Absence

by Mary Gauthier and Carrie Rodriguez


Don’t the last leaves on a maple
Look lonely on a late Autumn day?
Don’t people hold tighter
When love starts slipping away?

Don’t winter winds whisper
It’s time, time, time, to let go?
Don’t a maple look stronger
When her last leaves have fallen to the snow?

Snow, sleet, wind and rain
Breath on a windowpane
Absence is the hardest truth

Don’t a murder of crows on a maple
Roost hungry at night?
Don’t loose flocks soar over rooftops
In sorrowful flight?

Don’t winter crows call to each other
By the light of the moon?
Don’t a heart beat heavy alone
In a dark and empty room?

Snow, sleet, wind and rain
Breath on a windowpane
Absence is the hardest truth

Don’t the last leaves on a maple
Look lonely on a late November day?
Don’t people hold tighter
When love starts slipping away?

Snow, sleet, wind and rain
Breath on a windowpane
Absence is the hardest truth
Snow, sleet, wind and rain
Breath on a windowpane

Absence is the hardest truth
Absence is the hardest truth
Absence is the hardest truth
Absence is the hardest truth


“Uncut Gems” is a series of unreleased song lyrics, recipes, notes, and more by prominent Nashville songwriters.

Mary Gauthier was born in New Orleans in 1962.  Dixie Kitchen (1997) is the name of both her first album and a restaurant she founded in Boston.  In 2001 she moved to Nashville.  In 2005 Bobby Braddock told me to listen to “I Drink” off her album Mercy Now.  Bobby told me Gauthier was the real deal.  First time he ever told me that about anybody.  He was right. Bobby’s always right about songs.  The folks at No Depression magazine voted Mercy Now the #6 greatest album of the decade.

I teach work by Gauthier and Braddock in my Vanderbilt course, Country Lyric in American Culture.  Listened to in tandem, “Time Marches On” and “I Drink” provide a crash course on the persistence of trauma and transcendence in the American Family. – Alice Randall


Listen to more music in our current issue