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Hard Love

This song is by June Tabor and appears on the album Angel Tiger (1992) and on the box set Always (2005).

I remember growing up like it was only yesterday
Mom and Daddy tried best to guide me on my way
But the hard times and the liquor drove the easy love away
And only love I knew about was hard love

It was hard love, every hour of the day
When Christmas to my birthday was a million years away
And the fear that came between them drove the tears into my play
There was love in Daddy's house, but it was hard love

And I recall the gentle courtesy you gave me as I tried
To dissemble in politeness, all the love I felt inside
And for every song of laughter, was another song that cried
This ain't no easy week-end, this is hard love

It was hard love, every step of the way
Hard to be so close to you, so hard to turn away
And when all the stars and sentimental songs dissolved today
There was nothing left to sing about but hard love

So I loved you for your courage and your gentle sense of shame
And I loved you for your laughter and your language and your name
And I knew it was impossible, but I loved you just the same
Though the only love I gave to you was hard love

It was hard love, it was hard on you I know
When the only love I gave to you was love I couldn't show
You forgave the heart that loved you as your lover turned to go
Leaving nothing but the memory of hard love

So I'm standing in this phone booth with a dollar and a dime
Wondering what to say to you to ease your troubled mind
For the Lord's cross might redeem us, but our own just wastes our time
And to tell the two apart is always hard, love

So I'll tell you that I love you, even though I'm far away
And I'll tell you how you change me, as I live from day to day
How you help me to accept myself and I won't forget to say
Love is never wasted, even when it's hard love

Yes, it's hard love, but it's love all the same
Not the stuff of fantasy, but more than just a game
And the only kind of miracle that's worthy of the name
For the love that heals our lives is mostly hard love

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