This is a bit different for me, but aside from still being stuck in 90’s alternative rock, I’m hopelessly drawn to psychological thrillers…
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss…
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!
Robert Browning hit a dark cord with, Porphyria’s Lover, a favorite poem of mine about a man who, in his passion, couldn’t let his lover go, or perhaps was tired of her only slipping in it night and leaving before daylight. To have her completely his- to possess that look of love on her face always, he strangles her with her own hair. A bit obsessive, right?
Now take a look at the intensely debated song, Possum Kingdom by The Toadies released in 1994…
I’m not gonna lie
I want you for mine
My blushing bride
My lover, be my lover, yeah…
Do you wanna die?
I will treat you well
My sweet angel
So help me, Jesus
Similar theme, right? After reading Porphyria’s Lover in my first- maybe my second- year of college, I swear I could hear The Toadies jamming out in my head. The lyrics begin with a man asking his lover to take a walk around the lake with him at night, but then the song takes a sinister turn when he says, ‘behind the boathouse, I’ll show you my dark secret.’
And I love how our two psycho men in Porphyria’s Lover and Possum Kingdom throw in religious references. As if to justify- no, that’s not the right word- more like to rationalize the fanatical act of killing their lover to “keep” them preserved and perfect forever. Perhaps they felt God or Jesus approved?
One thing I thought strange, though –yes, I realize it’s all strange, but did you know Porphyria is the name of a disease that causes muscle weakness, sensitivity to light, and mental disturbances? Interesting that Browning chose that as the name of his victim…
So there you go- a brief comparison of one of my favorite songs and favorite poems stirred up by hearing The Toadies on my Pandora earlier today. Any thoughts?