Old Man's Speech

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Old Man's Speech

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Old Man’s Speech
© Morten Maehre 2017

Dear everyone, I’m dying, but please don’t cry a tear over me
I’m going to a peaceful place where perhaps I can be free
Some of you may love me, but I’m guessing I’ve mostly caused hate
Don’t feel bad you think “good riddance”; you’re free to celebrate

You can’t win all the battles that I’ve won without stepping on toes
For every friend I’ve made I’ve gathered at least a hundred foes
And every rose I’ve planted has grown at least a hundred thorns
My death will be welcome, so there’s really no need to mourn

My fortune has been built upon the skulls and bones of men
And every time I felt remorse I did it all over again
I washed my hands, I laughed and smiled and drank their blood like wine
Possessions, wives, achievements… all of theirs was mine

Admittedly I’ve done things which have caused a great deal of regret
Now Hell is just one breath away, a quick spin of the Devil’s roulette
Tonight for once I turn to God, in whom I have never believed
I know I’m undeserving of all the pleasures I have received

So Lord, please release me by taking care of my kin
Clear all of my debts to man and wash away my sin
I know I’ve sold my soul and that I leave a bad legacy
Torture me forever, but don’t punish the ones close to me

(Harmonica)

I’ve always loved the self-made man and mocked the one who prays
So, should I thank the Lord, the Devil, Fortune or my own cynical ways?
I met an angel once, and she was my dear wife for a spell
She introduced me to Heaven, and I introduced her to Hell

Why didn’t anybody tell me ‘bout this evil running through my veins
seeping through my pores, causing all my dear ones lots of pains
It might be in my genes from my father’s side, or just lack of luck
or results of lessons learned, bridges burned, or feelings that got stuck

Like a painting by Dali I resemble something, but not quite
All the things I did were wrong, but at the time they felt right
because they benefitted me, and they made me the man I am
Sturdy, hard and rugged, but with the substance of a clam

So this is what I leave you, as a thanks for staying put
Advice on stepping lightly and to watch where you place your foot
Be all that you can be, but most of everything be kind
In the end nothing matters except the name you leave behind

(Harmonica)



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Comments

OdilonGreen's picture

I very much like the lyrics: clear-eyed, accepting, no excuses (for the most part). I'm not sure I get behind the sentiment of the final verse: from everything that's gone before, I didn't expect the sudden reversal of "but most of everything be kind." Rather, I liked the resolution of the fifth verse: the character realizing, unapologetically, that he's a bastard, but still having enough decency to hope for the best for his (innocent) kin.

I also liked the vibe of the music and performance: calm, melodic but not rushed, a little intense, a little swirling, a little enveloping: the sound of someone approaching his death on his own terms, not lunging towards it, but not running away either. It is what it is, and it's time to take stock.