Poetry in lyrics: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young

Neil Young is a perfect candidate for exploration when it comes to analyzing poetry in lyricism. From what I can tell, he always adds the perfect touches and flourishes of exactly what a song needs to transcend boredom–musically and lyrically (it’s amazing really).

Lyrics in “Harvest Moon

No clearer is this then on the title track “Harvest Moon” from the album Harvest Moon. Not only is the bedrock of music perfect for the theme of love lost and memory, but the melody and lap steel swells are a gorgeous execution of country/folk music that is both melancholy and wistful.

Because I’m still in love with you,
I want to see you dance again.
Because I’m still in love with you,
On this harvest moon.

The loving immediacy in those lyrics drips from each word and yet we are painted a picture of reflection: somebody the wiser now looking back at a love he thinks on fondly and a love the writer wants to revisit.

As the lyrics state:

When we were strangers,
I watched you from afar.
When we were lovers,
I loved you with all my heart

No doubt, there is a playfulness with the treatment of the fall (Harvest Moon) as a time to renew love even though it often signifies a change or the ending of the year (before the winter times). However, the fall could also signify the end of one’s life and the yearning for a reunion before death.

Young sings:

But now it’s gettin’ late
And the moon is climbing high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin’ in your eyes

It is a really excellent ode to that feeling of a love ended paired with all the feelings tied up with the fall; and though sad, it carries with it a great weight of understanding.