Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Don McLean's "Crossroads"

This is one of the most beautiful songs I know. It features on Don McLean's iconic album American Pie. The lyric and intensely personal nature of the text moves me in a way very few poems do. Apart from W.H. Auden's Funeral Blues, there would be hard to find any verse that echoes within me like Crossoads does. Like Coleridge and Shelley's aeolian harp.

And just like their aeolian harp and, indeed, the first poems this text is accompanied by music. Don McLean has his song presented in simple vocals and solitary piano which combine to give us as complete an experience as we can possibly wish for.

Don McLean - Crossroads
I’ve got nothing on my mind:
nothing to remember,
Nothing to forget,
and I’ve got nothing to regret,

But I’m all tied up on the inside,
No one knows quite what I’ve got;
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be, I’m not

You know I’ve heard about people like me,
But I never made the connection.
They walk one road to set them free
And find they’ve gone the wrong direction.

But there’s no need for turning back
`cause all roads lead to where I stand.
And I believe I’ll walk them all
No matter what I may have planned.

Can you remember who I was?
can you still feel it?
Can you find my pain?
can you heal it?

Then lay your hands upon me now
And cast this darkness from my soul.
You alone can light my way.
You alone can make me whole once again.

We’ve walked both sides of every street
Through all kinds of windy weather.
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together.

So there’s no need for turning back
`cause all roads lead to where we stand.
And I believe we’ll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned.

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