We need a list like this, because songs do assault the heart, and the two most readily accessible lists we find on the web of “songs that make you cry” are so-so, mostly devoted to recent and mediocre indie rock songs.

The “songs that make you cry” lists are further limited by a lame criterion of a close-reading of lyrics—many people don’t know this, but this song is really about a friend of a friend of the songwriter who was dying of cancer, etc.

A great sad song should strike one as sad immediately, by itself, on its own, with its own poetry and music and mood—it should not require an actual sad reason why it was composed revealed to the listener—one shouldn’t need to have the lyrics explained in order to be saddened by the song.

And yet, and yet…secret sad meanings hidden in the lyrics…okay, who can resist those?

But here’s the deal: First, if the actual tragedy the lyrics allude to is the source of the heart-breaking song, then how is this any different than if someone simply told you of a heart-breaking tragedy?

Second, it is the discovery of the hidden aspect in the lyrics which does most of the heart-breaking work, for it is this ‘finding out’ which imitates the mechanics of regret: oh if I had only known how much they really loved me! It is this dynamic which is at work in the oh this is what the song means! trick.

Whether the song is about something that actually happened is beside the point. If we are really moved by a song, on some level it is real for us—and nothing more needs to be said on the issue.  Obviously, the point is, when compiling this list, we have considered the total impact on the heart by the song itself. The tragedy (imagined or real) matters, obviously, but more importantly is how it all comes together in the way it is conveyed by the song, so it stays pleasantly in our memory. The melting of the heart by a song (whether “tragic” or not) should be a pleasant experience. Bewitching perhaps, but ultimately a pleasure, since happiness is (or should be) the end of existence. The songs on our list may, or may not, make you cry. But it should be a happy cry.

But the more we ponder this whole question of context, the more it threatens to explode the whole project: what about a song like “Un Bel Di,” from Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, also known as “One Fine Day?” Does one have to know Italian, or the opera’s heart-breaking story from which the song emerges, to appreciate this song?

Well—to truly appreciate the song, yes.

“Context,” which, for the sake of “artistic purity,” we have been trying to mitigate, if not eliminate, keeps looming up, like a moon which needs to shine.

The best conclusion, we think, is this: if the moon is a really beautiful one, and is really shining beautifully—if the song itself really is magnificent—we can expect the listener to also understand the clouds heaped up around that moon—especially if the song is already deservedly popular; or, if the song itself, because of what it is, really deserves, in our opinion, this extra knowledge and attention.

We will not worry ourselves that lists like this can never satisfy everyone, for this does not mean lists such as this are not worth doing. Scarriet’s One Hundred Hippie Songs of All Time, published a year ago, is consistently visited two thousand times a week.

But of course “hippie” is more readily understood than “heart.”

And here we might as well add that the heart needs protection—and this is what T.S. Eliot meant when he famously said poetry is “an escape from emotion”—the heart-breaking song is restrained and cool and artificial to a certain degree precisely so the heartbreak doesn’t overwhelm us. But… isn’t that the point? To be overwhelmed, so the heart “melts?” Yes, but some cry at almost anything—commercials, other people crying—so that the songs on this list aren’t even necessary. Keep in mind we speak of ideal, aesthetic, and universal “melting.” This entire list, obviously, cannot be heart-breaking for you.

Further, in this list we attempt to appeal to all tastes.

The genres of hard rock and blues, the music that “sold its soul to the devil” receives its due punishment by not being included on this list. We could have picked a song like “The Thrill Is Gone” to honor the late, great B.B. King, but we could not find it in our hearts to do so. Work like this is admirable, but, for us, just not heart-melting. The stretched-out, pounding attitude of ‘ain’t life a bitch? doesn’t quite fit what we are after.

The “melting” is not finally from pity, but from the extraordinarily beautiful and wise.

Occasionally the beautifully wise is like ice—but as this list shows, icy perfection rarely melts the heart.  Often it is just a warm, slow melody.

Puccini might be said to have invented the modern pop song, or maybe it was Mozart?  Or Bach?  The hook—and then creeping behind it, another equally as sweet!  And so sweet—it has to be brief.

And then, added to the music, the story and the poetry.  What mortal can resist it?

Anyway, we hope you enjoy our latest, One Hundred Songs To Melt The Heart.

1. One Fine Day (Puccini’s Madame Butterfly Aria, “Un Bel Di,” is the heart-breaking standard: beautiful, involves a young girl’s heart—that sings the song—a sailor, and two cultures on either side of the world—and the “one fine day” never comes. 

2. Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O’Connor’s performance of Prince’s song proves sadness is best when it is majestic, observant—“7 hours and 15 days”—and has no bitterness. A tear-jerker for the ages. An electronic standard.)

3. Someone Like You (Adelle’s voice inhabits this Edna St. Vincent Millay-type song’s every pitch, timbre, and mood—resigned, but not resigned—almost as if her very heart were the instrument. Too recent to appreciate? No, this performance is timeless.)

4. Just Say I Love Him (Nina Simone’s six and a half minute, poignant, subtly electric guitar-soaked revery from her neglected masterpiece Forbidden Fruit—1961. If women are dominating this list so far? That’s why they call them divas, fellas…)

5. Video Games (The video of this casually, stupidly languid but passionate song by Lana Del Rey has 83 million views and yes we are in a different era now of perfecting heart-tugging—technically and artistically. A female’s hungry, proud, sultry, deeply expressive voice is still key, however.)

6. Sue Me (Duet between Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine.  When her voice tearfully cracks on “I could honestly die.” From Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls. The scene itself is semi-comic—it doesn’t matter.)

7. Hurt (Johnny Cash. Noble, yet agonizing. Tears the only defense against this.)

8. Honey (Bobby Goldsboro makes a goddamn movie with a song. Sentimental, perhaps, but the vocal and the lyrics expand possibilities in a way that practically forms a template of its own.)

9. O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini and Callas. The song doesn’t need translation. Puccini invented pop, perhaps.)

10. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths. Urban, angsty poetry at its very best. The Smiths’ signature sound is divine, in a fake-casual sort of way.)

11. Stranger in Paradise (The Four Aces’ hokey-histrionic performance of this exquisite song is the formula of homely passion which is necessary; it is not icy, classical perfection we’re after. Sigh deeply if you agree.)

12. It’s All In the Game (Tommy Edwards. It’s all in this glimpsed not quite sad perfect gem of a song.)

13. Alameda (Elliot Smith almost wallows too much in self-misery to project: “Nobody broke your heart. You broke your own cause you can’t finish what you start.”)

14. Hello In There (John Prine made a masterpiece for neglected seniors.)

15. Heart of Gold (Neil Young. It’s very hard to write a truly beautiful sad song. The slightest trace of self-pity ruins it.)

16. Saint James Hospital (Pete Seeger’s Youtube ‘video’ of this beautiful, beautiful, somber, ‘dying cowboy’ folk song has only about 3,000 views. A pity.)

17. Turandot  (Puccini. Pavarotti. Music so sweet it hurts.)

18. Lacrimosa (Mozart. The Requiem. The happy genius feeling indescribable pain.)

19. Green Fields (Brothers Four. Layers of slow, trembling, lush, melancholy. Gorgeous.)

20. Wild World (Cat Stevens. An achingly sad ‘lover leaving’ song tinged with impotent fatherly advice. )

21. Blue Velvet (Bobby Vinton sings this as schmaltzy pop–the velvety tune itself transcends its setting.)

22. My Sweet Lord (George Harrison took the most powerful secular format ever: rock music, blended it with religious feelings, in a way which still sounds like a love song: “I’d really like to know you.”)

23. Auld Lang Syne (The Bobby Burns’ tear-jerker.)

24. April Come She Will (Simon and Garfunkle. We can never get enough, it seems, of lost love and seasons. A couple of guys from Queens, New York. Maybe the best singing/songwriting team ever.)

25. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (The Beatles. John Lennon had this love/hate thing with the music of Bob Dylan. Lennon was a genius who hated/loved.)

26. Space Oddity (David Bowie. Alienated by technology, a theme of this great techno-song from our modern era of passionate contradictions.)

27. The Man That Got Away (Judy Garland. Ju-dy Gar-land. Man-that-got-away. Okay?)

28. The Way We Were (Barbara Streisand. Nostalgia from one of the greatest pop divas.)

29. And The Sun Will Shine (Bee Gees. Robin Gibb. Sweet. Vaguely sorrowful. That is all.)

30. I’m Not In Love (10cc. “Big boys don’t cry.” Yes, they do.)

31. If You Go Away (Shirley Bassey best performs this Jaque Brel number of what we all fear.)

32. Dream Brother (Jeff Buckley. A superbly expressed song of beautiful primal longing.)

33. High Your Love (Donovan, from his 1996 Sutras: “Looking for you in the longing of life, and all the time, you were here by my side.” Wow. It’s rare when embarrassingly wise wisdom breaks your heart.)

