"My Opening Farewell" as written by and Jackson Browne....
A lady stands before an open window
Staring so far away
She can almost feel the southern wind blow
Almost touching her restless day

She turns from her window to me
Sad smile her apology
Sad eyes reaching to the door

Daylight loses to another evening
And still she spares me the word goodbye
And sits alone beside me fighting her feelings
Struggles to speak but in the end can only cry

Suddenly it's so hard to find
The sound of the words to speak her troubled mind
So I'm offering these to her as if to be kind
There's a train everyday leaving either way
There's a world, you know
There's a way to go
And you'll soon be gone, that's just as well
This is my opening farewell

A child's drawings left there on the table
And a woman's silk lying on the floor
And I would keep them here if I were able
Lock her safe behind this open door

But suddenly it's so clear to me
That I'd asked her to see what she may never see
And now my kind words find their way back to me
There's a train everyday leaving either way
There's a world, you know
You got a way's to go
And I'll soon believe, it's just as well
This is my opening farewell


Lyrics submitted by Howard55

"My Opening Farewell" as written by Jackson Browne

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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My Opening Farewell song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAnother great song. A couple are on the verge of a break up. The man holds on for a long time hoping to convince the woman to stay with him, even going so far as to give her reasons to stay, "I'm offering these to her as if to be kind." He eventually realizes that while he may feel strongly for her, all he's really doing is keeping her in an unwanted and depressing relationship, or as he puts it, "lock her safe behind this open door." He also comes to understand that his vision of their future did not fit hers and he had in essence, "asked her to see what she may never see." So he gives her his opening farewell as he prepares to leave their relationship behind.
    wearydreameron August 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see how it could be about a couple breaking up, but I see it more as a man whose daughter is moving out. I'm not sure why I see it that way, but it makes sense in that in the first verse he refers to her as "A lady" showing she's grown up and they are not so close anymore, and she needs to go out into the world for herself. Again when he mentions the "child's drawings" and "a woman's silk", he is referencing her growth again. He realizes she will never see his vision of having her close to him. But is trying to comfort her and himself by saying that she can visit often via the "train everyday, leaving either way". The next line "there's a world you know" could be spoken by the daughter who is trying to explain herself.
    Finally, he accepts her leaving and knowing that he will lose her more and more as she grows older and that he will repeat the process with his other children, he says "this is my opening farewell."
    OldSoul1on May 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this is just one of those great lyrics that may or may not have illustrated something Jackson had lived....but had just come to understand.....written so skillfully that almost anyone could find their own story in the words.
    kitconsulon September 24, 2014   Link
  • +1
    Song ComparisonI like how this song was portrayed by JD Souther on the Jackson Browne Tribute Album "Looking Into You". I think this is a sensational cover of this song which I had largely ignored until I heard this version. Now I can't get enough of it. Brilliantly produced too. The lyrics are so great and I agree with all of the comments above, it's so beautiful that it could mean lots of different things. That is the essence of Jackson's writing, he conjures up the imagination to many different scenario's. Jackson's lyrics are wonderful but JD Souther just nails this one.
    paul162910on January 14, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this is a two layer story. At first, the woman wants to leave the relationship ("sad eyes looking to the door") and sees that it will not last. But he tries to give her comfort and almost defiantly tells her that she can come and go as she pleases ("train every day leaving either way"), he's not holding her there, in fact taunts her ("you'll soon be gone, it's just as well").

    Later, she has won his heart. They have a child together. He now wants to protect her, to lock her and the child safely from the world. However, now she has already gone ("a child's drawings left there on the table and a woman's silk lying on the floor"). Suddenly he recalls his kind (but taunting) words, that she can come and go as she pleases, even though now, his false taunting and bravado are see as just a way of protecting himself. He does not want her to go. Yet "there's a train every day, leaving either way" echos in his mind, and his now broken heart.
    reedsteron January 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother one of my fave Jackson lines ever:

    "There's a train everyday. Leaving either way."
    hostertogon August 14, 2009   Link

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