Words change me.
I am a writer, after all, so that makes sense. Or at least it does to me. When I read good pieces of writing, I don’t easily forget the words, and because I’m a writer, I know how carefully words are chosen. Whether it’s an essay or a blog post or a book, it doesn’t matter. If it’s true and good, then I remember it and let it seep into my mind, let it wash over me like a storm.
I’m a stone’s throw from the mill,
and I’m a good walk to the river.
When my workin’ day is over,
we’ll go swim our cares away.
Put your toes down in the water
and a smile across your face,
and tell me that you love me.
Lovely Lady May.
But most of the time, it’s song lyrics that change me.
They shift my perspective in some way.
They can literally change the beating of my heart.
They tell stories that break me or restore my faith in humanity and love. Sometimes, a song comes along that just knocks me in the gut. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s not something I just forget.
Now I ain’t the sharpest chisel
that your hands have ever held,
but darlin’ I could love you well
’til the roll is called on high.
I’ve seen my share of trouble
and I’ve held my weight in shame,
but I’m baptized in your name.
Lovely Lady May.
Kyle laughs at the way I cling to a song when I love it, listening to it over and over until I know every syllable, every beat. But he also knows that I know song lyrics better than a lot of people for this reason, and I often analyze the meaning of songs in my mind, trying to figure it out.
I look up lyrics that I can’t make out in a song and I study them. And when the song’s really good — like chill-bumps-all-down-your-arms good — it’s like heaven to me. Good lyrics aren’t just catchy or beautiful. They’re poetry.
Lord, the wind can leave you shiverin’
as it waltzes o’er the leaves.
It’s been rushin’ through my timber
’til’ your love brought on the spring.
Now the mountains all are blushin’
and they don’t know what to say,
‘cept a good long line of praises
For my lovely Lady May.
Words are real, living things. They float through my eyes or ears into my brain, whipping around like leaves in the wind, and they land there.
And they stay.
There are certain songs that I can listen to forever, never tiring of them even if they tear me in two. This song is one of them. Tyler Childers has produced a piece of authentic, honest poetry. It takes a true artist to compare himself to a tree and break every listener’s heart while doing so. The entire album is poetic, and the vinyl hasn’t left my turntable in weeks. Every song speaks to me in some way, but this song is just so beautifully haunting that I can’t let it leave. I never want it to end. It made me feel something about love that I hadn’t felt before, and that’s the point of music, isn’t it? The point of poetry?
I can’t get these words out of my head, or the feeling that they cause. And I don’t foresee it leaving anytime soon.
Now I ain’t the toughest hickory
that your ax has ever felled,
but I’m a hickory just as well.
I’m a hickory all the same.
I came crashin’ through the forest
as you cut my roots away
and I fell a good long ways
for my lovely Lady May.