Culture, Poem

Urban Melody/Melodia Urbana

Urban MelodyMelodia Urbana

This poem is my first collaboration with Adriano Yamamoto, a very talented Brazilian poet. We wrote this poem together considering issues of modern society, consumerism and the lack of affection and human connection. After reading Culture Monk’s post, I just knew this was the topic to go with.

How does this poem make you feel? Do you believe that modern living causes us to isolate ourselves? Do you believe that it’s a huge contributor to the depression epidemic?

73 thoughts on “Urban Melody/Melodia Urbana”

  1. Im not quite sure what is happening to the world, but in norway I know that having lots of money has really changed the society. People used to go visit each other unanounced all the time, just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat, kids used to play in the streets, more mums stayed at home when their kids were little, people used to smile and say hi on the streets and talk to each other on the bus. That hardly happens anymore. If you want to meet up with someone you have to schedule an appointment 2 weeks in advance, and if you need someone to talk to then you will be recommended (in an sms from your friend) a therapist, kids are too busy going to soccer practice, yoga practice, dance lessons, piano lessons, etc to have time to play, and mums start contacting day care centers when they find out that they are pregnant. I feel that so much of the warmth is gone, so much of the care and compassion. It is little bit sad. I have always been opposed to all this consumerism, materialism, and self-centeredness, but it is quite lonely some times. Some times people even refuse to take what you want to give, because they are afraid of being in debt or having to give you something back. I grew up around all this and that is why I am not so happy in my native norway. Some times I think: how should I love someone who doesn’t even want to be loved, cause they think loving others is just a burden that they dont want in their life?
    Oh, I am so so sorry that this became so negative!! You know I am such a joyful person, but this is my greatest sadness in life, to see a world that has gone so cold that it is not even letting me love it. I dont need to receive love, but if I cannot give love then that is just too sad!

    1. Hello Sweet Trini. Such a soft heart you have, my friend. I like everything you said, noted, mentioned. I, for one believe that, at least in the western world, things have been gradually changing since the start of the Industrial Revolution. There is a theory (that I find quite interesting) that there is a general difference between hot climate cultures and cold climate cultures. The cold-climate cultures place a great importance on task and goals. The hot-climate cultures place a higher importance on relationships. I see it between Canada and Brazil, as I’m sure you do between Norway and India. If you make an appointment with someone in a cold climate culture, you are expected to show up on time, if not 5 minutes early. In a hot-climate culture, no doubt being on time will ever be normal, nor expected. Have you ever heard of the book, “FOREIGN TO FAMILIAR – A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures”. I think you might find it quite interesting. The author even speaks of how she believes that cold-climate cultures used to be more like hot-climate cultures until the Industrial Revolution. Anyhow, if interested, you can check it out here:
      A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures

      Whew, ok. Concerning a lot of what you wrote up top, yes, yes, and yes. I stay home with my kids. We live a simple life. We don’t have all sorts of stuff, nor spend a ton of money on things. My kids aren’t in any and every program that’s out there. And they are so happy. They value time in family. My son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, absolutely loves his family. On Saturdays he’s just beaming with joy and love because he knows that we will be together all day. A few weeks ago, he and my daughter climbed into be with me and my hubby and he says, “I love my family”. To me, there is no money or material thing that can beat that.
      I also hear you loud and clear on the loving thing too. It’s funny, because you think to show care and give time to someone, but then you already know (or at least feel/think) they don’t want it. Hmmmmm.
      Really sad indeed my friend.
      THank you so much Trini for your amazing comment. You’ve enriched the conversation here.
      Love and hugs
      🙂 ❤