34. Do You Realize?? (Flaming Lips. A sentimental song that grabs sentimentality by the throat.)

35. Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen. The nearly atonal baritone delivery manages to be a mesmerizing diversion. Anyone can sing. Anyone can make music. Anyone can cry.)

36. What Is A Youth (from Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet—also known as “A Time For Us.” This lovely song, sung as Romeo and Juliet first cavort at the home of the Capulets is a happy/sad cinematic, musical stunner)

37. Knocking On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan. Zimmerman was so sentimental he had to be tough.)

38. The Only Living Boy In New York (Simon and Garfunkel. It is about tall Art going off to an acting gig and leaving small Paul alone, who takes the sweetest revenge in it.)

39. It’s All Too Much (The Beatles from Yellow Submarine. A lesser known song, but it could be the best Beatles’ recording. A pounding, psychedelia of heart-melting sweetness from George.)

40. The Incest Song (Buffy St. Marie. There are tragic ballads galore; this one is quite good—from her 1964 It’s My Way! one of the greatest original folk albums—no, albums—ever recorded.)

41. Go Way From My Window (John Jacob Niles.  An old man’s heartbreaking voice. Bob Dylan would later use the title of this song as a lyric in his sad-but-slightly-snarling “It Ain’t Me Babe.”)

42. Lonesome Valley (Erik Darling. “You’ve got to cross that lonesome valley by yourself.” Lyrics, music, delivery. Easily one of the greatest recordings of all time.)

43. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George Harrison’s third on this list! “They bought and sold you.” They did.)

44. Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol. “Would you lie with me and just forget the world?” Asked sadly and sweetly.)

45. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Jerry and the Pacemakers. String section strains to slow down the finger-snapping beat of the sad, optimistic shimmer. “Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey” is equally as good.)

46. Your Song (Elton John was a throw-back to the Tin Pan Alley days when composers and lyricists were separate people; John wrote all the music; Bernie Taupin, the lyrics: “how wonderful life is that you’re in the world.”)

47. I’ll Be Seeing You (Billie Holiday. This is perhaps the poetic trope: seeing the beloved in other things. And Holiday’s voice is one of those sad ones we love because it talks/sings.)

48. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel. Their album of the same name beat out Let It Be for the Grammy as the 60s came to an end, Art & Paul and the Beatles splitting up.)

49. I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (Judy Collins sings it from her magnificent 1966 covers album “In My Life.”)

50. It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down  (Honestly, we couldn’t find the definitive recording of this great, great folk song of the Titanic disaster. Probably Pete Seeger.)

51. Perfect Day (Lou Reed. Languid masterpiece from another artist with “a voice that came from you and me.”)

52. Lady Jane (The Brian Jones era Rolling Stones. Old people back in the 60s who hated noisy rock must have been taken aback when songs like this were produced.)

53. A Day in the Life (Beatles. The reflective, sad quietness of this song reflects the touring band, going in the studio, growing up.)

54. Walk On By (It can’t help but feel a little like Bacharach, David and Warwick is music as business. A perfect business. Imagine these three as unknowns, turning out hundreds of songs a year, and then the whole cache is discovered.)

55. Sarah (Scarrietmeister. We include our own singing, songwriting, and producing only to prove that Poe was right: only a good poet can be a good critic. We humbly write and record music, and that’s why we can sensitively and lovingly make these lists.)

56. Smile (The lyrics are iconic; the musical credit goes to Charlie Chaplin, who first sang it in his 1936 film, Modern Times. Which is how life works: you’re working on a movie and then a song comes to you…)

57. End of the World (Skeeter Davis asks “Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?” in one of the sweetest, simplest, and most poignant songs of all time.)

58. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (The reggae beat, the bend-y notes, the hopeless, self-effacing melancholy required, perhaps, a Boy George, to make it happen; or was this song inevitable?)

59. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (The songwriting team of Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach wrote this for their 1933 musical. Great songs are inevitably written for something…a musical, a movie, a friend, etc)

60. Moon River (Once lyricist and Georgia native Johnny Mercer put “moon” with “river, the song probably wrote itself; he originally tried “blue river,” but found it was already taken. “Huckleberry friend” worked, too.)

61. Over the Rainbow (The best songs are simple ones: “somewhere,” became for the songwriting industry what “nevermore” was for poetry; the octave jump from some to where launched us “over the rainbow.”)

62. Good Night Irene (Leadbelly learned the song in the South from family in the beginning of the 20th century. Pete Seeger with the Weavers—before Elvis—made black music for the American masses: Billboard’s no. 1 song for 1950, the year after Leadbelly died.)

63. I Will Always Love You (Written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973 and made into a monster hit by Whitney Houston in 1992. Both times for a movie.)

