And my thoughts seem to scatter

Not quite sure why, but as I was working with this image Don Henley’s “The Heart of the Matter? kept creeping in from some far recesses of my mind.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

I got the call today, didn't wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin' on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love's open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
...People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
The trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They're the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us,
You know it doesn't keep me warm

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you, Baby
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

There are people in your life who've come and gone
They let you down you know they hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin' that anger, it'll eat you up inside

I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me

I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

7 thoughts on “And my thoughts seem to scatter

  1. When you put the lyrics on a page, they appear more thoughtful. One thing that struck me is his question of how love survives without grace, and how, without grace, the world fills with rage. The word grace has many meanings, but the one that came to my mind in these lyrics was divine assistance in knowing God. (How did you read it?) One might argue this is a graceless age in that sense, given the wasteland we have today. We can’t complain about the lack of grace if we don’t ask for it.

  2. I suppose at first I would have identified “graceless? as lacking “class.? People lack manners, and often seem proud of it. There’s a disturbing “crudeness? in modern life, whether it’s in our movies or in our use of language.

    It’s clear that your interpretation would fit the context of the song well, too, Tom, and might well have been what Henley had in mind.

  3. Henley’s masterpiece – excellent example of song craft. It goes “to the heart” of a matter of a personal nature for me; I’m guessing for many thoughtful listeners also. For me “the heart of the matter” of the song is forgiveness, something undervalued and practiced not frequently enough in our society and culture.

  4. I could hear the song even as I read the lyrics, but I don’t think I’d ever really read or listened to the words before. Having just signed a marital dissolution agreement yesterday, it’s a timely reminder and a kind of aspiration. Thank you for this, and for the wonderful dahlia photos.

  5. I, too, associate this song, as well as the title song, “The End of Innocence,” with my divorce, ginko.

    It’s probably no coincidence that I was far enough away from my divorce to appreciate the lyrics when this song was released, though I’ll have to admit that even now I haven’t entirely divorced myself from some of those feelings.

What do you think?