      1. Thank you for your lovely lovely reply!! 🙂 I love everything you said! 🙂 Yes, there is a big difference between norway and india. I live like all the other indians here, no fancy expat life like many other westeners, I have also lived with an indian family for a long time, kind of like a host family, and they see me as their daughter, so I have really felt how it is to live here. And trust me, there are difficulties here that just drive me out of my mind!! simple things that just cant be done. So there are good and bad aspects. Typically, when I am in norway I miss india and when I am in india I miss norway. But that is okay. Thank you so much for the book recommendation!!! 🙂 🙂 It looks really interesting!! 🙂 I really want to read it 🙂 and I just have to say, your son sounds so adorable!!! 🙂 🙂

      2. Hahahaha. I have to laugh out loud, because I feel the same way. I love living here in Brazil, but there are things that drive me crazy, just like you with India. However, when I get to Canada, I end up thinking that some of Canadian ways are crazy, and Brazil wins then.
        When we lived in India, we were living amongst all Indians and Napalese people. It was a great experience, but we did butt heads at somethings sometimes.
        Awwwww, thank you so much for saying that about my son. He is the sweetest little guy. If you would like to see a picture of him, you can see here in this post:
        Thank you so much, sweet Trini.
        🙂 ❤

      1. and I forgot: Lots of Love and a big hug to you too!! 🙂 ❤ P.s I have my academic background in comparative religion and intercultural communication so I could just go on and on about cultural differences!! 🙂 🙂

      2. Hahahahaha. I’m sure you could. Wow, what a great academic background to have. I’m sure we could have some rich conversations.
        Love and hugs to you.
        🙂 ❤

  2. Your poem is an absolute beauty that describes truths of this modern world so perfectly. Yes, this modernization and technological advancement has isolated ‘human’. In addition to the collective dilemmas, it has created many individual problems too and depression is the biggest one of them. Love your perspective of describing things.

    1. Hi Sweet Lala. So nice to see you here, and thank you so much for your kind words. Isolation is truly a deadly thing for human beings. We were made as social creatures that need community and connection. When that’s gone, then loneliness and depression creep in, unfortunately. Even the most introverted person, that is energized by being alone, needs to have their ‘fix’ of social contact.
      Thank you, once again, my friend.
      Hope you’re doing well.
      🙂 ❤

  3. Superb! So beautiful are these moments constructing the masterpiece called LIFE. Certain phrases though saddening are very profound. Hats off to both of you. Wonderful work! Stay blessed!

    1. Thank you so much Reva. I think so too. I will be moving at the beginning of next year. The place we’re moving to is hilly, full of trees, mico monkeys, there’s a lake, etc. Very nice place. Anyhow, I’ve never woken up early enough before to see a sunrise. I plan on doing so when we move there. I’m not a morning person at all, but I want to experience the break of day and the beauty it has.
      Thanks again sweetie.
      🙂 ❤

      1. Pleasure is all mine, Staci. It is so wonderful to know that your are moving to such a beautiful place………..amidst the raw nature. It seems so tempting to me. The way you are putting your thoughts and plans about moving there is making me expect wonderful poems from you. I think, you would come up with amazing works with raw beauty of nature…..the sunrises, lakes, stillness, sunsets, valleys, cool breeze, Orphic moon on the hill,………….. and what not.
        Wishing you all the precious moments, full of peace and life. Stay beautiful and blessed! Love to you. 🙂

      2. Awwww, you are so sweet, Reva. And what a great way of seeing the moon, ‘orphic’. I must try and push myself with poetry about nature. You’ve given me a great idea, my friend. Thank you so much for that. And I gladly accept your warm wishes of precious moments, full of peace and life. I love peace and living life to its fullest.
        Bless you and tons of love.
        🙂 ❤

      3. Thank you my sweetest pie. Love your loveliness a lot. Thank you so much for the blessings and all the love. I will treasure. May all my feelings of gratitude bless you with multi fold peace, health and happiness. Stay yourself…………the amazing and kind you. 🙂

  4. Yes, I believe that. It’s like riding on a train. You travel shoulder to shoulder with someone, but never acknowledge their existence. That is what technology brings.

