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Friday, September 2, 2011

If I Were a Carpenter


Each Friday we provide the link to the blogger who is hosting a celebration of poetry around the blogosphere. There you can find the links to the many other blogs that are posting poems (new and old), discussions of poems, and reviews of poetry books. It’s also a great way to explore the internet.

Enjoy the festivities!

The host this week is Tricia Stohr-Hunt.

You can find her here.


(The Intercepted Love Letter by
Carl Spitzweg, 1808-1885, German
Romanticist painter and poet)

Rhetoric is the art of using language to persuade.

Poetry is full of rhetorical devices, like alliteration, metaphor, simile, and the hypothetical.

The hypothetical uses conditional clauses and verbs in the subjunctive mood to suggest the impossible and the improbable, or to express wishes and doubts and uncertainties and suppositions contrary to fact. If we want to comment, for example, on an impossibility, we might say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” (using a conditional clause), and when a friend sneezes, we say “Bless you!” (using the subjunctive mood to express the wish that God bless him, that he enjoy good health).

This rhetorical device is especially useful to those poets and lyricists writing about love. One songwriter who made the most of this was Tim Hardin (1941-1980). He took up a total of four different trades in his famous ballad pleading for the affection of his beloved.

The hypothetical works its magic by expanding the possibilities, by allowing a wide range of examples for the expression of love.


IF I WERE A CARPENTER

If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?

If a tinker were my trade
Would you still find me,
Carryin’ the pots I made,
Followin’ behind me?

Save my love through loneliness,
Save my love for sorrow.
I'm given you my onlyness,
Give me your tomorrow.

If I worked my hands in wood,
Would you still love me?
Answer me, babe, “Yes, I would,
I would put you above me."

If I were a miller
At a mill wheel grinding,
Would you miss your color box,
And your soft shoe shining?

If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady,
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?
Would you marry me anyway?
Would you have my baby?

My favorite is the version by Bobby Darin.

3 comments:

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Awww (I swear that was my initial reaction, hahahaha). I love the lyrical quality of this poem - sounds like a song, really. Thank you for sharing this. Love visiting your blog. ;-)

jama said...

I like the Bobby Darin version too! Love all the art you share with your poems!!

Mary Lee said...

Your pairing of today's (old) art and (modern, musical) poetry is perfect!