The Comparison Song

I could compare you to a summer’s day,
Or, if you prefer, a winter’s night.
I could compare you to the moon unphased,
Or the sun at dawn, noon or in twilight.
All lovely things I can compare you to,
But there’s not one that can compare to you.

I could compare you to the sweetest tune,
Or, if you prefer, the sweetest kiss.
I could compare you to a sacred rune,
Or the lores, that tell of eternal bliss.
All lovely things I can compare you to,
But there’s not one that can compare to you.

Choose any flower that blooms in the spring,
Or any leaf that turns in the fall.
Choose stars, or rainbows, angels, songs birds sing,
Or the sky, or sea – any thing at all!
All lovely things I can compare you to,
But there’s not one that can compare to you.

No, there’s not one that can compare to you.

07.?.2003 – 07.31.04

To hear this song on MySpace, please click here ( Thank you.



Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.



Notes to this poem…

This was the lyrics to the first song I had ever completed, the songwriting being the culmination of a few things coming together and me taking a leap of faith. After years of writing classical poetry, moving out to Vancouver and back to Halifax, I joined the Dalhousie Medical School Chorale. Among many awesome singers there, I tried to improve my singing by doing so at home, but could not stand doing it without accompaniment so I got myself a guitar and taught myself. Unfortunately, one guitar does not a band make and so I started doing arrangements. Some of these arrangements became rather creative to the point I was that close to composing my own song. With that musical background and a classical poetry collection from my past, I figured I could take the leap to put it all together to write songs instead of just writing poems and doing musical arrangements.

It seems to have worked, although my pace for songwriting has been dreadfully slow, in part because I haven’t committed the proper time to it that it deserves. That changed this year, in 2008, as I am annotating this set of lyrics, and the songs are coming together at a faster rate, but still slow. It is nice, I must say, to have a whole set of poems from which to draw ideas and lyrics for songs which are reasonably close to a final format because the set forms have rhyme schemes and even meters. It’s just a matter of some rearrangement and addition of lines to make poems into songs, in many cases. This is an excellent example.

This song lyric was drawn from Sonnet IV. It is basically the sonnet with the final couplet inserted after each four line stanza, although the original was a Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnet, meaning there was no four line stanzas but rather 8 and 6 line parts to the 14 line sonnet form. I make it sound easy and it was easy, the idea, to convert this Sonnet IV into these lyrics. Unfortunately, other poems I have written do not fit as easily, nor is the tune always easy to find. Most of the year in which I took to write this song was spent looking for the melody, not doing anything else related to the song. I must say, though, from my personal opinion, I am most pleased with the tune I got out of it. I just dread having to wait a year for a good tune for any song if that were to be the case!

I got to perform this song live at Sherbrooke Village as part of songwriting camp on Jul 3, 2008. It got a pretty good response from a paid audience, and because of SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), I will be paid some small amount for it, too, an idea that’s still quite quaint in my mind – me performing for pay. Fortunately, I don’t need the money so I’ll just frame that cheque when it comes. You should know that while I laugh at the idea of me performing for pay, deep down, the only reason I am framing that cheque is because I am betting it will be worth a lot more in the future, uncashed, than what cashing it would ever get me today.


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