If I Could
Jack Johnson Lyrics


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A brand new baby was born yesterday just in time
Papa cried baby cried said your tears are like mine
I heard some words from a friend on the phone didn't sound so good
The doctors gave him two weeks to live
I'd give him more if I could

You know that I would now if only I could
You know that I would now if only I could

Down the middle drops one more grain of sand
They say that new life makes losin' life easier to understand
Words are kind they help ease the mind I miss my old friend
And thou you gotta go we'll keep a piece of your soul
One goes out, one comes in





You know that I would now if only I could
You know that I would now if only I could

Overall Meaning

The first verse of Jack Johnson's "If I Could" introduces us to the birth of a baby and the impending death of a friend, and the two events seem to be connected by the theme of renewal and the unremitting cycle of life and death. At first, we see the joy of birth as a new baby is born, but then that joy is tempered by the news of the friend's diagnosis, which reveals the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. The friend's impending death forces the singer to confront his own mortality, and he admits that he is powerless to prevent his friend's death, but he wishes he could, and his empathy for his friend's suffering is expressed through the line, "I'd give him more if I could."


The second verse of the song continues to explore the theme of death and renewal, as the singer reflects on his friend's passing and the comfort he finds in the idea of new life. The line "They say that new life makes losin' life easier to understand" suggests that the cyclical nature of life, with its inexorable cycle of birth and death, can be a source of consolation and understanding in the face of death. The singer also expresses gratitude for the words of kindness from others in the wake of his friend's passing, and he vows to keep the memory of his friend alive, even as he acknowledges that "One goes out, one comes in."


Overall, "If I Could" is a song about the inevitability of death and the power of empathy and connection to mitigate its impact. Through its nuanced exploration of these themes, the song reminds us of the preciousness of life, and the importance of cherishing our moments together while we can.


Line by Line Meaning

A brand new baby was born yesterday just in time
A newborn arrived just in time


Papa cried baby cried said your tears are like mine
The father cried with the newborn and saw himself in the baby


I heard some words from a friend on the phone didn't sound so good
Received bad news from a friend over the phone


The doctors gave him two weeks to live
The doctors gave someone two weeks to live


I'd give him more if I could
Wishes to give the person more time to live


You know that I would now if only I could
Reiterating the desire to give more time if possible


Down the middle drops one more grain of sand
Time continues to pass and life goes on


They say that new life makes losin' life easier to understand
The arrival of a new life can help cope with the loss of another


Words are kind they help ease the mind I miss my old friend
Words can offer comfort in difficult times, and the singer misses a friend who passed away


And thou you gotta go we'll keep a piece of your soul
Even though the friend is gone, their spirit will live on


One goes out, one comes in
The cycle of life and death continues




Lyrics © Bubble Toes Publishing, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING
Written by: Jack Hody Johnson

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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