    1. Oh yes, and nobody looks at anybody. Nobody talks, or smiles. The younger generations don’t give up their seats for the elderly (that really pisses me off). People are too plugged in to notice what’s right in front of their faces, don’t you think?
      Thanks Rob.

      1. Ohhhhh, don’t get too down though, my friend. Let’s be thankful for the many blessings we have and try not to get sucked into it ourselves. Hehehehehe. Btw, did you get the chance to hear that ‘Bones’ song from MsMr?
        Hope you’re having a good day.

      2. I’m fine, but I often feel sad for the kids growing up in this strange, new world. I did listen to the song! I liked it! A little bit of Annie Lennox in there. 🙂 I hope your day is going well, too!

      3. I hear you. I know what you mean. My mother-in-law fears for her grandchildren. I don’t blame her. It really is strange and new, isn’t it.
        Annie Lennox? Yes? Oh yea, with the lower tone of voice and all eh.
        Yup, my day is going well.
        Thanks Rob.

    1. Thank you so much Neha. Yes, unfortunately, it is a sad truth. I’m moving at the beginning of next year to a nice scenic place with lots of hills, a lake, tress and mico monkeys. I’m not a morning person at all, but I’m going to make a point of waking up to catch my first sunrise. Ahhh, can’t wait.
      🙂 ❤

      1. Oh, I will definitely be getting out my camera for that. You can count on it. Hadn’t thought of posting any pics, but you have given me a marvelous idea. Thanks Neha. Actually, this is the second great idea I’ve gotten from you. I love your window black and white photo. I want to see if I can do something similar, but with the window styles here (they’re totally different than in North America.
        🙂 ❤

      2. That window was actually taken when we visited this resort in India 🙂 but I am sure you will find lots of beautiful pics to share ❤ I can't wait!

      3. Oh wow. I love that picture. Where in India were you? I’ve been to Calcutta, Darjeeling, Pedong, Delhi and even lived a few months in Jaipur.

      4. That was taken when we visited Kerala last year . You should visit, if you get a chance, it is a beautiful place…that picture was taken at a place called Munnar in our mountain resort, it was lovely:) We also spent a night at a houseboat, it was a great experience 🙂 . We did a whole month travelling India, visited Calcutta, Kerala, Gujarat and Mumbai 🙂 I have also been to Darjeeling on previous trips…my husband has visited Delhi and Jaipur but i haven’t had the chance…hope to visit one day 🙂

    1. Ohhhhh, thank you so much Audrey. It’s like Adriano said in his comment when he quote Bruno Guedes, “1 + 1 is always more than two” I really admire Adriano and his poetry. He’s so bloody talented. I need to get myself some of that. Hehehe 🙂
      One step at a time is exactly it. And also, realizing that we are just one person and can only do our tiny little part. A lot of tiny little parts can make a difference, I think.
      🙂 ❤

  5. Brilliant work…fabulous collaboration! ! 🙂 You really made me think about your words …and the cadence of the verses was like one person had written it! Thank you for bringing society’s changing face to the forefront of our collective knowledge! 🙂 ❤ ❤

    1. Thank you so much Lorrie. It was a blast doing this with Adriano. We are both looking forward to working a lot more together in the future too. At the beginning of the year I am moving to the same city as him. Hmmm, let’s see what could possible come about.
      I’m so glad you liked this Lorrie.
      Hugs and blessings to you.
      🙂 ❤

      1. Awwww, thanks so much Lorrie. You bless me with your ‘blessitude’ 🙂
        Btw, I have been looking into artsy and art exploration courses online. I’m thinking of trying out some scrap art journaling. I can even do it with my kids. I think it would be fun. The link I was thinking of is here:
        Also, I downloaded a beginner’s drawing course for free. I’m not that into fine drawing, but I think it would be helpful for understanding a bit and pushing myself a little in the area.
        Thanks for all of your encouragement Lorrie.
        🙂 ❤

