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Years Before Yesterday

Posted by The man 
The man
Years Before Yesterday
January 04, 2006 03:18PM
Years Before Yesterday

We-ll, let me show you history
Arcane knowledge, mystery
Me and Elvis Presley
In juke box café society

Speeding down the motorway
On my way to Alum Bay
Me and Elvis Presley
Years before yesterday

All shook up with devilry
Dancing to the revelry
Of Phil and Don Everly
Me and Elvis Presley

To the sea on motorbike
All the way to Devil’s Dyke
Me and Elvis Presley
Wild in the country

Surfing on the summer spray
On a long, eternal day
Me and Elvis Presley
Years before yesterday

All shook up with devilry
Dancing to the revelry
Of Phil and Don Everly
Me and Elvis Presley

Back in London once again
Bored and restless, catch a train
Every Sunday down the Lane
It’s Now Or Never’s full refrain

To the ringing rhapsody
Of the pinball melody
Me and Elvis Presley
Together In Arcady

Underneath the holly spray
Hear the crickets chirp away
Me and Elvis Presley
Years before yesterday

All shook up with devilry
Dancing to the revelry
Of Phil and Don Everly
Me and Elvis Presley


Peter L Simons – August 1997
Conscious Pilot
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 04, 2006 04:11PM
Grumpy
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 04, 2006 05:11PM
An elegiac work which puts me in mind of, say, Housman's "Land of Lost Content" or Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill". I like that line "Years before yesterday" which evokes the sense of before before, the time claimed by the pluperfect tense made manifest. I always feel that the pluperfect is the most melancholic of the conjugations; there is something ineffably sad in the finality of the particle "had" and it is a triumph of this poem that the word is so heavily implied without once being used. Another champion line "It's now or never's full refrain" echoes Eliot's Prufrockian moment of decision ("I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker..."winking smiley. In the time of "had" it was devilry, revelry, seaspray and motorbikes, wild rock n' roll and pinball and jukeboxes, me and Elvis, the feeling of being vibrantly alive. Later, after before, in the time of "has" it's bored and restless routine, the Sunday visit down the Lane. You sense the response to the "now or never's full refrain" might be a regretful "never".

"There will be time / To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” / Time to turn back and descend the stair".

From a rhythmic point of view, there's a clever syncopated feel to all the stanzas with the exception of the "Back in London" verse which has a regular beat in keeping with the repetitive sense of "every Sunday". Thus the contrast of the excitement of me and Elvis with the boredom of Sunday down the Lane is reflected in the metre.

(By the way to anyone interested, the answer to my festive teaser in Zoki's pet lover's thread is they're all characters in "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame).
The man
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 04, 2006 10:28PM
Wow Grumpy, I wish I could review poems like you or even understand what you mean. The yesterday" in 'Years Before Yesterday' is actually a reference to a song of that name written by Paul McCartney and recorded by the Beatles. Years before 'Yesterday' refers to a pre-1964 era. I like Eliot and was heavily influenced by Prufrock, I've read a bit of Housman but not the poem you mention. I've not read Dylan's 'Fern Hill' but I've heard his great song 'Changing Of The Guard'.

Reel
jb welda
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 04, 2006 10:35PM
i keep expecting someone to break into a chorus of bye bye miss american pie or some such dreck as that. now *thats* some serious poetry.

not.

one love
jah bill
Grumpy
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 05, 2006 06:58AM
You may well know the Housman poem, Penny. I rather arrogantly gave it a title it doesn't have; actually it is just a number in the Shropshire Lad series. If you ever saw the film "Walkabout", it's read out at the end. I think it is as near to perfection as a poem can get.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the Land of Lost Content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went,
And cannot come again.

I should have got the Beatles reference but missed it I think because "yesterday" was not capitalised. Well that's my feeble excuse anyway. One of the things I like about your poem (which is what I was attempting to refer to) is that your "land of lost content" is the deep past as compared with a still fairly distant past rather than, in Housman's case, with the present (ie the difference I was trying to draw in verb tense terms between the past perfect and the simple past - between, say, "I had finished" and "I finished"winking smiley
HIGHPRAISE
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 05, 2006 07:23AM
>"or even understand what you mean."< ..L O L :}
Conscious Pilot
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 05, 2006 05:05PM
the Sunday visit down the Lane. You sense the response to the "now or never's full refrain" might be a regretful "never".

Are they singing Now or Never down the Lane of White Harts this season Jah Reel!?
;0)

Great poem,
A bientot,
Pilot
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 05, 2006 05:25PM
Next on the BBC's "The Over-intellectualization of Reggae": Prof. G. Stephens reads from his new 577-page thesis "Bob Marley: Burning and Alluding...to What?"
Re: Years Before Yesterday
January 05, 2006 05:58PM
Ha ha, appreciate that "burning and alluding...to what". You are a man of well-tailored wit, my dear Stamina.

Clarity has never been my forte. Have been told I could obfuscate "the cat sat on the mat".
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