Tell It To Her Softly

The driver screeched up to the curb.  He waved his fare over and hastily loaded her groceries into the trunk.  The bottles rattled around as he honked and tailgated through the holiday traffic.  Crowded parks, overheated food carts, outdoor concerts and fireworks at dusk.  He would write his citizenship exam in nine days–he could hardly believe it.

Break it to them gently when you tell them
That I won’t be coming home again

A hot breeze filled her lungs.  Tears welled, catching her off-guard.

‘Cause I’m running with a gun and it isn’t any fun as a fugitive
Fightin’ for my life and I don’t know if I’ll make it alone

The scent of lilac and wild rose propelled her back.  Flowers strewn over the threshold a moment before she was choked by tear gas and heavy boots kicked down the door.

When you see my lady with the twinkle in her eyes
Tell it to her softly and hold her if she cries

Pinned to the floor — a gun barrel pushing into her neck — until they were satisfied that he wasn’t there.

Tell her that I love her and I will ’til the day I die
Tell it to her gently

Pale golden light cascaded over the shambles of her bedroom when she found his letter.

I got in too deep with strangers
Thinking they could help me find my way

His words weighed on her chest.

And break it to my Grandma, who said, ‘That boy’s wild and bad’
Break it to them gently when you tell them

Each breath squeezed from her body.  Until she collapsed, gasping.

Tell it to her softly.  His voice muffled in her hair.


“Lady, this is the address?”  She blinked.  Oh, yes.  She climbed out of the taxi as he unloaded her things.  “Party today?”  He gestured to all the wine.  She nodded.  Party, hibernation, yes, she smiled weakly.

“Do not be sad, lady,” the driver hesitated.  “You are free.”


[Lyrics in italics from, “Break It To Them Gently.”  Written by Burton Cummings.  Original release:  Dream Of A Child, 1978.]

Video posted to youtube by user IndyDuane





14 thoughts on “Tell It To Her Softly

        1. Thank you for the link to your terrific post! The Anser Mural is beautiful. The Guess Who and Burton are such talented musicians that it’s fitting they’ve received these tributes.
          There seem to be a lot of musicians and artists out of Winnipeg…maybe there’s something in the water?
          Please do another Guess Who post!

          Liked by 1 person

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