Mary Chapin Carpenter, On the Other Hand, Is Right on the Money

 

How do we write poetry that seizes life with music? Denise Levertov says, “I think it’s like this: first there must be an experience, a sequence or constellation of perceptions of sufficient interest, felt by the poet intensely enough to demand of him [sic] their equivalence in worlds: he is brought to speech” (8). A few years back, I went to a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert in Boston and before she sang “Almost Home,” she described going through that drawer everyone has in their kitchen, the thingamajig drawer as my family refers to it, and feeling just amazed at all the weird stuff she had accumulated. That experience brought her to write this song. I include a link for your listening pleasure. It’s one of my favorite songs, halfway between folk reflection and anthem.

Almost Home                        by Mary Chapin Carpenter

I saw my life this morning
Lying at the bottom of a drawer
All this stuff I’m saving
God knows what this junk is for

And whatever I believed in
This is all I have to show
What the hell were all reasons
For holding on for such dear life
Here’s where I let go

I’m not running, I’m not hiding, I’m not reaching
I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in and I’m almost home

I saw you this morning
You were staring back at me
From an ancient photograph
Stuck between some letters and some keys

I was lost just for a moment
In the ache of old goodbyes
Sometimes all that we can know is
There’s no such thing as no regrets
But baby it’s all right

I’m not running, I’m not hiding, I’m not reaching
I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in and I’m almost home

But there’s no such thing as no regrets and baby it’s all right
I’m not running, I’m not hiding, I’m not reaching
I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in and I’m almost home

I’m not running now, I’m not hiding out, I’m not reaching here
I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in and I’m almost home

And I’m almost home

 

Levertov, Denise. The Poet in the World. New York: New Directions, 1973.