Something on my mind

You know that experience when a piece of music gets embedded in your consciousness so it keeps cropping up every moment your attention isn’t fully fixed on a task or a conversation? It can be any kind of music according to your tastes.


Some years ago a classical orchestral tune got into my mind while I was on a long-distance trail (the English Coast to Coast). It was quite repetitive and went well with the steady walking. I tried analysing it, working out what kind of music it was, what period and who might have written it. I though possibly Sibelius. Then suddenly after days it came to me – not Sibelius but Beethoven, the March Funebre from the “Eroica”. In that instant the music vanished and I could not recall it. When I got home I played the CD and there it was. It was replaced at the time by an Irish folk song (The Two Sisters) from a Clannad collection with the very appropriate line “so then she sank in the rushy swamp”.


In the last few days I found myself trapped with Joan Baez singing “Silver Dagger”. I hadn’t listened to a Joan Baez recording for ages. I found the CD and played it. That took “Silver Dagger” out of my mind and replaced it with “Fare thee Well” (“Ten Thousand Miles”). After a couple of days of that in the background came a change. “Silver Dagger” came back.


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  1. The chorus of Nell Bryden’s new single “Wayfarer” kept me awake for over an hour last night. Just the chorus. Over an hour.

  2. Thanks. Well described. Pleased to have found your blog and I’ll come back for more. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now).

    • Thanks, Thom. The blog is mostly poetry – poems and discussion of poems – but I’m widening it out a bit now. Anyway, what’s “If I should prove false to you/ The day shall turn to night” if not poetry?

  3. And I have an update. This morning I woke up to find “Fare thee Well” had elbowed out “Silver Dagger” for a second life.

  4. Oh yes I am quite familiar with that song stuck in mind thing though as I am not a song person, I just like listening to songs when I am in the mood so this sticking thing irritates me sometimes. Love your choice off songs.

    • Thanks, White Pearl. Do you know them? Joan Baez sang a lot of American, English and Scottish folk songs and Clannad, mostly Irish folk songs.

  5. It’s sometimes wonderful when we get a song in our minds — only it’s less wonderful when that song won’t go away… I totally know that feeling!

    • Having the Beethoven piece in my mind for three or four days’ hillwalking didn’t bother me at all except in that I couldn’t identify the piece. It fitted in with a steady rhythm of walking so well – which may be why it surfaced. It’s irritating if, like some adverts, repetition highlights what you don’t like or if it distracts you.


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