      2. That is so great!! I do believe if your heart is urging you to explore this then you have to do it!! I’m so happy for you …and being able to create with your children will be fun!! I will check the link out. Happy creating Staci 🙂 ❤

  6. Wow, Staci! Hats off to both you and Adriano! This is a masterpiece of contrasts against the “bowels of the city” that get to the heart of today’s ills. And then the last stanza brings up all the eternal givens that give us hope in the midst of the dishearteninly realities of this modern world. Thank goodness God is still on the throne and what he put in place eons ago still points in His saving direction! Simply amazing is this! Love and hugs, N 🙂

    1. Ohhhhh, thank you so much Natalie. I’m so happy you liked it and enriched this conversation with such an amazing comment. “The bowels of the city” was Adriano’s line. I loved it. That’s why I decided to make that sort of the strong focus and used it at the end of each stanza.
      “Thank goodness God is still on the throne and what he put in place eons ago still points in His saving direction!”
      –Here here to that Natalie. We can’t let ourselves wallow in the realities we see. We need to keep looking up and making sure we don’t get sucked down into the bowels, but notice the singing birds, dancing trees, the caressing breeze, the paintings in the sky. The things that cause wonder if we take the time to consider them and drink the moments in.
      Thanks again N. Many blessings and hugs to you.
      🙂 ❤

  7. Staci, como já te disse, adorei o resultado poético colaborativo. Como diria um cantor e compositor do norte de Minas, Beto Guedes: 1 + 1 é sempre mais que dois. E é nisso que acredito, no poder de coletivamente transformar as coisas ou pelo menos de torná-las um pouco melhor. Diante dos efeitos colaterais da modernidade, do uso e estímulo abusivo da tecnologia, a parte que nos cabe é colher o caos e reformulá-lo de forma crítica e poética.
    Grande abraço!

    1. Olá Adriano. Uau, que maravilha, esta citação do Beto Guedes. Eu também acredito neste poder.
      Pois é, amei isso que você falou:
      “a parte que nos cabe é colher o caos e reformulá-lo de forma crítica e poética.”
      É assim que nos podemos até fazer uma diferença, mesmo que seja mínima.
      Grande abraço.

  8. This is brilliantly executed, Staci. Your words and this powerful poem is moving. It is true that modernisation/urbanisation has changed us, not essentially but yes for a lot of parts. I see kids these days and they neither know the culture of ‘visiting’ and living among and not along nor do they bother to take an effort. I consider myself to be equally responsible, for most of the times i ignore these necessities that made us who we are now and what has gone cold in this plastic world. I can never figure out what is the correct amount of technology in our lives…Depression epidemic – as you rightly stated, is as much a part of modernisation as it is not, i suppose. I, for instance, have received a lot of online support…and maybe that is what is responsible for the social gaps that i have in my life, even with my friends.
    Loved the poetry, my friend, very insightful. ❤

    1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. And thank you for your kind words about the poem. I have to admit, I don’t know what I’d do without the technology we have today. It’s part of global culture now, and to just get rid of it would be absurd. I think a large part of the problem lies in humanity’s lack of ability to balance things out correctly in life. We are such extremists. The secret is in finding balance.
      Thanks again sweetie.
      🙂 ❤

      1. A very fair point there, Staci – ‘To find the balance’. 🙂
        No worries! Your thoughts are always precious to me. ❤

  9. Wonderful collaboration, Staci.

    I enjoyed reading Trini’s comments.

    I think there is a lot of sadness in the world today, a lot of confusion. We have a lot of toys. Heaven knows I love my toys!

    I love my Sirius XM radio, too. Being a news junkie, I can listen to all sorts of news channels, switching stations as often as I like.

    But sometimes, I just turn the volume all the way down. Too much noise. Too much diversion. I think we’re missing the still quiet voice, you know? I know I am.

