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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'slove all the same,

Not the stuff of fantasy but more than just a game.

And the only kind of miracle that'worthy of the name,

For the love that heals our lives is mostly hard love.

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