I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Musical Poem

Looking for a new experience in poetry? I've taken one of my original poems, about Dublin, and set it to one of my original piano compositions; now they are one in the same. They both share the same title: The Siren of Absence. Hopefully, the experience is something new: words, music and images. Just click twice on the play button.




© Copyright, 2007. Seamus Kearney. "The Siren of Absence".

42 comments:

Jefferson Davis said...

Shameless, you are gifted beyond what words can express, sir. I'm an American, but most of my family is from Ireland, and I've treaded every path in Dublin. No, I didn't go with some idiotic tourist group, I went by myself, and found that people were more open to me, but I learned that if you want to talk to people, you've got to go into the pubs.

Anyhow, your poem, along with the music, reminded me of the 1916 Rising and how Ireland has become a powerful nation. A very touching and heart felt poem Shaneless...

You've inspired me to finish a story that I've been working on for quite some time. If you don't mind, I'll post your video on my blog, and link to you in the post. Thanks Shameless... :)

A small part of my family is from Wales, if you are wondering why I have a welsh name, and I'm suposed to be Irish. :)

Shameless said...

Jefferson,
I feel honoured to have made this connection with one of Ireland's "departed". Yes, please feel free to put the video on your site and to link to the post. It would be a great pleasure. Hopefully, it won't always rain in Dublin, as she gets over the pain of all of her loss. I go their about three or four times a year, and I'm working on a novel based there. Goes without saying that that city and that poem is very close to my heart; my father left Dublin to settle in New Zealand after World War II. I love walking the streets there and making new connections with my father's family there.

Shameless said...

The emotion is responsible for "there" becoming "their" in my previous link. Cough cough. Splutter splutter. What kind of writer am I?! Get rid of one of the "theres" in the last paragraph too. Nothing like having my very own subeditor sitting on my shoulder! Just a shame he takes so long to kick in!

Anonymous said...

A very good idea that is very well executed. Thank you for sharing.

I also write while listening to music. The style of the music heavily influences my writing output.

Jessica Schneider said...

Ok you got me crying from that. Shame on Shameless! That was wonderful, Dan loved it too. Do you have a CD? If not, you need one 'cause I'll buy it. It reminded me of Erik Satie, albeit a little faster on the melody, but I love Satie. My friend Art Durkee
(he's linked to me) is also a musician- he does photogrqaphy too as well as poetry. I have no talent outside that of writing. My drawings are so bad they're funny. I never really took to an instrument, and my 'photography' is the result from my crappy camera phone. But that's ok.

That was a very moving piece, it really captured the feeling of loss. It was great. I'm going to link to it on my blog. I'd love to hear others, like on a CD...

Jessica Schneider said...

PS- nice hands.

Jefferson Davis said...

Shameless, when I stated "Ireland", I intended on saying, "The Republic of Ireland". An enormous error that shouldn't be made, while in the presence of Dubliners. :)

Art Durkee said...

Interesting synchronicities.

I'm half-Irish, half-Norsky by birth. My last name is an obscure Irish one from a small coastal town north of Dublin.

Satie is one of my favorite composers.

Last week, in a very similar mood, I finished a dark ambient piece based on a favorite John Dowland piece, "Flow, My Tears."

Here it is:

http://www.arthurdurkee.net/podcast/LachrimaePavan.mp3

Shameless said...

Thanks Jessica and Art. Your words are very kind. Please feel free to link to the video, or to embed it yourslf on your own blogs. You can get the webpage code on the youtube page. That goes for anyone else as well. I wrote this after a stay in Dublin earlier this year, and I also tried to give the music something Irish but sad.
Jessica, I didn't think the hands were that visible! I also had to be careful to maintain my anonymity, by watching that my face wasn't reflected in the shine of the piano!
And Jefferson, no problem re Ireland or the Republic of Ireland ... I only hear people say Ireland nowadays.
I have numerous original piano compositions, which will probably dribble through to this blog ... who knows, they may just come together one day onto a CD for those who like them. (See the Portugal video I made a month or so back, which also has some original music.)

Anonymous said...

That was amazing - I was transported to Dublin (in my imagination only, never having been there.) The notes played by the right hand seem to speak of the past - a young market girl perhaps? Her heart full of hope. But it's a hope compromised by the more serious undertow of necessity and grief that speaks from the notes of the left hand. Beautiful.

