Poetic Lyrics Appreciation – ‘On the Turning Away’ By Pink Floyd

Once again, I present my praise and appreciation for the poetic qualities of the lyrics of a song by Pink Floyd.

Thinking of poetry and it’s characteristics, I am a member of the website, ‘Writing.Com’, where I have learned a great deal from fellow authors, poets, and lyricists.

A couple of weeks ago I did some reviewing of poems written by a fellow member. One poem was written in the form ‘free verse’ or open verse. To me, it appeared to be writing in normal text sentences that had been split into lines within stanzas, giving the appearance of poetry, and I stated this in my review, I also questioned the validity of it being a poem. A day later, Dave -The Poetry Professor – in Writing.Com replied to my comments as follows.

“Poetry is distinguished by vivid imagery, a lyrical rhythm that supports the theme, and compact language to create an intensity that evokes an emotional reaction from the reader, as the author has done in that first example. He uses special poetic techniques, such as repetition of sounds, words, phrases, to generate a lyrical quality in support of his theme. Personification, when various inanimate objects “say” what the people were like, forms a much stronger bond with the poet’s audience than “normal written text” would ever do.”

Right, so I learned more about poetry, which is wonderful – gulp.

The song, ‘On the Turning Away’, the lyrics of which are highly expressive, was written by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame. The lyrics are brilliant and, even though it is written in poetic form, it contains most of the properties mentioned by Dave (The Poetry Professor in Writing.Com) in his response, as quoted above.

One example of this is the piece, “Light is changing to shadow, And casting it’s shroud, Over all we have known”. This piece, among many other, certainly churns up an emotion and further expectations in my mind.

I suggest that you listen to the song to acquaint yourself with is rhythms and spacing while reading the lyrics. This will attune you to the theme and timing. There-after, read the lyrics alone to experience the quality as a poem.

 On the Turning Away - By Pink Floyd1
   On the turning away
 From the pale and downtrodden
 And the words they say
 Which we won't understand
 "Don't accept that what's happening
 Is just a case of others' suffering
 Or you'll find that you're joining in
 The turning away"
 It's a sin that somehow
 Light is changing to shadow
 And casting it's shroud
 Over all we have known
 Unaware how the ranks have grown
 Driven on by a heart of stone
 We could find that we're all alone
 In the dream of the proud
 On the wings of the night
 As the daytime is stirring
 Where the speechless unite
 In a silent accord
 Using words you will find are strange
 And mesmerized as they light the flame
 Feel the new wind of change
 On the wings of the night
 No more turning away
 From the weak and the weary
 No more turning away
 From the coldness inside
 Just a world that we all must share
 It's not enough just to stand and stare
 Is it only a dream that there'll be
 No more turning away? 

1. From the album, ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ – By Pink Floyd. Released on 14 December 1987

    Music written by David Gilmour.

    Lyrics written by David Gilmour and Anthony Moore 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


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