Kiwi pop songs reimagined as Shakespearean sonnets

By Toby Manhire In Music, Poetry, The Internaut

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14th April, 2014 Leave a Comment

Among the many things you probably haven’t thought of doing with your spare time is rewriting popular New Zealand songs as Shakespearean sonnets.

The unnamed people behind the Tumblr site “Sweets to the Sweet As”, however, have.

And they’re very good at it.

The unlikely songbook reshaped into 14 line poems includes these lines:

This inn we’ll sully; for’t we have no care;

On isles of theatre, we’re the queens and kings.

The traffic of this stage we give to ye.

Oh Bacchus, let us live that fantasie!

That’s Lorde’s “Royals”, of course.

*

And this:

If bliss thou seek, quaff deeply of this draught;

Dismiss its auld companion from thy mind.

For joy untrammel’d ale and lips may craft,

So heed no more those vessels left behind.

That’s from Th’Dudes’ “Bliss”.

*

For Straitjacket Fits fans, this will be clear enough:

Eluding the Assizes’ grasp, she speedeth!

‘Come speed with me,” she beckons, as my teeth

Make my pipe quiver – freedom’s what it needeth.

She burns, she burns, she rideth with the wind.

I’ve need of her far more than of my mind.

(“She Speeds”.)

*

“But till that time when thou and I are one,

No warmth feel I from this cold April sun.

That’s from Dragon’s “April Sun in Cuba”.

*

Stray not, stray not, and take thou not thy leave.

Oh were I much too clever for these woes.

I trust thou knowest how they make me grieve

And on occasion hold me in their throes.

[...]

Say, wilt thou stay? Oh do not come and go!

Sway thou my way, of thee all I must know.

From Bic Runga’s “Sway”.

*

And, to finish:

This recollection hath been bugging me;

I vaguely seem to mark thy countenance.

Our meeting’s spectre haunts persistently,

Oh, when and where? Dost thou recall, perchance?

[...]

And now are heavens blockèd by thick cloud.

I wonder ‘pon a lonely eve like this.

Thou seemst familiar, oh thou seemst so close.

Upon this night, who loveth whom the most?

Zounds! That’s the Exponents.

 

Read these in full, and more, here

h/t Lyndon Hoood

 

See also: Poet wants us to print out the internet. All of it

A poem for Paula Bennett

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More by Toby Manhire

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