Gnarled Bones is a song about a man searching for his soul mate. He carries a sadness from this – which he calls ‘gnarled bones’ – with him throughout his life, sometimes catching echoes of her from a past life with his true love. Follow this man’s journey as he searches . . . and concludes he’s a better man for the journey.

Gnarled Bones Song Lyrics

(Whitaker/Kelley 2015)

I’ve no memory of the greatest loving

of my existence, only an odd feeling

of great loss, which I carry like gnarled bones.

All these bones I heft through this strange life, dragging

myself through the long process, yearning, trying

my damnedest to create a pure peace, my tones.

Know you’re out there somewhere, I see,

find you anywhere, I believe,

I’ll never stop searching, I’ll be

a better man for the journey,

just a good man for the journey.

Some call me crazy, living with gnarled bones,

bones in my music, bones in the very eyes

of my exuberance; why do they appear

when my will would grind them down like pumice stones?

Then her spirit hints, a déjà vu, belies

something I cannot grasp; she’s just a veneer.

Know you’re out there somewhere, I see,

find you anywhere, I believe,

I’ll never stop searching, I’ll be

a better man for the journey,

just a good man for the journey.

Glimpse her in the corner of a fresh girl’s eye,

in the tilt of a waitress’ slender hand,

Once I dreamt her say, “I fear you’ll never trust

in death, but then can you trust one such as I?”

She’s in the brown river of Time, I’m the sand;

I’ve always known she’s the steel and I’m the rust.

Know you’re out there somewhere, I see,

find you anywhere, I believe,

I’ll never stop searching, I’ll be

a better man for the journey,

just a good man for the journey.

Artist’s note:

Will and Ariel Durant (1885-1981 and 1898-1981) wrote in “The Story of Civilization,” that “When a Hindu is asked why we have no memory of our past incarnations, he answers that likewise we have no memory of our infancy; and as we presume our infancy to explain our maturity, so he presumes past existences to explain our place and fate in our present life.”

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Gnarled Bones

by Don Whitaker | Gnarled Bones

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