Who Loves You

“Against” is not necessarily a negative word. Nor is “close.” I was thinking about this when I jotted down the first verse of this song months ago. You can lean against someone for comfort or protection or just to feel cozy. You can sit close, draw close, in love; rather than close your mind or your heart or your door. The hard s or the soft s, the adjective/adverb or the verb – they all come from the same Latin root.

The prompt for week 48 of #songaweek2021 was “tell me everything.” When I sat down to write my song last week, I revisited that first verse idea and then looked up the prompt for development ideas. I wanted each verse to set up some sense of juxtaposition – things that feel at odds that actually aren’t in a true love relationship (which is not at all limited to romantic ones). So the prompt helped me write verse two.

As I was playing the first two verses the song felt a lot like a lullaby. The first verse felt reminiscent of late nights holding my second baby, who would wake up crying hard and long and simply would not be comforted. I ached for him to just relax into my arms, against the warm loving body of his mother, but he’d twist and fight until he wore himself out.

I can be that baby too, with the people closest to me. I don’t want to open up and share my pain and mess with you. I just want to blame you for it, pick a fight to use up some of this bad energy I’m feeling.

Verse two describes the kind of loving conversation I think crying babies like me most need – a listening ear and heart, a recognition that you can never completely understand but that you want to know me. “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” said Simone Weil.

The juxtaposition in the first lines of the last verse may feel harsh on the first listen. But we all know it’s true, in any and every relationship – and I think in the most deeply loving ones we find gentle honesty about it. The song ends with a reminder that morphs into a question that is also about paying attention.

Lean up right against me
You don’t need to fight against me
Come close, don’t close yourself away

Tell me everything
You don’t need to speak a word
I know, I’ll never understand

I am here for you
Until I am gone away
You know I’m not the only one
Who loves you . . .

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