Mudcat Café message #3557511 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152141   Message #3557511
Posted By: Stringsinger
09-Sep-13 - 01:57 PM
Thread Name: Improving Lyrics?
Subject: RE: Improving Lyrics?
"On the top shelf in the closet
In the workshop where he spent his extra time
Was a dusty wooden box that I had never noticed 'til that night
Then we set it on the table and carefully we opened up the top
And stared into the memories Daddy kept inside the box"

The stanza has no rhyme scheme. "time and night" are consonant words but are not rhymes. The same with "top" and "box".

"There was a letter from Mamma, when she went out to Reno
To help her sister out in '62
And a flower from Hawaii, when they went on vacation
It was the first time that my Daddy ever flew"

Now this stanza does have a masculine rhyme on lines two and four.
This doesn't feel like a chorus, though.

" And the pocket knife I gave to him on Fathers day
Years ago I thought it had been lost"

This is broken syntax. It should read "Years ago, on Father's day,
I gave him this pocket knife." Then another line to indicate that he
thought it was lost. Otherwise, the crammed information in the lines
are jumbled and confusing.

"We all thought his heart was made of solid rock
But that was long before we found the box"

Again, "rock" and "box" don't rhyme. If they thought his heart
was made of solid rock, then the opening of the box doesn't make
any difference whatever on that point.

"I guess we always knew it, but "I love you" was hard for him to say
Some men show it easily and some just never seem to find the way"

Now this is inconsistent since he rhymes "say" and "way" but not in the
other stanzas. He does it here but not in the others which indicate a
laziness in the craft.


"But that night I began to see the softer side of someone I had lost
I saw the love he kept inside the first time that we opened up the box "

"lost" and "box" is an imperfect attempt at rhyme. The love was the revelatory
moment in opening the box, not the "hard heart".


There was a picture that was taken when he and Mom were datin'
Standing by his 1940 Ford
And a faded leather Bible, he got when he was baptized
I guess no one understood him like the Lord

Here, there is a rhyme on the second and fourth line that match the stanza
about Momma and Reno.

But throughout the song, there is a notable inconsistency in the rhyme patterns
and those lines without rhymes but an attempt to use false rhymes such as
"rock" and "box".

"And a poem that he had written all about his wife and children
The tender words he wrote were quite a shock

We all thought his heart was made of solid rock
But that was long before we found the box
We all thought his heart was made of solid rock
But that was long before we found the box"

It's a sentimental piece of writing to indicate that the father really was
a loving father which I doubt very much. That's not convincing.
It's an appeal to an authoritarian father, a John Wayne who probably treated
his family like shit, but then is absolved by a letter in a box. I don't buy it
as sincere.

The song is lazy songwriting in my opinion. It's not constructed well due to its inconsistencies and It doesn't make me feel any sympathy for any of the people in the song.