Suroopa said...

This was wonderful Shameless! I follow your blog avidly. In fact I follow most of the Blogs of fellow MNW authors, and the links that they give. It seems such a nice way to be in touch with a community of writers. That quaint, distant sense of a world so different, and yet I can reach out and touch its imaginative scape...Across the Mystic Shore.

Shameless said...

Welcome back Chief Biscuit!
I'm glad I was able to place something in your imagination; that's the beauty of blogging.
And Suroopa, what a pleasure to hear from you. I kept a look out to see if you had a blog for your book, like the other MNW authors, but never found one. I was keen to see what else you were up to: I was also very interested in your environmental group; it sounded like you were involved in some great work there. How have your book sales gone? Bits of your story have come back to me every now and then - I have a brother who has lived in India off and on, and I would like him to read your novel. I'm glad to have you on board.

Jessica Schneider said...

No reflection, as far as I could see, in the piano. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't try to look.

Anonymous said...

I wrote almost all of my 50 thousand words during nanowrimo listening to Tubular Bells.

Shameless said...

Jessica,
First recording was ditched when I spotted my very earnest face hiding in the reflection. It almost got through!
And Jula, Tubular Bells! What more does one need to say. Gorgeous. I played some of that on the piano when I was younger; very addictive.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful piece Shameless. The delicate interplay between the music and words is exquisite. It's more than accompaniment - it is art. I'm a piano player too and find my musical training most useful in construction when I'm writing fiction. I wrote a novel based on operatic form. My imagination's alarm clock is art - especially sculpture.

Shameless said...

Thank you tsp,
I'm glad people have spotted the contrasts that I set out to capture ... I liked the idea of inventing a kind of sad Irish jig! The poem, for me, needed to have Dublin drawn with nostalgia and grief but also a chin up and hint of optimisn that things are geting better there - which, by all accounts, is the case. Thanks for listening and watching! I was also thrilled to get a call today from my Irish cousin in Dublin, who says he liked the piece. That's a new connection I am lucky to have made after the death of my father, who never got the chance to return there from New Zealand.

Miguel Vilas Boas said...

Absolutely beautiful, like all of your creations that I've come across...

Waiting for more! ;)

Shameless said...

I will play it for you in person one of these days, mvb!

Anonymous said...

Lovely, Shameless. You could also try reading the poem over the music.

Have you listened to Grand Corps Malade or Abd Al Malik? Poetry + music is all the rage here at the moment!

skint writer said...

Fantastic Shameless,

Don't suppose you can nip over to Crystal Palace on Saturday and do a gig ;)

Shameless said...

Thanks Hope and Skint,
Crystal Palace? I wouldn't know what to wear!
And I'm going to look up those names, Hope.

Art Durkee said...

I want to refer you to an artist whose music I think you might like (maybe):

http://www.krispenhartung.com/

If you click on Gear on his webpage, you'll find a long list of software tools he uses for his looping music.

One in particular I use myself, that creates effects similar to the sonic landscape in your piece here, is:

http://www.uv.es/~ruizcan/p_vst.htm

The one I use all the time, which your piece reminded me of somewhat, is the Elottronix VST plug-in, which is a software emulation of the Frippertronics delay system developed by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno: essentially, multiple tape delays at different long intevals, feeding back on each other. I used the plug-in prominently in this piece:

http://www.arthurdurkee.net/spacemusic/Overcast.mp3

Another set of freeware tools I really like:

http://www.interruptor.ch/vst_overview.shtml

I'm glad to see text moving in video: that's a technique I am exploring myself, for my next DVD. It's a really cool idea for multimedia presentation, poetry-plus-music-plus-video, that is often overlooked by folks not normally viewing "experimental" video.

i do a lot of re-processing of some of my recordings of my own solo compositions. most of what I do these days is improv; but then I might take it into one of my software editors, and play with it using VST filters, or do a multitrack version of something. Lots of examples of that are on my podcast, which you can find via my home website: www.arthurdurkee.net.

I like the soundscapes you're creating—they're more than just "songs," they're scapes—and hope you continue with wherever your musical ideas lead you.

Cailleach said...

me and Gwion (1 of the many aged nine) have just watched that, Shameless - you really are Shameless!

Gwion is now whistling the tune in the kitchen. As an Irish person it is difficult to hear or watch poetry about a subject like that without worrying whether it's going to come over all paddy-whackery.

