David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 118: Morrissey (Now My Heart Is Full)

August 22, 2020

This post in this series should be the shortest one. In some ways, it goes out to one person.

Leave it to Morrissey to capture emotions succinctly:

"I'm tired again/

I've tried again/

And now my heart is full/

Now my heart is full/

And I just can't explain

So I won't even try to."

But here I go again trying.

With a single figure of speech, a full heart, Morrissey nails the beauty of life . . . and the pain of life. What are the limits of human capacity to love and care for one another?

I look at every relationship that forms throughout my life, see the pain that each person, whether wife, son, sister, brother-in-law, niece, cousin, friend, colleague, carries with them. "Everyone I love will recline on an analyst's couch quite soon," Morrissey sings, reminding me that we are all connected. Being human is being flawed, a vulnerability especially frightening when part of a broader community. The act of loving, caring, doing what is right, drains, especially because to do so means taking on the burdens others bear. Sorry, don't try to get to know me. The franchise is closed as my heart is full.

On the surface, this is what Morrissey seems to be saying: I just don't know if I can take on more -- my heart is full. With no more capacity, the chambers are bursting at the seams.

But with Morrissey mope there is usually hope, rearing its angelic head through voice and melody.  Morrissey's voice, a vastly unappreciated musical instrument, undermines the closed "set" that could be a full heart. His singing actually expands the acoustic shell of a heart. Our hearts are capable of more love than we think we can bare. A beautiful soaring guitar bridges the chorus to verse two, where eventually we admit our greatest weakness. "But Bunnie I loved you," he croons, only to fall back again on "I was tired again. I've tried again."

We have all felt broken down, wondering how we go on. Our hearts have the capacity to be be fuller, to expand with feelings of love, pride, hope, compassion. Beyond the surface, "Now My Heart is Full" is about that capacity to feel all of these things and more. Even though Morrissey winds down the song, repeating "I can't explain," he trails that phrase with  "so, so, so, so . . . ," leaving us the possibility of anything and everything.

Morrissey has said this song "was the definitive expression of my change to adulthood."1 There are numerous times we all wish we could revert to childhood when things were so simple and that our hearts didn't have to filter the bad with the good. My capacity to love, to do my job so that 100's of others can do their jobs or pursue their dreams, to knock off one more freaking blog on the way to 365, amazes me. How much more can I give?  My heart, which I have been very sensitive about since July 2017, sure feels like it could explode from the difficulties, but when day turns to night I take solace that "I've tried again."

Vauxhall And I, where "Now My Heart Is Full" serves as the opening track, finishes with an equally poignant Morrissey song, "Speedway," framed by the opening lyric, "when you slam down the hammer, can you see it in your heart?" Now more than ever we need to forego the hammers in our heart and increase our capacities to care for one another.

If a reader doesn't get this, the second link below might help, a recording of Morrissey performing the song in jubilation (recognize, Morrissey does jubilation differently than most of us) on the day after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage. If that doesn't help you understand how "Now My Heart Is Full" expresses the full breadth of being human, well, there's nothing more to explain, so I won't even try to.

"Now My Heart is Full." Morrissey. Vauxhall And I. Sire/Reprise. 1994. Link here. Live Performance Link here.

1"Now My Heart is Full." Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_My_Heart_Is_Full

Day 117: Elvis Presley "Suspicious Minds."

Day 119: Don McLean "American Pie."->

See complete list here.