Back in 1973, Dolly Parton released a single with the title Jolene. Though I don’t recall listening to much country music in those days, I do remember this song.
Written by Parton, the lyrics chronicle the singer appealing to another woman (whose beauty was “beyond compare” and had “flaming locks of auburn hair“) not to “take her man.” Apparently, Parton has admitted the song is somewhat autobiographical. The song was subsequently recorded by multiple other vocalists through the years and sits at number 219 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. (If you click over to the link, be prepared to scroll down a good bit, from 300 to 219!)
When I posted yesterday’s Jaleen (the poem), I couldn’t help but think about Jolene (the song). The lyrics floating in my head changed from Jolene, Jolene, please don’t take my man and morphed into Jaleen, Jaleen, keep the form to eight lines if you can. Having a song from the 70s rolling repeatedly around in one’s brain can be enjoyable or disconcerting. In this case, it was the latter. Jolene was not one of my favorite tunes.
I might have enjoyed it more if I’d known the origination of the poetic form Jaleen. (I’ve often thought about the old saw – curiosity killed the cat – and figured curiosity might end up being my undoing.) But I’ve rarely been successful about curbing my curiosity. Thinking about the Jaleen form, I found a perfect subject to test my aptitude these many years after completing the first one (posted yesterday).
Take a look at the photo below. This is my four-year-old grandson less than thirty minutes after his three cousins piled into the minivan and headed back to Tulsa with their parents. This little guy had been going non-stop all day Saturday and Sunday so as soon as things in the house slowed down, he quickly crashed.
After snapping this picture, I found myself composing an appropriate Jaleen to accompany the image. It’s pictured below. No matter how often I see a child in this or similar situation – where exhaustion has totally taken over – the pictures are always endearing and win my heart. In terms of country songs, I suppose Dolly Parton might allow the line, Jolene, Jolene, Let’s send this boy to bed!