Poetry and Music Pairings: Beatles Edition (Vol. 1)
The Beatles are one of the most beloved rock bands of all time. Their songs have captured the hearts of listeners through profound melodies and unforgettable lyrics. Their discography got me thinking about the library of poets whose messages captivate readers in a similar way. These six pairings capture the harmony between some of our favorite Beatles songs and our favorite poets—and I hope they give you a new and exciting way to enjoy them both.
Hey Jude & Cleo Wade
“Hey Jude” is a powerful anthem about love and fighting for the things and people that matter. It’s a call for listeners to step into the full experience of love: to fail, make mistakes, and get your heart broken, but to keep showing up anyway. The lyric “take a sad song and make it better” immediately brings to mind poet and activist Cleo Wade. Her words are an inspiring source of encouragement for people to come together and create the change they long to see in their world.
All My Loving & Courtney Peppernell and Zack Grey
This Beatles song is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced a long-distance relationship. Its lyrics focus on keeping love alive, even when you’re apart from the one you love. The perfect complement to this song is Courtney Peppernell and Zack Grey’s newest collaborative poetry book, The Space Between Us, which dives into the realities of relationships that have known and endured distance.
Blackbird & Iain Thomas
Blackbird, my personal favorite Beatles song, is a gentle song full of pain as well as hope. It’s about overcoming adversity and learning to fly despite life’s challenges and changes. The lyric “take these broken wings and learn to fly” reminds listeners that strength can be found in seemingly hopeless scenarios. A poet who echoes this sentiment is Iain Thomas, who frequently writes about mental health, helping others to see that they aren’t alone in the darkness. “Blackbird” paired with Iain Thomas’s words is an anthem for the broken-hearted that acknowledges the pain while also encouraging the freedom that comes with vulnerably processing and healing through poetry.
Dear Prudence & Morgan Harper Nichols
“Dear Prudence” is a song that feels like a chat with an old friend when you really need it. The upbeat melody encourages your heart to hope and to look forward to all that can still be. Morgan Harper Nichols is a beautiful encourager through her poetry as she writes a lot about finding grace in new seasons and blooming in unexpected ways and places. Her words feel like a sunrise for our souls as she sheds light on beautiful and hopeful perspectives that can help us get up and greet the day with courage and renewed strength.
Let It Be & John Mark Green
“Let it Be” is a song for lamenting and processing. It is reflective as the listener thinks back on their heartbreak, but there is still a melody of hope interwoven in the lyrics: Hope that things will make sense someday and be made right. Hope that, while things may feel dark, there will always be light. It also gives us permission to not have all the answers. Sometimes, we don’t understand the purpose of our pain, but “Let it Be” reminds us to hold on to faith right in the middle of uncertainty. John Mark Green’s poetry holds the same beautiful sentiment of hope despite pain. His poetry is reflective and thoughtful as it explores the difficult emotions we all experience and the wisdom we learn along our journeys.
With a Little Help from my Friends & Yung Pueblo
This song is a fun, catchy tune about the power of community and how our friends and support systems are vital to living life. Yung Pueblo writes extensively about healing, and part of the healing process is leaning on the support of friends and loved ones. Pueblo writes beautiful tributes to the people who have walked alongside him. His words are a reminder to us that our healing is deeply connected to the concept of community, and we process and persevere better when we do it together.
There are so many incredible Beatles songs waiting for their poetry match. Be sure to keep your eyes open for another edition of poetry and music pairings in the future.