Rock and roll rhetoric: White Room

“In the white room with black curtains near the station.

Black-roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.

Silver horses run down moonbeams in your dark eyes.

Dawn-light smiles on you leaving, my contentment.”

White Room (Brown, Bruce), Cream

Maybe a text-book example of asyndeton in rock lyrics. Poet and lyricist Pete Brown paints his scenes in staccato phrases:

Black-roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.

 Or

 Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows.

It’s a powerful effect that builds a scene – or a case – phrase by phrase, image by image.

While we’re poking around in the lyrics, don’t you just love these parallel images, one in the opening verse, one in the final:

Silver horses run down moonbeams in your dark eyes.

 and

Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes.

 And, what about those poor tired starlings?

Here’s Cream’s farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall:

From the 1968 album Wheels of Fire:

Wheels of Fire (1968)

Wheels of Fire (1968)

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