64. Come All You Fair And Tender Maids (Pete Seeger sings it best. You hear a beautiful, old, neglected folk song like this and you can’t help but wonder how easily today’s pop machine could make it a “hit.”)

65. September Song (Lotte Lenya sings this sad song written by her husband, Kurt Weil)

66. You’ve Got A Friend (Carol King wrote it and James Taylor recorded it in a comforting blast of singer/songwriter bliss.)

67. Ave Maria (Schubert. Uplifting. Can the heart follow?)

68. Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Elvis Presley was a rocker, but also country western—a genre, we are aware, that is not represented well by our list. Hank Williams moans and cries, and we won’t deny the greatness of this music, but heart-wise, it often sounds too quirky or cornball to our N’eastern ears.)

69. Sheep May Safely Graze (Kirsten Flagstad does a pretty good job with this Bach cantata.)

70. The Three Ravens (Alfred Deller sings in the “sweet and high” style this ancient English ballad about a dead knight and his faithful animals.)

71. An Affair To Remember (Nat King Cole. One of the great heart-melting singers. Beautiful, sad song from the beautiful, sad film.)

72. Is That All There It Is? (Peggy Lee gets deep.)

73. The Winner Takes It All (ABBA. Is this really true?  Is there a “winner” in love? It doesn’t matter, because the song makes it true.)

74. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? (Pete Seeger’s song, fashioned from other sources in 1955. It led to Dylan’s question “How many roads must a man walk down?” and the rest is folk/rock/pop history.)

75. Those Were The Days (Mary Hopkin. Does history kill nostalgia? The Beatles produced this.)

76. My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder recorded it; he and two others wrote it. Sweet, sad, pop perfection.)

77. Cry Me A River (A jazz standard embracing heartbreak for two.)

78. Another Day (Paul McCartney wrote a lot of sad, clever, touching songs; he sang this one with Linda.)

79. A Day In The Life Of A Fool (Jack Jones does a solid job with this sob-fest from Brazil. Black Orpheus is the 1959 Academy Award winning film which made the song famous.)

80. It Was a Very Good Year (Songs that look back over life are usually a pretty good bet to be at least mildly heart-breaking. Frank Sinatra is the wistful deliverer in this case.)

81. Oh What Wondrous Love Is This? (A spiritual which is similar to “Amazing Grace,” and just as good.)

82. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd. Syd Barrett was their songwriter, and then, after he tragically left, the subject of their best work.)

83. I Don’t Like Mondays (Boomtown Rats. A big hit in England, Bob Geldoff wrote this song in 1979 from a news story out of San Diego, California: a 16 year old girl went on a shooting spree for no apparent reason.)

84. Hey There Delilah (Plain White Ts. Songs with girls’ names are usually a good start.)

85. Indian Summer (The Doors had a bunch of haunting little numbers like this. It is argued often that Morrison was not a “real” poet, but this group used Brecht/Weil and William Blake in their recordings. They were one of the truly poetic rock groups, far more sensitive than most.)

86. Time Of Your Life (Green Day. A breakup song that doesn’t quite sound like a breakup song—the most noble kind.)

87. La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf is the world’s favorite female French singer. This one song will have to represent the lovely French cafe tradition. Our favorite album of this type is April In Paris by Jacqueline Francois.)

88. You Are My Sunshine (First recorded in 1939; covered numerous times. Sing it to your kid.)

89. Bittersweet Symphony (The Verve. We love the video of Richard Ashcroft knocking people over in London as he lip-syncs.)

90. Viva La Vida (Cold Play. An uplifting number. The lyrics are somewhere between profound and hazy, but the song is catchy enough so one doesn’t care.)

91. It Will Rain (Bruno Mars. Perhaps the best from this visceral writer/performer. This one was co-written for a movie—“Twilight.”)

92. Careless Whisper (George Michael. Co-written with his Wham! partner when they were unknown. Sexy. Depressing. Very 80s.)

93. Come As You Are (Nirvana. Kurt Cobain generally expressed pain very well—some might feel this song is heart-breaking.)

94. Maggie May (Rod Stewart. A sad, in-love-with-an-older-woman, not-knowing-what-to-do-with-my-life song.  Doesn’t try to be a heart-breaking song, but it is.)

95. Fortunate The Man With None (Dead Can Dance. The lyrics come from a Bertolt Brecht poem.)

96. I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin sings one of the sweetest songs of all time.)

97. Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues. “Just what you want to be, you’ll be in the end” is a killer.)

