Song for Monday: ‘Throw it Away’ (Abbey Lincoln)

Chris Eldredge recently sent this crazy-beautiful song by Abbey Lincoln (below). “These magic words in a magic book” seem perfect for re-entry to Improvised Life after the challenges of the past few weeks. Lincoln’s lyrics could be Improvised Life’s anthem and are a fine way to embark on a Monday morning.

Here’s Throw It Away from Abbey Sings Abbey.

 

I think about the life I live
A figure made of clay
And think about the things I lost
The things I gave away

And when I’m in a certain mood
I search the halls and look
One night I found these magic words
In a magic book

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your life, live your love
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
‘Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

There’s a hand that rocks the cradle
And a hand to help us stand
With a gentle kind of motion
As it moves across the land

And the hand’s unclenched and open
Gifts of life and love it brings
So keep your hand wide open
If you’re needing anything

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
‘Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

There’s a natural obligation to what we own and claim
Possessing and belonging to acknowledging a name
So keep your hand wide open if you’re needing love today
Cuz you can’t lose it even if you throw it all away

Throw it away
Throw it away
Give your love, live your life
Each and every day

And keep your hand wide open
Let the sun shine through
‘Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

‘Cause you can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you
You can never lose a thing
If it belongs to you

 

These wise lyrics made us want to find out more about the woman who wrote them. Lincoln’s life story is pure Improvised Life as well. From a 2007 NY Times articles about her:

In New York Mr. Roach brought her into his world of artistic experimentation and political engagement. Ms. Lincoln cut herself loose from her satiny image. She’s fond of recalling the emblematic moment when she burned the dress she sported in “The Girl Can’t Help It,” which had previously been worn by Marilyn Monroe.

…Her advice to any artist would be ‘to sing your own song,’ Ms. Lincoln said. ‘Don’t look to me, look to yourself.’

Cinerama Releasing

Cinerama Releasing

 

You can sample a trove of Abby Lincoln songs here.

5 Responses to Song for Monday: ‘Throw it Away’ (Abbey Lincoln)

  1. Helen S. 10.06.2014 at 6:40am #

    What a way to wake up Monday or simply lift sagging spirits! Beautiful!

  2. Ellen Rocco 10.06.2014 at 6:56am #

    Thank you…

  3. Susan Taylor 10.06.2014 at 2:16pm #

    Awoke at 4 am on the left coast, already thinking about another brutal day of hotness, no rain and outdoor chores. I peeked on my email to find you back! Read the poem, tripped through a light fantastic. Felt lighter, do-able, and a smile on my heart. What relief! And then, breaking treasured things, what a meditation… I know that feeling, too. Let it be, go, and then just remember. Love away, give away, live.
    As always, thank you.

  4. Sally 10.06.2014 at 7:17pm #

    I am so fogged, I missed an essential lyric. Thanks to reader Zoe Komaransky for patiently replaying the song to capture this beautiful chunk:

    “There’s a natural obligation to what we own and claim
    Possessing and belonging to acknowledging a name
    So keep your hand wide open if you’re needing love today
    Cuz you can’t lose it even if you throw it all away”

  5. Sally 10.06.2014 at 9:07pm #

    The song brought me back…said: here’s the message to start back with. Please take a look at the chunkette of lyrics I left out, that a reader sent in, having painstakingly played the song back over and over to get it.

    I’m so happy to hear how it’s resonated…..

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