I think for the most part your piece works really, really well, and avoids most of the pitfalls of this kind of poetry.

Most of all, setting it to music in this way lends a much more complete vision to the reader/viewer!

Nice hands :)

Shameless said...

Art,
It is wonderful to get all of those links. Thank you. I will enjoy checking them out. I use two programmes for arranging music and sound (also for radio programmes that I've made). One is N-track, which is very good, and the other is Goldwave.
And Cailleach, I'm glad that this has been well received by an Irish household that's not in my family (they will say they like it, even if they don't).

Saaleha said...

Found you via skint. And so glad that I did. That was stunning. I loved every note and then listened a second time so I could read the poem. Movement of hands across the keys is kinda captivating :-)
I was disconcerted though, bcause I thought of a movie I saw this weekend. Five Fingers. Don't watch it, since you are a pianist.

Shameless said...

Saaleha, thanks for your kind words. Five fingers? I haven't heard of it. Don't tell me it's about someone losing one of their precious members?!

Art Durkee said...

Shameless, My very great pleasure on the links. I have a home computer-based recording studio, you probably already figured that out, which is pretty high-end. I use the Sony SoundForge set of software, especially Sony Vegas, to record, edit, and master.

I also have a Mac laptop, which travels when I travel, and is itself a creative workstation, with Photoshop, etc., but also capable of audio recording. It's how I record and/or master most of the podcast, using Amadeus, the greatest little Mac audio software since sliced bread:

http://www.hairersoft.com/Welcome.html

Cheers,

Saaleha said...

Actually the poor guy has all five fingers on the one hand cut off. He is in Morocco doing a 'food program' to assist the impoverished Moroccan children. I shall say no more. It was highly upsetting on many levels for me.

But I was marvelling, the other day, at how so many who are writers have other talents that involve the hands. I know someone who aside from writing beautifully, also does clay sculptures. Another friend paints. I make glassware, having given up charcoal drawing years ago and lacking the confidence to pick it up again. The funny thing is I love math, science and biology to bits. Amazing how diverse the human mind can be.

I listened again. I shall never tire of the images on wind blown Isles, metallic waters and grass caressed by a wind.

Shameless said...

Saaleha,
Someone - who used to be very close - once said to me that I should focus on just once thing, otherwise I would be a "jack of all trades and master of none." I believed that for a long time, until I discovered that it's so much more fun being a jack of all trades. Who wants to be a master of just one thing!

Shameless said...

Geez! Can I get a new subeditor over here, please! I think this one on my shoulder has given up the ghost! My perfectionist side wants to say: sorry, "once" in that last post, obviously, should have been be "one". Luckily my actual posts don't suffer from this mad, reckless, random typing!

Shameless said...

See what I mean! I mean, how did that extra "be" get in there? I could've sworn ...! And is it just me or is it becoming impossible to get those letter codes right when we're posting comments? I normally have to have about five attempts. How difficult is it to read yhutioupoikujygh! Don't mind me, will you. I'm just going to chat away here to myself for a bit, until such time as I've got this subediting thing sorted out!

Jessica Schneider said...

To Shameless:

Meow.

Shameless said...

Jessica,
That just about sums it up!
Your friend Art is a star, by the way!

Saaleha said...

If I were as finicky as you are about comments, I would have had to go through moine thrice. Notice the missing e in because. And yes being a jack of all trades (Jane) is better.

Shameless said...

Saaleha,
Yes, you're right. I will bash out comments and not worry too much. And yes, Jane of all trades. Exactly. I'd like to link to your site if that's OK.

Saaleha said...

That would be great. An honour in fact. I'll do the same??

Anonymous said...

Having spent some time living in Dublin that really struck a chord - beautifully haunting and evocative, Shameless.

And isn't this just one of the great things about blogging and cyberspace - bringing together all the possibilities of a multimedia portal into a wonderful whole of sight and sound - next we just have to figure out the touch and smell bit... :-)

Shameless said...

Atyllah,
I will try to work on the smell and touch bit, to bring to this blog something absolutely unique. I fear it may take a few more years, however! Glad you liked the piece.

Shameless said...

Oh, and Saaleha, yes, I didn't realise you were posing a question about the link. Yes, I would be pleased to be on your list of blogs. I have you on my blogfile already. Welcome aboard.

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