Wonderland"

"We got the afternoon
You got this room for two
One thing I've left to do
Discover me discovering you...
Swim in a deep sea of blankets
...Your body is a wonderland
(I'll use my hands)"


Anonymous said...

Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer . . .

Anonymous said...

HEY! I just quick skimmed this and thought: if any genre's gonna have geography and seduction similes in it, it'd prob'ly be the blues--(sourcing u. s.-ian genres, anyway). But, since the blues has African roots...there are vast other possibilities all over the world. Later, I'll try to look up this possible theme in rebetika and Sefardi traditions and Arabic language songs, too--all great poetry. I'm guessing your college guy prob'ly wants stuff from English language sources, 'tho'. AHHH, guerilla geography is such fertile ground! Goin' back to sleepy-town, now!

Love and Leftovers!


P. S. Heck! That's "guerrilla", not "guerilla" or "gorilla" or whatever was I thinkin'?

Anonymous said...

Not Nancy, it's germiegirl . . .

ArtSparker said...

And the shoot - how did it go?

Fresca said...

ANON/Germiegirl: Spot on! Very John Donne indeed, if John Donne were alive with a guitar today! Thank you for that great suggestion. I sent along to the youTuber who wrote.

STEF: Thanks for the thoughts. I'm sure there are lots of good songs in the traditions you suggest.

ArtS: Ooof. I made cinnamon rolls and filmed the first scene today; but most of it tomorrow (Saturday). I will be a limp rag scuttling across a ship's floor...

Russell said...

How do you like my disrobing poem? - David Russell


You're a shaft of light
In my crimson evening.

Let's make each other beautiful;
You in a silver ball gown,
Shoulders shine above it
Above superb resilient breasts.

Slow, sensual dance, rustling fabrics,
Hands, breath to lips and tongues
Held through this breeze.

I've striven in my work-outs
For this moment;
I'm yours to relish,
you're mine to savour.

So now undo me, see legs first
- Yours I'll match
Now find my waist and torso
- Feel at first
And then unbutton,
Peel and see.

In shorts I stand before you now,
You're throbbing for the next -
You take my waistband, draw

Now I'm just in trunks
- Erotic in your smouldering light.

I'll do the same for you, I'm delicate
with zips and buttons, buckles

Release your gown,
A glittering parachute
and you step out
- In what I dreamed you'd wear:
A purple strapless one-piece
Clinging to your toned lovely from

A one-piece proclaims
A woman's fullest power#Coincealing, revealing,
Balance just right - to draw on,
and you can wear one
Before all others.

Now you're my bathing beauty,
I am yours.

The water calls us, shimmering warm;
Let's slice the waves,
Please do the backstroke, let me see
Your breats, your thighs
Thrusting through the surface

And now an underwater kiss
Now to the shore

You lie on me, I rub your back
Our costumes dry, peel off
and now deep cleaving
Of thigh and groin.

You are so deep, so strong in love
Made thunderstorms;
You frightened all the others off
Yet drew me out;
Let me embrace my feminine
In our unrobing

Submission? domination?
Now those terms
Lose all pretence of meaning,
Their boundaries melted, dissolved
In the flooding flames of total love.

You're a shaft of light
In my crimson evening.

David Russell

Fresca said...

Thanks, David. Yeah, very John Donne-like, if he were in a modern athletic swim-suit kind of mood.