Baby Mine

When I was a child, I discovered my baby book – a scrapbook that was sent home with my mother from the hospital, titled The Book of Baby Mine. Being a word nerd from a young age, I was struck by that grammar – “baby mine” – it felt incorrect to me. It should be “my baby” or “the baby of mine,” I thought. (I hadn’t encountered the song by the same name from Dumbo yet, which might be where that title came from.)

Now, years later, being a parent whose first baby recently moved out of the nest – “baby mine” makes a whole lot more sense that has nothing to do with grammar.

You were so sweet you were so bright
You were so deer in my headlights
I helped you out, gathered you in
Held you gently against my skin

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

You are my joy born from pain
You’re the deep happiness I named
You are the laughter kissing my tears
My life restarted when you got here

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

Sleep well darling wherever you are
And know I’m close, though it feels far
I’ll sing for you all night long
These are the words, this is the song:

Baby mine I love you all the time
Baby mine you’re always in my mind

The Road the Day the Ground the Clouds

At last, my #songaweek2022 group used a photo for a prompt instead of a word or phrase. This felt like a game-changer to me in terms of connecting with a prompt for inspiration. I think the photo was of the Great Wall of China, but I thought of a road, then of the song from The Hobbit that starts, “the road goes ever on and on. . . ” and I went from there.

I felt like deliberately slowing down in the writing and playing of this song, and so I did.

If you listen closely and/or with headphones you might be able to hear the crickets singing along outside the open window.

The road goes ever on
And over it a song
That if you hear will draw you near
to where you never know where you might go

The day lies before you
And with it much to do
But there’s a song that draws you on
To where you always know you’re going home

The ground carries your load
The clouds catch evening’s glow
They’re changing you, and changed by you
Till everything will never be the same

Young and Old

Short and sweet (or bittersweet?) this week – an old poem by Charles Kingsley that lent itself very well to a folk song vibe.

When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.

Hold On Let Go

Last week, after the mass shooting in Buffalo and before the one in Uvalde, my (Lutheran) church confirmed three teenagers including my daughter. A foundational part of Lutheran theology, our pastor said that day, is that we are all “simultaneously saint and sinner.” At the end of the liturgy, we stood and responded together:

Do you renounce the devil and all forces that defy God? We renounce them.
Do you renounce the powers of this world that rebel against God? We renounce them.
Do you renounce the ways of sin that draw you from God? We renounce them.

Our pastor reminded us of these words again after Uvalde. I had a different song started this week but in the dreadful light of these events and with this faith to guide me, this is the one I needed to write.

When you can’t pretend that all is well
but you can’t believe that it’s all wrong
Hold on
Hold on

When you can’t believe humanity
But you can’t pretend you’re innocent
Let go
Let go

We renounce the evil in the heart of us
We believe the healing comes from all of us
Hold on
Let go

When we have no words for what we’ve done
But we understand intimately
Let go
Let go

When we feel the night is all there is
But we know the dawn always comes
Hold on
Hold on

We renounce the evil in the heart of us
We believe the healing comes from all of us
Hold on
Let go

In Good Time

Some good time is what you need to listen to this song because it’s a bit long (just over five and a half minutes, that is not pop music hit material!). And like many weeks, I wish I had more time to add some more instrumentation, especially for this song, because I think it would have made it more interesting listening.

Instead I turned to Rockwell Kent for some beautiful artwork to linger with as the song plays.

Not much I have to say about the writing process for this one, except maybe that I did enjoy the process as it unfolded, yup, in good time. I started early in the week with the musical idea, got a few lyrics going, but couldn’t get much traction in that first session. Let it brew in the back of my mind for a day, did some more writing, took a walk, added a bit, started a different song out of frustration, came back to this one, and eventually ended up with something I feel good about.

Emily Dickinson wrote “there’s a certain slant of light,” which I first heard in a Vigilantes of Love song called “Certain Slant of Light” (from which one of my favorite song lyrics of all time comes – “Tell me your deep, dark secret / Hey, and I will tell you mine / Oh, is that your deep, dark secret? / Oh well, never mind”).

So I owe part of this song to Emily Dickinson and Bill Mallonee. And part to all the birds who’ve been waking me at 4:30 in the morning with their sweet songs. And many more parts to many more lives. Everything’s connected.

Oh the truth we trade for money
Oh the lies we speak for love
Oh the happiness remembered
When the birds come back
There’s a lot to tell our children
and it costs us all we are
Oh we stutter and we stumble
We expand and crack

In good time, in good time
It comes out right somehow
In good time, in good time
It all comes true in the end
In good time

There’s a comfort comes in darkness
There’s a certain slant of light
There’s a patient tender sadness
That can bear no name
And you hold it like a baby
And you breathe it like a prayer
And you keep it like a practice
That transforms your pain

In good time . . .

You’ll know what you know
You’ll see what you see

In good time . . .