I use ‘music’ as a metaphor with a similar weight to the use of architectural forms or elements of nature to communicate more than the selected words permit. Musical inferences have a slightly more reflective connection than most metaphors or tropes because the words of poetry anticipate musicality as a further method to convey the poetic subject. T.S. Eliot went so far as to claim that ‘musicality’ infused its own intelligence into a poem and that a composition’s rhythmic pattern of word-sounds suggested for the alert reader/listener an understanding that surpassed intellectual analysing of the piece.
In music there is an implied invisibility. The visible figures of language on the page or spoken need a harmonious power that is unseen to ensure the poem’s completeness and elegance; words cannot achieve this excellence. John Keats, a century before Eliot, wrote ‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; /Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,/ Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone’. Keats is not only employing music as a metaphor to describe the Grecian Urn, he’s signifying to the reader that we can best value the words when we listen to the less overt semantics of the poem’s musicality. If we cannot understand the meaning of the words we can intuit their inner notes. I hope in my lyrical writings that the reader will leap beyond intellectual comprehension to find something akin to the Sufi masters’ practice of listening to the speaking melodic heart.