98. Dear Mama (Tupac. The late rapper appreciates his mother.)

99. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M. Many songs tell stories, give advice, but not that many are written specifically to reach out and comfort.)

100. Blue (Marina and the Diamonds. Released this year; energetic and vapid, as all ‘young people’s music of today’ seems to those who are older. But it’s still about the heart.)


  1. June 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Life is so meaningful with this 100! One shall long to live beyond the 100!

  2. June 9, 2015 at 9:03 am

    “One Fine Day” has never done it for me. Whereas “Una furtiva lagrima”…

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Thank you, Duncan!

      Una Furtiva Lagrima for me is more solemnly beautiful than heart-breaking…a beautiful dusky cloud, but not one that splits and rains; but this may just be purely a matter of taste in what may spill our tears…

  3. noochinator said,

    June 10, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    This one breaks my heart because I wasn’t in Montreal that night in 1983 to hear this performance by Hall and Oates:

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 11, 2015 at 1:31 am

      Was that song a hit for them? Didn’t they have much better songs? I couldn’t understand what that song was about.

      • noochinator said,

        June 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

        It’s about a serial killer, singing about the voices in his head:

        “Charlie [Manson] liked the Beatles/
        [Son of] Sam he liked [the song] ‘Rich Girl’/
        I’m still hung up on the ‘Duke of Earl’/….
        It’s the voices I hear at the subway stop/
        Keep singing ‘Diddy doo wop’….”

        Sick? Yeah, it is — but you put “I Don’t Like Mondays” at the #83 slot…

        • thomasbrady said,

          June 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

          I invited it, then. Ugh. Maybe I should replace #83 with something else. I was trying to appeal to a broad range of taste. Trying to please everyone always backfires. Was their song based on a true story?

          • noochinator said,

            June 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm

            I don’t think that the song is based on an actual killer. The Anglo-American song tradition has always dealt with grim subjects: murder, assassination, infanticide, mine disasters, floods, etc. — although that’s little consolation to grieving family members who hear a ditty that exploits their grief….

            • thomasbrady said,

              June 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm

              You are right about the Anglo-American song tradition: a cinema of carnage couched in sweet, sing-song melodies: my dad had a lot of folk records when I was growing up and I think that’s why 1) I’m a poet 2) very sentimental and 3) lazy and cruel. It’s those fantastic folk songs!

              • noochinator said,

                June 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm

                It’s interesting that the Korean versions of the songs “Dear John,” “Delilah,” and “Banks of the Ohio” are given happy lyrics, whereas the originals detail, in respective order, a break-up, a murder, and a murder….

                • thomasbrady said,

                  June 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

                  “Delilah” by the Plain White Ts is a murder song? Really??

                  Mandy. I forgot Mandy by Barry Manilow.

                  • noochinator said,

                    June 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm

                    The song “Delilah” sung by Tom Jones is a murder song. I don’t know nothing ’bout no Plain White Ts….

  4. The crone said,

    June 13, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Well, why not 100 songs? Or to satisfy some kind of ineffable urge regarding lists, perhaps it should have been 113, or 527. Or 18. Or one of each. Be that as it may, I would find room there for Bill Morrissey’s Handsome Molly, and Among My Souvenirs (artist unknown) and Vaya Con Dios (preferably not by Les Paul and Mary Ford). And maybe Jesus Loves Me. That made me cry when I was 6 years old.
    (This is not The Crone, but someone who knows her intimately.)

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 13, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Yes! some songs I associate with singers and others are beautiful songs you learned as a child and no recordings will ever do them justice. You sing them to yourself alone and cry. I wrote a song that caused me to burst into tears when I sang it to myself. “Oh it’s just a memory that we loved. You know so much. That’s why I trust you.” It was because no one at that moment could be trusted that I cried.

  5. June 25, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Is there a category for the songs that you don’t really understand until puberty hits you like a ton of bricks?

    Guys, I’m especially thinking of you here. Are there songs that seem embarrassingly mushy when you’re ten or eleven that suddenly are the painful oracles of your life when you turn fifteen and hear them again?

    A classic one would be Roy Orbison’s “Cryin'”. The original. Another would be “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers. Or “Crying in the Rain” by the Everly Brothers.

