Making Poetry Into Bluegrass Lyrics

Recently I came across an old copy of collected poems by Ogden
Nash,(1902-1971) an American poet hailing from Rye, NY. Best known
as writer of humorous poetry. Nash loved to rhyme and he was fond of
crafting his own words whenever rhyming words did not exist.

Reading through some of the poems I was struck by the fact that many
of them were reminding me of song lyrics, just because of the rhythm of
how they read. I thought it might be fun to actually convert one to a
song lyric and one title in particular, “Don’t be cross, Amanda” seemed
to fit the bill.

I made a few word changes here and there to make the rhythm of the
stanzas flow better and also substituted a few modern phrases for ones
that were a little too antiquated to be understood.

So here it is: “Don’t be cross, Amanda”

Don’t be cross Amanda, Amanda don’t be cross
For when you’re cross Amanda, It drives me to the sauce
You won’t speak or look my way
Then give your head toss
Amanda, dear Amanda, don’t be cross

Do not frown Amanda, Amanda do not frown
For when you frown Amanda, I wobble like a clown
I stutter like a creaky board
And spatter on your gown
Amanda, dear Amanda, do not frown

Don’t clam up Amanda, Amanda do not clam
For when you clam Amanda, I don’t know where I am
What did I do to be accused
That I did you damn
Amanda, dear Amanda, do not clam

Please be gay Amanda, Amanda please be gay
For when you’re gay Amanda, the stars come out by day
Like a flop eared mule on a sunny day,
I kick my heels and bray
Amanda, dear Amanda, please be gay

Well as you can see, this poem with it’s excellent rhythms and timeless
theme makes a fine bluegrass lyric.

Now I would like to invite all of you to invent some chords to go along
with the lyric. Right off the bat I can see an opportunity to place an
unexpected chord change between the next to last and last line where
the rhythm of the stanza breaks from the previous lines.

I have come up with a couple ideas of my own but I would like to see if
any of you can come with something cool.

Mail your submissions to:
Ogdenly yours !
Mel Paskell

Mel Paskell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *