poetry and music

10 Powerful Songs With Poetic Lyrics

Trigger warning: abuse


During my writing sessions, I need two things: a quiet place and background music. I love to write with melodies inside my mind. As a collector of words, songs’ lyrics have a special place in my heart because they are another form of poetry. Here are some poetic excerpts from ten popular songs that could be in a poetry collection.  


Memory,” written by Trevor Nunn    

Touch me,
It is so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me,
You’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun 


I had to start with this song; my love for it grows every time I hear it. “Memory” is a song from the musical Cats and has undergone various interpretations throughout the history of music. My favorite cover belongs to the band Epica. The song is a nostalgic ballad of the past, but also a desire of a new life. 


Cherry Wine,” written by Andrew Hozier-Byrne   

The way she tells me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine. 


Hozier’s song brings to light a theme that continues brewing in the dark. Through its lyrical beauty, domestic violence is shown from a man’s perspective in which he is the victim. However, the music video clip features a woman as a victim of abuse. Abuse has no genre. Both men and women can be aggressors or victims. 


Killing Me Softly,” written by Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox  

He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair
And then he looked right through me as if I wasn’t there.
But he just came to singing, singing clear and strong  


Have you ever felt the sentiment of a song reflecting your life? I know I have. “Killing Me Softly” explores and mirrors our deepest and private moments, making it feel as if the song was written for each, individual listener.        


“My Immortal,” written by Ben Moody 

You used to captivate me by your resonating light
Now, I’m bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away all the sanity in me 


“My Immortal” is a melancholic song by Evanescence exploring the emotional presence of a loved one. It is a tune full of affection and soreness.       


I’ll Stand By You,” written by Chrissie Hynde  

When the night falls on you
You don’t know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

“I’ll Stand By You” is a tribute to endless love. It explores the idea that true love is free from judgment and encourages its listeners to listen to their partners without prejudice.              


Another Love,” written by Tom Odell  

I wanna take you somewhere so you know I care
But it’s so cold and I don’t know where
I brought you daffodils in a pretty string
But they won’t flower like they did last spring


And I wanna kiss you, make you feel alright
I’m just so tired to share my nights
I wanna cry and I wanna love
But all my tears have been used up   


We cannot be in a relationship if our soul is with someone else. The entire song “Another Love” is an elegy to that very situation. No matter how hard we try, our will is just not there, and sooner or later we must leave. 


A Change Is Gonna Come,” written by Sam Cooke  

I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since
It’s been a long time, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will


“A Change Is Gonna Come” is a song that is more than a song—it is an anthem for civil rights and a message of optimism for all mankind. Sam Cooke wrote “A Change Is Gonna Come” as a protest song to support black Americans who fought for equality during The Civil Rights movement.


Strange Birds,” written by Sia Furler & Birdy        

You’ve always loved the strange birds
Now I want to fly into your world
I want to be heard
My wounded wing’s still beating,
You’ve always loved the stranger inside
Me, ugly pretty


It is difficult to find a kindred spirit, be it a friend or a lover, who understands us exactly as we are. The strange birds in this song are a beautiful metaphor for all of our peculiarities. It is a delightful sensation when we discover like-minded people who love our wild, strange birds. 


The Power of Love,” written by Peter Gill, Brian Nash, Holly Johnson & Mark O’Toole 

The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire


Love is such a powerful emotion. It can wash the dust from us. In troubled times we need it more than ever.      


Say Something,” written by Ian Axel & Chad King 

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you


And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye


I think we all have faced the moment described above. These lines express the sorrow and humility we feel when we decide to leave someone we love. In this piano ballad, the poetic “I” implores for a statement from his lover to make the lyrical voice stay.


Poetry is everywhere and really in every song. Allow yourself to dig deep into the lyrics of the next song you listen to.