Letting Go and Letting Be

While not a part of the Beatles’ most influential albums, “Let It Be” is one of their most powerful songs. Released in 1970 as part of the album Let It Be, it is a true example of poetry. It exemplifies that despite the randomness and horrors of life, the world will keep going. Instead of dwelling on everything, people should keep going and the life will work itself out.

For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be

Paul McCartney, the writer of the lyrics for this particular track, uses multiple definitions of “parted” to enhance the meaning. In both instances it means split, but it can mean both split internally and split between groups of people. This double meaning enhances the significance of the line, and conveys both meanings at once. It also accentuates the imagery of the song, because it shows the listener groups of people fighting against each other and with themselves. These complexities qualify it as poetry, according to Laurence Perrine. It brings the reader into the experience.

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me

McCartney, in using light as a symbol, complicates the meaning and turns this track into poetry. Light, especially light coming from the sky, is typically used in literature to represent wisdom or the divine. Clouds and darkness, on the other hand, are ominous and foreboding. In “Let It Be”, these symbols convey relaxing and letting go as a way out of darkness. This use of figurative language turns a regular song into poetry, as it takes a simple idea and deepens it. In other words, according to Perrine, poetry “increas[es] the range of our experience and [is] a glass for clarifying it” (What Is Poetry, 3), and this line satisfies.

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be”

This line from “Let It Be” shows the human experience, thus poeticizing it. It shows that during struggles, people lean on others and their wisdom to help walk them through. It also draws on our memories of others: when McCartney writes “comes to me”, he implies that his mother appears in the form of a memory. This section of the song follows the broadening our experiences poetic requirement outlined by Perrine, in that it illustrates something that everybody has experienced — recalling old wisdom.

“Let It Be” is a prime example of poetry in the music world, and it brings together a lesson for everyone on how to go through life, human experiences, and the acknowledgement that despite the world being messed up, Earth will keep turning and we can move on.

4 thoughts on “Letting Go and Letting Be

  1. LAUREN F.

    I adore the Beatles and have always found this song to be rather influential and I am grateful for the deep dive into it. I think I partly agree with Paul McCartney in the sense that there are some things in the world that we do not have control over and these things should not cloud our minds but I also think we do have the power to change at least some of the world around us.

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  2. Gigi D

    I really liked the interpretation of light symbolizing “wisdom or the divine” and the comparison to a cloudy sky. Referring to his lesson about the how the world will keep on spinning, I find this to be comforting but at the same time eye-opening and almost frightening that while one’s life can be turned up side down, the rest of the world is experiencing normalcy. However, I like the message about accepting how some things are out of out control.

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  3. Olivia M

    I love this song and I think your analysis of it is really interesting. I really like your interpretation of the multidimensional word “parted”. I never even thought of it as meaning anything other than people who had passed away.

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    1. Olivia M

      **I never thought of it as meaning anything other than people who had passed away but I don’t even think that’s right anymore. I like how it means both internally parted and parted between groups. I think that’s a really cool interpretation of it.

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