    • noochinator said,

      June 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues is probably the supremest of “the painful oracles” of my adolescent life. “Wild is the Wind” by David Bowie is another (though of a far lesser order), along with “Fireflies” by Fleetwood Mac, “Julia” by The Beatles, and “Meeting Across the River” by Bruce Springsteen, the last of which has inspired numerous short stories that have been collected in a book:

      Plus there are songs I once thought mushy that now make me tear up at age 50+: ABBA songs like “The Name of the Game” and “The Day Before You Came”, and “Touch Me in the Morning” by Diana Ross. All easy to ridicule, unless one is fatigued after a bad day, in which case one needs must take precautions to conceal the self-pitying waterworks or face ridicule oneself from the wife…

      There’s a fun book by Tom Reynolds, I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You’ve Ever Heard, which further covers this territory:

    • noochinator said,

      June 26, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      This one was big to me as a teen:

      And this too — both strike me as homoerotic in tone, which gives me (and perhaps 1/3 of the Supreme Court) a few qualms:

      Then there’s Kate Bush with the “wow” factor:

  6. June 25, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Johnny Cash does an excellent job with “Hurt”, but you need to hear it as part of the video. Trent Reznor (who wrote the danged thing) at first thought it was a so-so cover… then he watched the video.

    It was then that he understood just what Johnny did.

    From death’s door, Johnny grabs at thee.

  7. thomasbrady said,

    June 25, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Beauty created from hurt love appealed to me as a child. Once sexuality arrived, the beauty was still appreciated. The hurt from grownup love may inspire a composer but a little of that for this listener goes a long way. Classical music which sings from the heart without words is preferred. Romantic music, if your heart is broken, can be very painful.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      September 9, 2018 at 5:06 am


      even if we are scattered to seven winds
      so that our dust flies up in the face of
      the disgraced

      our candlewick snuffed by a wind in transit
      prelude to December-
      God will puzzle out the pieces of our diamond souls

      we will return as snow
      I will she said, clutching Hansel’s hand
      purpling as night the shadows around them

      as though they were berry stained.
      there had been no berries that day.
      the doves took the bread away.

      they ate music out of the sky

      oh skylark, skylark
      what am I
      neither bread nor berry

      that they may get by.
      and scarcely, music.

      mary angela douglas 9 september 2018

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        September 9, 2018 at 12:05 pm


        we’ll live like gypsies after awhlle
        or at least, the ones in folktales
        and live in places under the stars

        with no bugs.
        and beat the rugs until they shine
        like fairy gold.

        maybe we-ll find
        abandoned castles
        with the feasts newly laid

        in summer, sudden shade.
        a land of green shutters
        and lemonade.

        and children will grow used
        to the sound of the sea
        and need nothing from the earth anymore

        but a secret door
        into God.
        a million scarves

        the color of sunsets.
        hope as blue as larkspur.

        mary angela douglas 9 september 2018

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          September 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm


          “amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the Night.”

          from the Christmas carol. “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming.”

          the maiden speech of the maidens cancelled

          the filmy veils wrecked

          because the dragons were hungry

          no longer circumspect

          this was left off the menu

          the literature of the field

          the field where lances broke

          against the Invisible

          and on covenant lands,

          the quiring angels queing up

          for the inevitable downtown sunsets

          or the food trucks

          of the newly glitzed

          the condo served.

          oh poetry my lost

          amongst the herds trampled

          the popcorn crowds exiting

          and under a sullen moon

          no longer recited.

          while we make our covert home

          amongst the briars

          waiting for the resurgence

          of the Rose.

          mary angela douglas 9 september 2018

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          September 13, 2018 at 7:25 pm


          some days I just want to look at the land
          at the bands of rain sweeping over it
          in crystalline beading

          at the green haze of trees sponged in
          as if in some middle distance painted
          by an unknown painter, not me,

          who can only gaze and gaze
          into the violet blue of skies
          above thunderheads

          the cream of what’s left of the day
          brimming, the birds skimming
          thin gold off the horizon

          the lemon moon made new.

          those days I cannot speak at all
          or be spoken of
          be spoken to.

          what language is greater than this
          to see no matter how briefly
          to feel

          the scope of it all.
          to be caught in the rains in this way

          may be sheer Heaven in the end
          to feel as Whitman did
          the sacredness of grass, blade by miraculous blade

          the petal of shade falling over it now
          near nightfall
          the rich eventide, hushed etude of the soul

          even with its scarcity, cloud covered,
          of stars.

          mary angela douglas 13 september 2018

          • September 14, 2018 at 1:27 am

            Good one!

            • maryangeladouglas said,

              September 19, 2018 at 6:38 pm

              Thank you Gary. I treasure your good opinion as you are a true poet.

