The Beauty of Words in Film – The Poetry of Paterson

“If you ever left me I’d tear my heart out and never put it back”


Since writing and film are two of the most important things in my life, I think it’ll be fun to have a blog series that focuses on the words used in movies. Not just any words mind you, but the words that could easily be written into poetry or books and vice versa.

So I’ll begin with an obvious choice of film for this series called “Paterson” because Paterson is actually about a poet, poetry, a place and a man all at once. If you haven’t seen Paterson, you are truly missing out as it is an astoundingly beautiful film. I did write a review for this which I am going to be publishing on my movie blog tonight (it was originally published here but now belongs on my other blog). And you can consider whether or not to watch it.

Or you might just be solely interested in the words and they are all so beautifully poised in the film thanks to the genius of Jim Jarmusch.

The poetry in Paterson was written by a famous poet named Rob Padgett who wrote three poems just for the film and provided another three from his published works. There is one poem, one of my favourites that some might be surprised to know was written by the director Jim Jarmusch. This is his poem (which is read by a girl in the film to Paterson played by Adam Driver):

Water Falls

Water falls from the bright air.
It falls like hair.
Falling across a young girl’s shoulders.
Water falls.
Making pools in the asphalt.
Dirty mirrors with clouds and buildings inside.
It falls on the roof of my house,
It falls on my mother, and on my hair.
Most people call it rain.

And the second poem which I also really liked:

Love Poem

We have plenty of matches in our house.
We keep them on hand, always.
Currently our favorite brand is Ohio Blue Tip,
though we used to prefer Diamond brand
That was before we discovered Ohio Blue Tip matches.
They are excellently packaged, sturdy
little boxes with dark and light blue and white labels
with words lettered in the shape of a megaphone,
as if to say even louder to the world,
“Here is the most beautiful match in the world,
its one-and-a-half-inch soft pine stem capped
by a grainy dark purple head, so sober and furious
and stubbornly ready to burst into flame,
lighting, perhaps, the cigarette of the woman you love,
for the first time, and it was never really the same
after that.
All this we will give you.”
That is what you gave me, I
become the cigarette and you the match, or I
the match and you the cigarette, blazing
with kisses that smoulder toward heaven.

Now I have not studied literature so I don’t know what the correct term is for this type of poem but the last part of it just reaches out to me

That is what you gave me, I
become the cigarette and you the match, or I
the match and you the cigarette, blazing
with kisses that smoulder toward heaven.

And the last line is particularly beautiful.

So what do you think of this poetry? Does it speak to you or not? Why or why not? Do let me know in the comments, friends! And if you’re interested in my review on Paterson, you can check that out right here.

Be safe out there, catch you in the next one!

If you’re interested in my other writing pursuits, you can visit my Star Wars and Creativity blog here, or if movies are your thing, you can check out our movie blog right here.

Thanks for your support!

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Freelance entertainment writer, blogger and content creator. Visit my website

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