The first lines from James Taylor’s song Fire and Rain confuse me.
Just yesterday morning, they let me know you were gone.
Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song,
I just can't remember who to send it to.
Put aside the first two lines, which are confusing in their own right, and the fourth line, which is also slightly baffling. I’m interested in the third line, where Taylor says that he wrote the song ‘this morning.” It raises a number of interesting questions.
This may get a little complicated. See if you can follow:
1. Did Taylor actually write that line on the day that he wrote the song? Did he really walk out on the morning in question and write this song?
2. If he wrote it on the morning in question, did he then insert the line, which is the third in the song, into the song after writing the rest of the song? Or did he write the third line as the third line, indicating in the past tense that he had written a song this morning even though he was only three lines into the song at that point?
3. Is the line unauthentic? Did Taylor actually write this song at some other time rather than on the specific morning mentioned in the song? Is the mention of writing the song just part of the fantasy of the song, written only for the purposes of the narrative?
4. If the third line is inauthentic, why say it at all? Does this falsified timeline within the song really add anything to the song?
Here’s the most confusing of the questions:
5. If the line isn’t meant to be authentic, are we to then believe that James Taylor is singing these words, or is the songwriter referenced in the song someone other than James Taylor? Is Taylor writing and singing about a different singer-songwriter who has supposedly written the song, and if so, while performing the song, are we supposed to understand that Taylor is merely playing the role of that singer-songwriter, even though he also a singer-songwriter?
Did you follow?
More importantly, are you as disturbed about these questions as me?