Musical Influence No. 1 “More Than a Feeling”

        A long time ago, I heard someone say “it’s easier to swim downstream, than upstream.”  That statement was based on the idea that we need to find the things in life that we are good at doing, and let them carry us downstream.  That, of course, is much easier than constantly fighting the current.  I suppose, though, it all depends on where the stream is headed; as it’s always a good idea to swim away from waterfalls….  Boston’s song “More Than A Feeling” reminds me of this philosophy, and consequently has greatly influenced my writing.  I’m sure I’ve heard the song many, many times, but it was only a few years ago that I made the connection.  I suppose you might say:

“I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away”.

        After making the connection, I decided that writing was one of the things in life that I was good at doing (or, at the very least, enjoy doing).  Not long after, I started writing my collection of poetry.  Since that day, I have to admit, I’ve had the feeling that I’m flowing downstream instead of upstream.  As it turns out, though, occasional rapids are impossible to avoid.  Fortunately, I’m used to them now.  No one is perfect, nor is the world, and occasional bumps are to be expected.  It is easier to deal with them, though, when you’re facing the right direction.  Even then, however, you should never underestimate the value of proper training.

        One of my favorite poems, “The Cool Morning Air,” deals with a similar theme.  On the surface, the poem appears to deal with the morning waking process.  Going deeper, though, the poem addressed the awakening of one’s consciousness.  Through this awakening process, the hidden path, or the current you are meant to follow, becomes visible.  I recently wrote another poem that dives deeper into this idea.  That poem, though, is an integral part of “A New Beginning…”, so I can’t discuss it yet.  In the meantime, I leave you with these words from Boston:

“It’s more than a feeling
(More than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play
(More than a feeling)
I begin dreaming
(More than a feeling)
‘Til I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin’ away”.

Poetry Influence No. 1: “Traveling Through The Dark”

        Undoubtedly one of Oregon’s most famous poets, William Stafford is one of my favorite poets and I have selected his poem “Traveling Through the Dark” as my number one poetic influence.  Stafford has a style similar to Robert Frost in that it has been described as deceptively simple.  Similar to Frost, Stafford’s poems reveal a distinctive and complex vision upon closer examination.

        I’ve tried to follow the example of Stafford and Frost as much as possible with my poetry.  I believe my best examples of this style are my poems “The Cool Morning Air” and “Fly Away.”  Stafford’s poem “Traveling Through the Dark” deals with nature, death, sadness, and making tough decisions.  My favorite lines come at the end of the poem:

“I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.”

        Two wonderfully simple, yet complex lines of poetry.  I couldn’t have written them better myself.  Just like the entire poem, these lines tell a story in and of themselves.  Below, I have included a YouTube video that is an excellent rendition of “Traveling Through the Dark.”

The Cool Morning Air

The cool morning air,
Awakens my consciousness.

Its gentle breath,
Reminds me of life.

As the sun slowly fills the sky,
My sluggish spirit lifts.

Drowsily my eyes open,
Seeing the pale blue sky.

The stars that laid me to rest,
Have gone back into hiding.

Like an unending alarm clock,
Songbirds beckon me to arise.

A new day has begun,
And it wants to play.

My body tries to join,
But it is still deep in slumber.

I leave it behind to float away,
Along the hidden path.

by Cody McCullough


Photo by Elizabeth McCullough