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So many tears
So many tears so many fears
For those here and left behind
Tender is the night
So many tears.
I awake each morning preparing for the day
That brings its own heartache when people have their say
Telling how it is with so many sombre words
At times I don’t know what to do so many tears.
My pillow in the morning is so seldom dry
‘Cause even in my dreams I have to say goodbyes
I ask for more and more in strength to take away their fears
But it’s so sad, it’s so sad, as they slip away so many tears.
They all keep on coming for help in their distress
And they so keep on wondering how their hopes come less and less
I know I can bend to carry their loved ones words
But it’s so hard,it’s so hard so many tears.
Late last night I stayed again to comfort those alone
And spoke to family members, direct and on the phone
They asked if I could pass on how much they loved them so
It so hurts, it’s so hurts to have to let them go so many tears.
How can it be this way with no farewell kiss
They ask of me what they have done in deserving this
An old friend once told me just be there for them
And they will see that you care so many tears
Maybe one day there’s a heaven that can lend a hand
To end this misery and somehow understand
But until then I say to all, protect yourself and others
So I no longer have to feel and know so many tears.
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A serious poet would often start by looking at Greek poetic meter to find out what was traditionally associated with sadness. (That, and actually reading a lot of "good" poetry and lyrics. Sting obviously reads a lot I suspect Milton and Keats for starters). Maybe you remember them from high school; iamb, trochee, tribrach, spondee, dactyl etc... A "tragic" meter is iambic trimeter xlslx/lslxlsl/. l is long. s is short. x is your choice. / is a pause. English doesn't really have long and short vowels the way Greek does so we substitute stressed for long and unstressed for short. Try to write three versions of iambic trimeter using different words just to test if it really sounds tragic to your ears.
Another possibility is Threnody which is a wailing ode. It's constructed with elegiac stanzas. Elegiac stanzas are iambic pentameter quatrains having the rhyme scheme abab (cross rhymes). An iamb is one unit of short long. Pentameter means five of those. slslslslsl/. Don't forget the pause created by the /.
Another place to look for rhythms associated with emotions are the European dances. Bouree, Loure, and Gigue are associated with depression especially Loure. Angloise and Courante are associated with longing, sadness, and grieving. Tears of Joy would alternate between sadness and joy so start with a Gavotte rhythm in your poetry then switch to one of the sad rhythms and then switch back again before you finish to recreate the kinesthetic effect of tears of joy.
The sound of the words is also important, or even better the sound of the syllables and individual consonants and vowels.
Which consonants sounds sad if any? Which vowels sound sad? The Indian Hindus even before the days of the Upanishads had the idea that the mute consonants represent the earth, sibilants, the sky, the vowels heaven. The mute consonants represent fire, sibilants air, the vowels the sun. The mute consonants represent the eye, the sibilants the ear, the vowels the mind.
There is an actual field of study in linguistics on the "meaning" of individual phonemes.
In the modern era they say nasal vowels are dark, front vowels are fine and high. Unvoiced stops are thin. Fricatives are raw and hairy. Who knew?
The letter L at the end of a word symbolizes prolongation. In English the letter t particularly indicates cutting so "Tender is the night" might not be the best choice and it's an embarassing cliche'.
Gl means light as in glow and glisten. Kn means small and round as in the word knob. H has to do with housing: hut, home, hovel, habitat.
Consonance and Dissonance play a part too. "Too silver for a seam" and "Oars divide the ocean" are examples of consonance in poetry. "My stick fingers click with a snicker" and "Chuckling, they knuckle the keys" are examples of dissonance.
Rhyming tears with fears makes me cringe. Its too much of a cliche' and it's better not to name the emotion but to show all of the behaviors which someone would deduce as being signs of fear. But you have to choose. Are your trying to recreate the emotion of sadness or the emotion of fear. It can't be both unless some particular fear is causing the specific sadness.
Another consideration is that pretty words have several criteria for most people (they've tested it); three or more syllables, stress on the first syllable a consonant phoneme lmsnrktd in that order. (Think luminious which uses the first four), they have short vowels like schwa, or the vowels in words like lid, led, and lad in that order, schwa being the prettiest.
I don't want to be mean. It's just what comes to mind is Jackie Chan telling Jaden Smith in the Karate Kid, "Your lyrics need.....more lyrics."
Check out String;
"A stones throw from JerusaLem I walked a LoneLy miLe in the moonLight. And though a miLLion stars were shining, my heart was Lost on a distant pLanet, that whirLs around the ApriL moon. WhirLing in an arc of sadness. I'm Lost without you. I'm Lost without you. ALL my kingdoms turn to sand and faLL into the sea. I'm mad about you. I'm mad about you."
Sting is not a good poet. Sting is a GENIUS. Note the repeated use of "L." The use of repeated consonants is called alliteration, and L happens to be the prettiest consonant.
He's targeting the feeling of longing so though he does name emotions, loneliness, sadness, it's not the one he's shooting for. Those are the emotions longing is based on.
He wants the feeling to be deep like the feeling of religious devotion so he uses the word Jerusalem which is three pretty syllables. I bet he worked hard to find it because there aren't that many three syllable words in English which are conversational. All his other L words are only 2 syllables. Tremulous is three but it sounds like an old fashioned Elizabethan poet so he didn't use that obviously.
The linguists tell us that L at the end of a word indicate prolongation as in Mile. Walking a mile is certainly a prolonged endeavor. Sting uses Mile, April, and fall which all end with an an L which we unconsciously associate with prolongation. His walk was VERY long.
The month he chose April is no accident. He could have chosen any month. Why April? Because it has an L at the end so will feel prolonged to live through it. And his kingdoms will take a long time to fall before he can finally see his sweetheart again. Are you crying yet? I am. Because of these, he never actually has to come out and say it will take a long time before he can see her. F#$%ng genius.
The beats he's using to show emotion are walking alone at night, looking at the stars but distracted by a thought. Instead of naming the emotion of longing he's showing us what someone who is in a state of longing does with their bodies. But what thought is that? The stars make him so sad.
Then he finally delivers a specific reason. His kingdoms turn to sand, he's got some of the most expensive real-estate all over the world even adjacent to Central Park in New York but it doesn't mean anything because... because...because of his sweetheart. Soooooooooo romantic. Now I can die happy. He's telling her he's crazy about her. He's not wallowing in a general malaise. He stepped up to the plate and took action to tell her. He's a man. NOT mentioning telephones, emails, cellphones, texting. Very unromantic so he left them out.
Maybe "A stones throw from Jerusalem" is a metaphor for how close to religious feeling his love really is for his sweetheart. It might be a bit different from the depth of religious feeling but not by much so only a stones throw. Although he probably has been there on tour.
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Here's what you need:
A stronger title.
Next...the length isn't the problem. It’s not that it's long but doesn't say anything new past the first vs. On the positive side it appears to be well metered...a rarity in sloppy modern songwriting.
Weed out half of it, then write a bridge that goes beyond complaining to WHY you're crying. Something simple but specific. A tight, striking couplet with a good rhyme.
First, come up with a better title.
And beware of all pretense...
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