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Too Much Too Young - The Ex-Communicator

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March 4th, 2010

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07:56 am - Too Much Too Young
So this (below the cut) is the poem I have written about the lyrics of 'Too Much Too Young' by Jerry Dammers. Strange to write a poem about a poem (link above is to the lyrics).

Many poems implore the reader to marry and have a child. For example a lot of Shakespeare sonnets say that. This Specials song takes the opposite view, saying 'what an idiot you were to get married and have a child'. It is influenced by the Jamaican Lloyd Charmers' song "Birth Control" ('Oh no, no gimme no more pickni').

I was eighteen when this song reached number one. I completely agreed with its premise - I didn't want to get married and raise a family. Now, I am a married woman with grown up children, and I feel more ambivalent. I dislike the way that teenage mothers are vilified. On the other hand I do agree that birth control should be celebrated. So - ambivalent.

Therefore my poem is called Two-tone.


to my beloved - look not in your glass
reflecting on the waste of years to come
or the inevitable silvering of time

do not inflict yourself repeatedly upon the earth

be sterile
for the world is over-peopled
and this town
is coming like a ghost town
so do not warm your oven -
like a mayfly
above the long water

for the ten-year winter comes, when the
dance halls will close
and the factories will dissolve
and teenage mothers will be vilified
alike by bishops, ministers, and boys
berating lovers
for their faithlessness

refuse to give yourself
to those who would diminish you
like the bride of emptiness
like a firework loosed into the dark air
give yourself to me

in the bathroom look into your glass
and ask your replicated face
is it better
to be remembered in this song
is it better to be recorded in this flesh
to burn up in the sky, and leave no trace

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
I really like this.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 11:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. It's very hard to write to a commission, well for me anyway. And the pressure seems to have brought out tensions in the group.

One person (an anti-Zionist Jewish guy in fact) wrote a poem criticising the war and anti-Moslem violence. Another poet said he should include references to 9/11 and the 7th July bombings for balance! As my other mate said 'It's a poem not the BBC'.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
'It's a poem not the BBC'

Quite right. And I think too that critique has to start from, "Here's what I thought you were trying to do in your piece; here's how successful I thought it was." If the other poet wants balance, perhaps they should write that poem?
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
Having said that it was an excellent lively group last night. I did make that point, that balance and accessibility will come from the collection not necessarily from each piece. I think it will be all right on the night.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Do you know Brassens' "La non-demande en mariage"? See here for lyrics, though in a weird form as the English translation and the french are line by line. there's a vid here
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
I don't know it, thanks that's a lovely delivery, more loving than the Specials lyrics
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
I like this, the way you've chosen to answer the question, the working in of the Specials 'Ghost Town' lyrics and concepts. And I particularly like the way the last verse brings it all together.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and I was also thinking of 'Mirror in the Bathroom' by the Beat.

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