    1. I hear you Kate. Sometimes, actually often, I just need to turn volume down. Whenever I turn my car on, the radio automatically comes on. I find it aggressive so I turn it off. However, if I’m in the mood for some music, I’ll usually put on a CD. Hehehe, you like the news channels eh. I can only take the news in small dosages. So much of it is sad and hurts. My mother-in-law thinks it’s not good that I don’t watch more tv and more news.
      Ahhhhhh, the still quiet voice. I love, love, love, love, love. Oh, did I say love? Ok, love once again.
      Thanks Kate.

  10. This post did not appear in my reader! So I’m a bit late to comment 🙂 yes, better late than never… I especially love the expression “plastic truth”… I think we’re living in a world where “plastic truths” are everywhere. It’s so easy to believe in them, to worship them like the golden veal… “rapid consumerism” is another powerful expression in this beautiful poem… I would compare materialist souls to deserts… and spirituality to rain… materialist souls (which is a contradiction in itself) suffer because of… materialism and “plastic truths”… of cours, such “truths” are not the Truth… ah! We should realize we have NOT a “plastic” heart… but a heart made of divine Light… and we have forgotten our true nature. I think religions (or religionS) are a way to (re)find our “true” nature… the last stanza is amazing: it is like the bells of a church and says “wake up!” the world is waiting for YOU – being of light, and you must be able to see beyond the material world!
    Great collaboration 🙂 thank you Staci Lys ♥♥

    1. ” I would compare materialist souls to deserts… and spirituality to rain… ”
      –Ohhh, I love this Frederic. What a great way of seeing things. I’m working on a poem right now where there’s a contrast between the soulful body and the soulless body. What it makes me think of, and I think is a powerful analogy, is ‘bones without flesh’ (simply material -the body) and the ‘body without breath’ (the body without an ‘alive’ soul).
      Beautiful Frederic and thank you for your lovely comment.
      🙂 ❤

  11. Wow great poem and comments. I also stay home and pick up my daughter from school. She is very clear that she wants my attention most of all.. and a lot of it. 🙂 She isn’t in a lot of activities either… I found in my healing journey that I was lacking a connection with myself.. and with God.. A personal real connection.. Great thoughts!
    ❤ Always inspiration here. 🙂

    1. Ohhhhh, wonderful Laurie. And I believe that you prioritize your relationship with her. Very precious. I think it’s so important for parents to present in their children’s lives.
      I’m dead without my connection with God. I need him and am lost without him
      Thanks Laurie.
      🙂 ❤

  12. Great poem/song to begin with. Each line is fantastic. I’m very impressed.

    I definitely think modern living is to blame for much of the depression we live in, however that is not to say that depression hasn’t been in all societies during all times. I think you said it quite well: we live in an age of “plastic truth”, which maybe always existed to some extent, but now I think this “plastic truth” is admired in some ways, by too many of us.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful day so far!

    1. Hi Benjamin. Yes, me too. I really think that modern living could very well be a major culprit in why so many people suffer now-a-day with depression. I’ve done a bit of research on the topic and, even though it has always been around (although way back was connected to melancholy/melancholia), it seems that it has reached epidemic rates in modern times (20th/21st centuries).
      Thank you so much for sharing Benjamin. Great input on the subject. I had never thought of ‘plastic truth’ as always existing (at least in pre-industrialization times). But I think you have a great point. People, I’m sure, have always been put into different classes of wealth and stature. It probably just a bit different back then.
      Fridays are clean-up day, so it’s been that type of day. hehehehe. I hope you’re having a great day too, my friend.

      1. I’m having a strange day, but strange can sometimes be great. So yes, great, I think. I agree with everything you’ve said. It’s very sad to think about. We have so many epidemics that aren’t physical these days, but have a physical component after they reach our minds. Clean-up day sounds pretty good. I’ll have to try having one of those. Have a great one! 🙂

      2. Hahahaha. I had to laugh out loud at your comment, “I’ll have to try having one of those” 🙂
        Spoken like a true man.
        I hope your strange day is or becomes pleasantly strange.