              • maryangeladouglas said,

                September 23, 2018 at 9:40 pm

                I COULD WEEP FOR JOY

                the last wick of the blue dusk verging on nightfall
                I saw once in a dream in the twilight that precedes

                and it seemed to me the angels were saying goodbye
                and I was still in my grandparents house in the room
                with the taffeta spread, the frost white curtains

                the earlier blue of twilight
                and I remembered a dress that colour
                I wore once with a tea rose

                picked from our garden.
                there are moments cloudlike
                in the silver treasury of my mind

                so that despondent angels sing suddenly
                though it isn’t Christmas
                and when I see my face in the mirror then

                it seems also lined in silver
                like a sudden cameo in the gloom
                or a star in the spring evening

                when someone is playing the piano
                and I could weep for joy.

                mary angela douglas 23 september 2018

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          September 16, 2018 at 3:18 am


          I see the patchwork on His stars
          how He is holding us all together
          in the supposed flood zones

          I see how the flood doesn’t come
          not the way that agrees with the models
          outwitting all predictions.

          the rain is soothed
          going as if in a dream into mist
          some other way.

          predictions fail.
          the bold pronouncements
          this and then that

          the flood plains drowned
          they say. they said.
          but the wind is stilled.

          love remains
          He remains patching the stars
          they shine in us

          and there is no flood
          no flood at all not the epic one
          they wanted to come

          since it would prove
          their predictions true.
          no rivers cresting

          in the small and ever smaller midnights
          I forsee
          overreaching their banks

          swallowing us whole.

          Tremulous, discounted, not in the mix
          we lift the lamp of faith
          above the dark caverns

          and men are angry
          who don’t know themselves
          why they fight so hard

          for the floods to prevail
          while the floods fail

          and the patched stars shine.

          mary angela douglas 15 september 2018

          • maryangeladouglas said,

            September 16, 2018 at 1:33 pm

            As a citizen of North Carolina as well as an American I just want to state that this whole time period where we heard words like 1000 Year Rain Event, Monster Storm, epic rainfall, and the Gov’s scary pronouncements DISASTER IS AT OUR DOORSTEP NORTH CAROLINA, and now the grossly inflated numbers for countless rivers expected any moment day after day, the unpredecented levels of tons of rain supposedly holed up in the massively stalled humongo hurricane, tropical storm, tropical depression, ghost of a ghost of a rumor of a stom THAT NEVER FELL when they were suppoed to be pouring out in buckets in scary apcocalyptic buckets all over town well, here in Winston Salem NONE OF THIS EVER HAPPENED. NO HIGH WINDS, NO TORRENTS, NO FLOODING NO DOGS AND CATS SCURRYING TO THE ROOFTOPS. NOTHING. There were lots of counties were nothing ever happened. Lots of towns. WHY THIS WAS LIED ABOUT AND SHAMELESSLY DISTORTED ALL OVER THE PLACE AND NEVER ADJUSTED FOR THE TRUTH I DO NOT KNOW. BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH SLANT AND OUTRIGHT BLATASNT PROPAGANDA IN MY LIFE.

            • maryangeladouglas said,

              September 16, 2018 at 1:44 pm

              That’s in regard to Hurricane Florence. You can file that under Bridge Over Untroubled Water If You Want to. Or The Whole State of North Carolina Was Never Underwater. Or Lies Incorporated, I don’t care. I just have to say this wherever I can.

              • September 17, 2018 at 1:14 am

                16 people have died. Have some respect idiot.

              • maryangeladouglas said,

                September 17, 2018 at 6:01 am

                HYPING THE HURRICANE

                I was alive when they were hyping the hurricane
                while in the shadows of small riverbank towns
                the floods really did come.

                the shadows thickened in the mud flats
                the tree frogs sang.
                then we were a million miles from home

                home floating off as if it were a barge
                so far from Homer and all his songs.
                they were all out

                hyping the hurricane. so long, they said to us
                while we just prayed.

                in a parallel universe
                they remained
                on a flickering tv screen.

                seeming to me at least a bit insincere.

                drowned crickets sang
                their angel ghosts
                the Heavenly Host

                the ghosts of summers drowned.
                what does truth matter anyhow
                when they lie about the weather

                some places got no rain at all.

                they think we are too Southland
                small and stupid to notice
                when rain gets hyped

                and small towns too.

                and who is who
                and catfish fried
                where someone died

                and water burials
                lily pad dreams.
                and schemes of those out

                hyping the hurricane.

                those of us
                who really miss our homes.
                who care about the details.

                of living
                getting the story right.
                staying up all night because its

                us you know
                with no place left to go
                no games to play

                with an ear out for rushing water.
                oh sons and daughters of the being not seeming.
                look to your redeeming.

                the folklore of the free
                who can still see things with their own eyes.
                and know the wisemen really did come at Christmas.

                no matter what the papers say.

                mary angela douglas 17 september 2018

                • September 18, 2018 at 2:50 am

                  Yes, it’s a good poem, but you might still be going to hell.

