A Song I never Knew

I sing a song I never knew

in a bar out on the bay

far away from me and you

and the words I heard you say


my fingers bleed on my guitar

I close my eyes to hide the tears

I sing a song I never knew

far away from me and you


in a bar out on the bay

I free the pain from in my heart

and the words I heard you say

when you left me in the dark


thank you dad that I can sing

and can play on my guitar

and can smile to hide love’s sting

up on the stage in this old bar


I love the whiskey and the smoke

and the lights that blind my eyes

and the cheering of the folk

drowning out your drunken lies


I sing a song I never knew

I sing a song I never knew

I sing a song I never knew

and I owe it

all to you


and I owe it

all to



23 thoughts on “A Song I never Knew

  1. ok..this hit me personally quite hard and not sure if i interprete it correctly but to me this has a very ambivalent feeling…the feeling of having been left alone by the father, the drunken lies (my dad was drinking..that’s why) and still a thankfulness for the talent passed on.. tight emotions here henry..def. felt..and music, esp. playing music def. has some healing power as well..

  2. Yes, I’m with Claudia, there’s a strange ambivalence here, though I think the poem none the worse for that. I found it enjoyable and moving – and it has left me with a certain unease.

  3. Claudia’s thoughtful comment made it all clear to me and I appreciated your poem even more. There’s our first reading and then our second reading and each has its own quality and rewards.

  4. poemsofhateandhope says:

    wow- this was immense- so lyrical, but steeped in melancholy, the bleeding fingers on the guitar, singing a song that you never knew- a painful song, and the sense of loneliness you create is quite sobering….this just flowed, like the strumming of those guitar strings, and man, it choked me I must admit….but what would we do without these songs? Without this ability to let this stuff out…great work my friend….this knocked me on my ass

  5. yeah the bit about the father did me in a bit henry…it def feels in spite of or maybe i am just translating it through my own lens…and those that say you will never make it…

  6. Would you PLEASE sing for us again! Look at these adoring fans desperate to HEAR your words. I know…you are just a man, afterall 😉 Wonderful write, that is dark, sad, and has me dragging my toes through the sawdust that litters the floor of a local watering-hole, deep down the highway from a forgotten town, where sometime we run when our own highway has taken an unsuspecting turn.

  7. I’m with Claudia, though it was my mother who drank dad doled out abuse too. This struck me in that well concealed space within all the cryptic architecture of my childhood. Potent work.

  8. Laurie Kolp says:

    This is a song in and of itself, Henry. I am deeply touched as well and can relate as Claudia does. I really, really love this!

  9. You write great lyrics. I think the ambivalence is in the line itself, “a song I never knew.” It could be taken in a variety of ways. I like that, it brings one back to it, the way one comes back to a great song.

    This is just a tangent, but i was also reminded of something Robert Wyatt said about why he makes songs and records. He’s listening to music so much that it’s in his head, and these sounds or fragments of songs cohere there. So he writes the song and makes the record because he wants to hear it – it’s a song he (and no one else either) ever knew.

    Again, really really fine lyrics. I want to hear the song.

  10. What a great poem and it reads like a song…I like the story of singing the song, playing the blues away and being thankful for the gift of music, even in the middle of heart ache. Great!

  11. leahJlynn says:

    I like the vulnerabilities that you are showing here, it makes us what to go and listen to what you learned. which I’am sure is awesome 🙂 blessings

  12. This is a song I know pretty well as well. There’s a lot of pain here and though there’s some solace in the music, it seems the scars may never heal. Are the scars the music, or does the music help to deal with and heal the scars? Your poem leaves that hanging in the air, like a just ended song of hurt and sorrow.

    • Thanks for the comment. It is always a combination of the two. We write from life experiences and our art helps to deal with it. And life is a process that can take many different roads. Thanks again for your visit. I always appreciate your insight.

  13. this is wonderful Henry – singing that song you never knew and yet despite .. those missing notes and possible trebles with a Father that could have been so much more .. took on a shape and moulded a unique strength and clear sightedness that many cannot know or have – incredibly insightful – and healing Henry – a son to be proud – wonderful – hugs lib

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