Death and Song Lyrics

Very early on the morning of November 6th, my grandma passed away peacefully, her wracked, skeletal body stilling and ending eleven months of daily burial.

In the heat of caregiving, when all you can feel is strained muscles, all you can taste is sweat on your upper lip, there is no room for poetry, and the people who sit off to the side in armchairs, seeing the big picture and attempting ameliorating words, feel like clichés.

But when the whistle blows at last and the laborers collapse in a heap, there is a sudden silence. Suddenly, without work to do, your hands twist idly, mind freezes in the cold strange silence, and with long flabby stretches of time and no inclination to industry, then the poetry comes back to usefulness. 

I made one CD mix for my car, a jumbled mix of songs that plays in endless circles as I drive. This poetry help to shout down the emptiness, to bring at least rhythm, if not sense, to the cacophonous thoughts. Here are a few of the most played.

Paradise, by Coldplay
Life goes on and gets so heavy

The wheel breaks the butterfly

Every tear a waterfall

In the night, the stormy night, she’d close her eyes

In the night, the stormy night, away she’d fly

And dream of paradise…

Run, by Snow Patrol


Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I’ll be right beside you, dear…


Desperado, by The Eagles


Desperado, you ain’t getting any younger

Your pain and your hunger,

They’re driving you home…

In the moment of pain, we screech or grunt without thinking. When it’s quiet and still again, though, there is time to search out words for the shapeless animal howls. Through poetry, our own or others’, we weave severed tendons into a tapestry that bleeds and tells the story of bleeding. 

How do you make sense of the senseless? What methods of expression are helpful to you?