                • maryangeladouglas said,

                  September 18, 2018 at 3:47 pm

                  I SAW THE GHOSTS OF ROSES RISE

                  to Alfred Lord Tennyson

                  “…My children, who do not lie.”-The Holy Bible

                  I saw the ghosts of roses rise
                  the hour that the Princess died
                  that way of looking at the world

                  died with her.
                  then poetry unfurled
                  the thin silk scarf of grey

                  the thread of warning.
                  I saw the clouds disperse
                  but only to reveal blank skies

                  blank pages blank Ages
                  a spark gone out in the eyes
                  of everyone, it seemed that way

                  to me then when
                  I saw the henchmen looking for that spark
                  only to quench it.

                  the execution of children
                  by subtle means
                  the ones who still dreamt

                  when they slept
                  and in between assignments
                  on the crumbling steps of all parthenons

                  the unscheduled dreams…
                  we met in grottos

                  our candles of thin means melted down
                  and remembered when Song
                  was the highest art

                  for what it dared impart
                  to the human heart
                  of the Divine.

                  Oh King in exile
                  your children too
                  refuse to honor the wastelands

                  just like You

                  to drink from the professional cup
                  when the empty toasts go round
                  to sound the trumpet

                  of the vacuous – New.

                  mary angela douglas 18 september 2018

                  • maryangeladouglas said,

                    September 25, 2018 at 11:43 am

                    WHAT TO PACK IN AN EMERGENCY

                    three acorns full of sudden illumination
                    three dresses to match
                    a match

                    and a thousand candles
                    the Gospel of John
                    a rug to fly upon

                    rose seed, the King’s own sealing wax
                    the golden stamped insignia to go with
                    a child in need of fairy tales

                    the fairy tales themselves
                    the Book of Kells and gingerbread
                    a rain cloud’s wishing well, weeping

                    and a featherbed for sleeping
                    with multicoloured quilts innumerable
                    and one pea

                    the spell of human kindness.
                    green leaves
                    in case the new planet doesn’t have any

                    a Christmas toy train that runs at all speeds
                    through a welcoming village
                    the radio from Cocteau’s film

                    that only telegraphs poetry
                    silver songs, indifferent swans slightly rumpled

                    a cherry orchard
                    that cannot be felled.

                    mary angela douglas 25 september 2018

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          September 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm


          I see the black evening gown as a pure object

          with the familiar delight of its off the shoulder rose

          the rose being a true red, not a false one

          and layers of black tulle

          with their occasional sparkles sewn in

          oh, are they jewels? we wonder with delight

          like those sewn into the clouds when they break apart

          like the light of small small stars in the evening

          I think of the play by Maeterlinck

          and this is the costume for night

          Night in an allegory

          with its exquisite red rose

          we point it out in the picture

          see? it’s the same one

          its puzzle pieces of little stars

          oh purest of gowns

          then, the costume of sheer poetry

          nightfall and the blue dusk leaving us behind

          at dreamland’s dreamy edge

          with the scent of violet cologne

          when my mother bends down in the old novel

          we made up for her

          kissing us before she turns to go

          leaving us with realms of Let’s Pretend

          to step silkenly

          into a golden carriage.

          the one we knew was coming for her

          at the End.

          mary angela douglas 19 september 2018

  8. Mr. Woo said,

    May 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Ben Howard’s Esmerelda

    One of the best singer-songwriters working today.

  9. thomasbrady said,

    May 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Woo. Ben Howard is good.

    I wish I had a good studio and the means to make a great recording and a great video. All I have for the songs I write and play and sing is a phone:

    • Mr. Woo said,

      May 28, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Yeah, cool video, huh. Studio-That would be nice. One day perhaps…

      Always enjoyed the lo-fi sound myself, a la Neutral Milk Hotel and that weird indie crowd.

      “Sarah”– Love it.

  10. Mr. Woo said,

    October 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Relistened to this album over the weekend. Keith Zarriello is my favorite troubadour working today. Had to share. Incredible. Worth a listen.

  11. noochinator said,

    February 23, 2018 at 12:19 am

    Speaking of “heart”, this 2017 gig by a Heart cover band features a guest appearance by original Heart lead guitarist Roger Fisher. The Fisher King comes out around the 41:20 mark:

  12. noochinator said,

    April 3, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Speaking of heartbreak, here’s an excellent interview from 2004 with David Cassidy:

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