Happiness

I got an e-mail this morning from Scotland’s Alan Edwards, proprietor of the This Moment blog, in which he wrote (in part):

“A few months ago I read your poem ‘Happiness’, which I thought was really amusing and sharply written. I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty recently of setting it to music and thought you might like to hear a (rough) version of what I and another musician friend here in Edinburgh did with it, using a couple of guitars and an old TEAC 4-track tape recorder.”

I’m tickled not only that Alan took the time to do so, but that he also perfectly captured the rural flavor of it in the process. Wanna hear it? Here ’tis: Happiness.

I continue to be bemused and awed at the weird ways the internet makes things happen. Here’s a poem written in Upstate New York about a farm in the Carolinas, with the name of a town in Vermont grafted in because it sounded better, recorded by a musician in Scotland for your listening pleasure, wherever you might be.

As the poetry project winds down, I’ve been thinking about what happens to the works (or at least the good ones) when I’m done. I have sent pieces to various literary magazines and the like (and will do more when the year is up), and I am planning to send a chapbook out with Christmas cards this year. But since 90% of my poetry writing prior to this year ended up being set to music, I’ve always figured that it would be nice to have some of these end up that way anyway. Thing is, I’m self-aware enough now to know that my lyrical skills are far better than my melodic skills, so I’ve considered that the perfect scenario would be for me to play Robert Hunter to somebody else’s Jerry Garcia, and let him or her do the hard slogging through chords, notes, clefs and the like.

So if any of you reading this are musically inclined and interested in tackling some words that aren’t your own, let me know. All I ask for is proper credit. And a share of the royalties if you come up with a hit. One of my favorite songwriters in the Capital Region has already taken a few to knock around, so I don’t know where, what or when that’s going to turn out. We’ll see, I guess.

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