A piece of writing, usually short, that expresses a meaning on many different levels at once. In order to highlight this compressed, multilevel nature, the poet often chooses words that sound good together and have a nice rhythm.

See also rhyme, poetry+, lyrics.

"Poems are never finished, only abandoned."

-- Ezra Pound

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot

William Carlos Williams

Poem (2000)

Artist: Delerium
Studio: Nettwerk
Produced By: Bill Leeb

Track list (Main Disc):

  1. Terra Firma (featuring Aude)
  2. Innocente (featuring Leigh Nash)
  3. Aria (featuring the Mediaeval Baebes)
  4. Fallen Icons (featuring Jenifer McLaren)
  5. Underwater (featuring Rani Kamal)
  6. Myth (featuring Joanna Stevens)
  7. Nature's Kingdom (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw)
  8. Daylight (featuring Matthew Sweet)
  9. Temptation
  10. A Poem for Byzantium (featuring Joanna Stevens)
  11. Amongst the Ruins

Track list (Bonus Disc, Limited Edition only):

  1. Silence (featuring Sarah McLachlan; remixed by Airscape)
  2. Flowers Become Dreams (featuring Kristy Thirsk; remixed by Deepsky)
  3. Inner Sanctum (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw)
  4. Nature's Kingdom II (featuring Jenifer McLaren)

Review

An album by the ethereal/electronica band Delerium, released by Nettwerk Productions in 2000 CE. Poem is probably the most pop-ish of Delerium's releases to date. There are many problems with this album, mostly due to Rhys Fulber's departure from the band. Fulber was Delerium's musical half; in interviews he has stated that Bill Leeb would come up with concepts, write lyrics and bring in samples, while Fulber was the one who actually turned the concept into music. This album suffers enormously for being without him.

I can just imagine the conversation that the Nettwerk recording executives had with Bill Leeb when this album was suggested:

"Bill, we've got a whole buch of little-known Canadian singers on our label, most of whom can't sing for shit. But we've signed them, though, so we have to make money off them somehow. Go do some decent backing music for them so fewer people will notice how bad they are, and the Americans will buy more of our albums."

Most of the singers on this album are terrible. They're the sort of two-tone caterwauling hacks you expect to find on cheap house dubs. The only saving grace of this album is that Delerium's backing is stupendous... for pop music. But virtually every song on the album lacks the complexity and innovation of Delerium's earlier work (probably due to Fulber's departure), and is unfortunately saddled with some really bad singing. Most of the tracks would be much better if the vocals were edited out.

The most disappointing thing about this album, though, was to find Delerium re-using a bunch of their samples. Ordinarily I wouldn't have a problem with this, but I've noticed five or six samples that are really obviously left over from Karma (Delerium's 1998 release) that were just patched in because they filled a gap. Once again, this is probably due to the fact that Rhys Fulber wasn't around.

Now, here's the shocker:

I didn't hate Poem. There are enough tracks on the CD to still make it worth listening to, if not actually worth buying, unless you're a raving Delerium fanatic like me. Here are the really good ones:

  • Track 3: Aria, with vocals by the Mediaeval Baebes, lyrics by Katharine Blake, and music by Katharine Blake and Bill Leeb. The best track on the CD. The Mediaeval Baebes are British, and all sorts of sexy, and... well, read my node on them. Drool, swoon, and drool some more. One of my favorite singing groups of all time. This song alone would make this CD worth buying, if it wasn't already on the Mediaeval Baebes' album Undrentide, which has sixteen other beautiful songs on it as well. Plug, plug.
  • Track 7: Nature's Kingdom, with vocals by Kirsty Hawkshaw, written by Kirsty Hawkshaw and Bill Leeb. I don't know what it is about this song... it reminds me of what would happen if you crossed Sarah McLachlan and the Cocteau Twins with Lycia in one of their more lucid moments. It's pretty. Really pretty, actually. I listen to this song a lot.
  • Track 8: Daylight, vocals and lyrics by Matthew Sweet, written with Bill Leeb. Matthew Sweet's a pretty fair singer, although I don't go for his style of voice that much. I like the song overall, though.
  • Track 10: A Poem for Byzantium, vocals and lyrics by Joanna Stevens, music by Bill Leeb. Definitely, emphatically a pop-ish song, but well-done enough that I actually enjoyed it.
Those are the tracks that really stood out. There's other decent stuff on there, too, but definitely give this album a listen before you decide to buy it, if you can.

Irises


Contemplating Hiroshige's woodblock of irises
in my room
as the Chinatown cherry blossoms begin blooming
I picture the century of men before me
pleasantly inspired
for whom the blue tints of time
in Hiroshige's print
awoke the heart's hummingbird dance
for the laborious turning of the ground.
It is as if

by engraving them as painters
the human-ness of a flower
becomes real.
Through the woodblock
the little garden blossoms become wise men
much as the Buddha smiles from a living lilac.

Po"em (?), n. [L. poema, Gr. , fr. to make, to compose, to write, especially in verse: cf. F. poeme.]

1.

A metrical composition; a composition in verse written in certain measures, whether in blank verse or in rhyme, and characterized by imagination and poetic diction; -- contradistinguished from prose; as, the poems of Homer or or Milton.

2.

A composition, not in verse, of which the language is highly imaginative or impassioned; as, a prose poem; the poems of Ossian.

 

© Webster 1913.

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