These three songs are ones I want played at my funeral. Of necessity this means I am choosing songs liable to induce tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth, because what is the point of holding a funeral if people can’t let the pain out? They will feel better for it.
The songs come from my childhood – if I am not tired of them yet I am unlikely to change my mind now. Some of these new-fangled songs from the last couple of decades just haven’t been around long enough to gauge for staying power.
I hope you will not mind my melancholy turn this evening. Things are a bit like that at the moment.
I fell in love with this song when I was little; I saw Mary Hopkin singing it on television and somehow it seemed like the saddest thing in the world. I think it was my first realisation of the fragility and transience of life, that we do actually all grow old and die and sometimes we have regrets. It was pretty powerful stuff for a seven year old. The song makes me feel the same way as the early analogy of life as a sparrow flying from the storm outside into the light and warmth of the crowded hall and then back into the darkness and cold. It isn’t comforting except in its shared humanity and recognition of our precious passing days.
This is another one of those songs from childhood. I used to sing it to myself when going to sleep. Unlike Mary’s song, it was comforting. If I am going into the last sleep, then this is the song to take me there.
Nevertheless, along with comfort in the face of the inevitable I want to wave two fingers in the face of oblivion, hence ending with my last song…
This is the most modern of the trio. It is the complete summation of my teenage angst and fury at the world.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.