Daily Archives: November 1, 2006

What’s This Song About, Mommy?


I’ve had Dave Matthew’s Busted Stuff in my car CD player for about a week now. There’s only one song on the whole thing that I don’t really like, and several on it that I really do.

Both of my children are highly literate and, as a result, are very keen on figuring out language. Punkin’ Pie, in particular, wants to know what things mean. We’ve had more than a few conversations, she and I, about song lyrics and the nature of poetry. She’s still working with the idea that poetry can mean whatever it means to HER – that it doesn’t have to mean only what the author intended. I’m not sure she’s quite gotten control of her authority over a text yet, but she’s certainly giving it a good workout.

Yesterday, Punkin’ was home from school with a croaky cough. We were in the car on our way back from the grocery store to fetch some more Ricola drops when Raven came up on the Dave CD. It’s one of my favorites on the album, and I turned it up a bit so we could really enjoy it. When the song ended, Punkin’ asked me to let it run again, so I backed the player up to the beginning of the track and we listened again.

When the song ended the second time, a little, froggy voice from the back seat asked, “Mommy, what is that song about?”

“Well, that depends. What do YOU think it means?” I asked.

“Well,” she said, hesitantly, “it’s about an old man and his son. And the old man is giving his son something that’s broken, something that he didn’t take very good care of. I don’t think the boy wants to forgive his father for being so careless with it, either.”

I’m often astounded by how insightful my daughters are.


Raven

What you got what you got in your hand? – a father said to son
I got the whole world here, Daddy, between my fingers and my thumb
Well you take care of it please – it’s the only one
Well, it would take me a lifetime, old man, to undo what you’ve done
To undo what you’ve done

Oh, come on now, boy, think what would Jesus do?
He’d shake his head like an angry mother – spoke the boy – and say I did what I could do
But you take care of it please – it’s the only one you got
And it’d take ten lifetimes, boy, to undo what I’ve done

Boy shrugged walked away
The man stood and watched as he was leaving
Boy just walked away
The man stood alone thinking

One hand is bleeding and the other hand holds a gun
While everything is open everything is shut down, down, down
Begin to ending is really just a go round and round and round
As I stand here – the ground beneath is nothing more than one point of view

What you got, what you got in your hand? Your secret’s safe with me
Well, I found the truth, friend, let me whisper in your ear
Take good care of it please – it’s the only one there is
Can I twist it, please, can I give it just a little twist

Boy shrugged walked away
The man stood and watched as he was leaving
Boy just walked away
The man stood there twisting

One hand is bleeding and the other hand holds a gun
Everything is open now everything is shut down, down, down
No one is holding even if you even if your sure
You never know it all the ground beneath is nothing more than my point of view

Boy shrugged walked away
The man stood and watched as he was leaving
Boy just walked away
The man stood there twisting

One hand is open and the other hand holds the gun
Everything is open now is everything coming down, down, down
No one is hoping even if you even if you know
You never know it all – nothing more than, nothing more than my point of view

Boy shrugged walked away
The man stood and watched as he was leaving
The man stood there twisting

I’m convinced there’s an excellent short story to be built around “one hand is bleeding and the other hand holds the gun.” That line haunts me.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized