The Dirt

The song that I believe is poetry is Tor Miller’s “The Dirt” on his album American English. In the song, the speaker reminisces about his love for his ex and the feelings that come with seeing her with someone else. The song conveys the experience of still loving someone so strongly even when they’ve moved on. The song follows the story of letting go of someone and not recognizing the person they are when they return.

In the second verse of the song, the artist sings:

And as you fall for some decent man

You place your life into his trembling hands

The purpose of using the word “trembling” conveys the speaker’s nerves towards letting someone else have the heart of the person he loves. The use of the word “decent” shows that the artist is recognizing her new boyfriend as adequate but not as good as he is. The speaker cares for his ex and fears someone else treating her poorly and shattering her heart.

In the chorus of the song, the artist sings:

I’ll be loving you, too

The shadow of your heart, it cuts right through

The imagery of this line shows the audience how intense the love was that the speaker had for his ex. Even if she didn’t break up with him in a harsh way, just her absence in his life is enough to hurt him deeply. The use of “loving” shows that his love for her will always prevail regardless of how far she is from him.

In the bridge of the song, the artist sings:

And when the day comes, you’ve forgotten my name

And I’ve drunk an ocean to try to quell the pain

And in your autumn, when your colours have changed

Your naked branches or your lips don’t feel the same

This stanza of lines shows the speaker trying to cope with the breakup through alcohol. The first two lines show how he’s been yearning for her for so long and she barely remembers him. The speaker remembers her in such a distinct way and is let down when she doesn’t act the same as she did in their relationship. The use of autumn is dimensional as it represents change and decay. While his love for her has been slowly subdued, he can’t recognize the person he loved and pined over for so long.

Tor Miller uses powerful diction, imagery, and metaphors to reveal the deep love he had for his ex that remained through years after their breakup. The meaning of his song is elevated through his choice of language and reveals his true emotions towards her affect on him.

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