Writing song lyrics and writing poetry have similar writing techniques as both forms of art attempt to place the reader in different feet than their own and transport the readers/listeners into an alternate reality. We Three, a sibling band, experienced the tragic loss of losing their mother to cancer, but it inspired them to write a song from her perspective, on what they thought went through her mind as she stared death in the face. They titled this song “Heavens Not Too Far Away”, which already shows the listener the central theme of the song and by the usage of diction in the opening stanza sets the whole message of the song.
… Honey, I thought you should know
That I’m in a hurry
I’ve got to move up north
But it’s just temporary
When I look at you I see your beauty
Now my baby boy he’s gonna lose me
This opening stanza also allows the listener to see that this song is in the perspective of not the songwriters themselves, as they refer to themselves in the third person, but their mother. It also establishes that maybe the mom believes that she isn’t leaving her kids, spiritually, because she was their mother, a figure that is supposed to support her kids for their full life. It is implied that her life was cut too short, and this stanza also establishes maybe what the songwriters/ her kids wanted to believe because the dark reality that their mother is gone from the physical world is too sad to bear. This also shows that this song has a central message but also leaves room for some interpretation for the listeners. The repetition of the line “it’s just temporary” located in the first and very last line of the song, places emphasis on the speaker believing there is something past death, and she will one day see her kids again. However, it uses the word it’s because although it seems like the logical thing it’s would be referring to is leaving her kids, it also allows the reader to interpret what it’s could mean. The word it’s could be analyzed as the pain that the kids, the pain the mom feels, or the burden of taking care of one’s younger siblings.
The chorus of this song goes like
But Heaven’s not too far away
I know someday you’ll vist
And I didn’t think it’d go this way
Can I please have one more minute
The chorus has a meter of 7 syllables per line, which is more crucial in a song than a poem as it gives the song more fluency to the words so it flows smoothly with the instrumentals. Although a poem has no instrumentals to it, there still needs to be a continuous flow so the experience the poem attempts to paint is smooth and not filled with awkward breaks between lines or stanzas. This song takes that into consideration with the chorus especially since this is the most remembered verse and its given meter is what makes it sounds so good and rememberable.
The song itś self doesn’t use a lot of poetic devices but according to Perrine’s Sounds and Sense first chapter “What is Poetry” defines poetry as something that creates “significant new experiences” as it “broadens” and “deepens” the reader’s knowledge in this world. This song is not only personal for the writers but it also lets listeners in on a viewpoint, that is mostly unheard of in the public eye. As well as, creates empathy for kids who lost their parents to a disease or accident at a relatively young age. This song also targets the audience of kids who have lost their parents because this song could be looked at as a type of message to a kid who lost a parent. A message that maybe wasn’t always told to these kids, so they take comfort in this song. This is in some ways juxtaposes Perrine’s definition that poetry has to take you to a new place, as this song could take people back in time if they experienced the loss of a parent. Before or after, the present, the song brings its audience members to a time that isn’t the present and most times different from the world they are in.