Pieces of String
Best thing you can do

Wounded Bird

I don’t know if there is an official musical genre called “The Apology Song” or the “I’m Sorry Song,” but if not, there should be. There are actually songs with those exact titles, I find. Well, I wrote an apology by way of free verse to my wife early this year, and I wasn’t sure it could be made into a song since it didn’t rhyme. My anonymous collaborator told me, “Lots of songs don’t rhyme,” so I paid him to set it to music, and am enormously pleased with the results.

For a long time, I limited the circulation of Wounded Bird [lyrics here] to immediate family, because it is so raw and painful. But this year, since I started writing poetry and occasionally paying to have it made into a song, I have been listening, really listening, to lyrics for the first time in my life. The best songs, the ones with legs, the ones that mean something to people, are “ripped from the headlines” of the lyricist’s life.

After 40 years of marriage, I realized I had some unresolved trauma from a prior relationship. In a grace-filled process, some of it described in this column, I have worked out the trauma this year. I was grateful to my wife for putting up with my invisible wounds for all those years, and Wounded Bird is the result.

In addition to my family, I released this song to three acquaintances who said they were interested. To my surprise, they were deeply moved. Love, like life, is not all peaches and cream, so I decided to share the song more widely.

Some of my love songs hit both the funny bone and the heart. I think this one is laser-targeted on the heart. And I feel certain I am not the only person who has ever felt the emotions in this song; if I’m lucky, I am just a little better than average at expressing them, and, perhaps, have given some listeners words to describe their feelings, for themselves or to share.

I am not now, and never expect to be, a real lyricist. But that doesn’t mean I can’t act like one occasionally.

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