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Emily Dickinson poetry to… er, tunes. December 18, 2009

Filed under: Arts,Singing — BrujaHa @ 1:33 am
Tags: , ,

If you don’t know it already, this will likely come as a small horror,
particularly to the English majors and poetry lovers out there:

All of Emily Dickinson’s poems can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

As Jane Yolen wrote,

Higgledy-Piggledy
Emily Dickinson
Dressed all in white while she
Eschewed all prose.

Scribbling poems that
Nobody would publish
That all could be sung to
The song “Yellow Rose.”

Give it a try!


Because I could not stop for Death, by Emily Dickinson

To be sung to the tune of “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

Sing two verses at a time to cover the entire tune’s phrasing.

Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
And Immortality. —

We slowly drove, he knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the School, where Children strove
At recess in the ring
We passed the fields of gazing grain
We passed the setting sun. —

Or rather, he passed us
The dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my gown
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the GROUND
The roof was scarcely visible
The cornice in the ground. —

Since then ’tis centuries and yet
Feels shorter than the DAY
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

FINAL NOTE: Emily Dickinson’s poems can also be sung to the tune of Amazing Grace.”

Or the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.

I’ll just apologize now to all the people you will encounter in future with this knowledge in your head.

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One Response to “Emily Dickinson poetry to… er, tunes.”

  1. Morgan Haig Says:

    A local school administrator told Singapore Donkey, “These are the kinds of values we are trying to teach our children.


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