      3. Haha. 🙂 Well, I am a man. I can’t run from that.

        Me, too. It’s going toward that way, I hope. I tried your chocolate banana smoothie. It was pleasantly wonderful, and I don’t really like bananas too much. But now I do a little more. 🙂

      4. Yeah! You tried the chocolate banana smoothy. I’m so glad you liked it. And the bananas have found a little more appreciation from you now too. Right on. Excellent source of potassium. I made myself an avocado/strawberry/acaí (common here in Brazil) smoothy this morning. I also added some crushed cashews and yogurt. It was good, however I prefer it with mango, in place of the strawberries. Plus, I used water, and normally I use coconut water. I was of the coco water. It wasn’t as good this time, but it was still good.
        Hope you’re having a great evening and that your weekend goes super well.

  13. I love the word pictures you all painted with your word choices…exquisite. Staci it is amazing to see how you’ve grown as a poet since I was gone! Keep writing my friend, keep writing!

    1. Ohhhhhh, thank you so much Kirsten. You know I truly admire you as a poet. I’m inspired by you and your gift and passion for creating poems using poetry forms. I once read, “Because we are created in the image of God we all have an irresistible impulse to create and to establish order”, by Steven Altrogge. I love that. Not just to create, but to ‘establish order’. This makes me think of poetry forms.
      Thank you for the encouragement. I truly appreciate it.

  14. Wow, fantastic poem. I love the way the two versions complement each other, matching shape for shape. So often translations lose so much. This hasn’t happened here.

    1. Ohhh, thank you so much Libby. I’m so glad you liked it. My friend and fellow blogger wrote it together. Then I made sure all that he wrote was translated poetically into English and I translated the English into Portuguese. He then fixed up anything he thought necessary in Portuguese. It was a great experience working together on this, and we have plans to work together again. I also did a version of one of his poems not too long ago. If you’d like to read it, you can do so here:
      Thanks again Libby.

  15. I think we’ve become so reliant of technology to connect us that we end up finding ourselves disconnected from humanity. Technology can do much for us, but it can’t mend a broken heart or fix a wounded spirit.

    Great post, Staci! ❤

    1. Ohhhhhh, so well said Heather. It’s so true. I never thought of it that way.
      Hey, I’ve just opened up to your blog. I’ll see ya over there soon.

      1. Looking forward to it! 🙂

        I am very slowly getting caught up on your blog posts, I’ll get there eventually (if my work life would stop taking over my whole life for a second or two….)

  16. Often in the bowls to a city, it’s difficult to find the horizon as shadows cave in upon even green belts to parkland. Living colours darken in the gloom of winters, and summer days fade so fast to the victory of an artifical lit world. Cities are often perhaps, communities without community, untrusting individuals no longer comfortable talking with a neighbour, or offer directions to a lost stranger for fear of a disconnected unknown connecting. Perhaps in our failure to trust and communicate due a bombardment of fears, we close out our worlds we are a part of at times, isolation replaces participation. Cities seem to be more a manufactured existence by town planners, a factory, comprising channeled production lines,conveyor belt mazes, and distribution circuses, more than a genuine ecological system for the living.

    1. What a great comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel close to what you have shared. It all started with the Industrial revolution and has come to where we are today. Oh sure, I confess I like the internet and other comforts that modern life supplies. But if we’re not careful, we can very easily get dragged down into the unfeeling, cold, plastic, materialistic, isolated existence. Replacing the values of taking pleasure in the simple, and natural things of life with rush rush and consumerism.
      Thanks again Sean.

  17. Reblogged this on A God Colored Girl in a Grey World and commented:

    Time has been escaping me. Thought I’d reblog this poem, which I believe is so fitting for the world in which we live today. This piece was a collaborative work that I did with a brilliant Brazilian poet/friend, Adriano Yamamoto.
    I am working on an art piece/poem right now and hope to post tomorrow. As for now, hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy the poem.

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