"Widow Of A Living Man" as written by and Ben Harper....
Mama why does he treat me so cold
Why do I feel so old
How long has he treated me unkind
Or have I always been so blind

I'm the widow of a living man

Why can't the times stay the same
Now I am begging him to change
What about all the plans we made
Now I am so afraid

I'm the widow of a living man

Why does he hurt me so
I'm gonna need someplace to go
He's no longer some kind woman's son
Mama I think that I had better run

I'm the widow of a living man

Lyrics submitted by dragonflower44

"Widow of a Living Man" as written by Ben C Harper

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Widow Of A Living Man song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThei is about Ben Harpers's father who would often be drunk and if I remember, he got violent a few times, but yeah then he left home after a while, way sad
    Olexon January 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI dont know anything about Bens personal life, but I always got the drift that he was talking about his father, as he refers to his mother throughout the song, he gestures the 'man' is his father.

    I think of a child being confused/upset that their parent who should be their gaurdian neglects them emotionally rather than physically. His father is 'dead' to him, or perhaps vice versa.
    Such a sad reality, and all too common.

    Having said that, Ben is brilliant.
    productofthe80son April 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentproductofthe80s, I think the whole song is from the perspective of the woman who is the widow of a living man. When she talks to "mama", she is referring to her mother, not Ben Harper's. There's no mention of a child, and no particular reason to think there is one. Not everything is literally nonfictional.
    theslartibartfaston July 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReading over it again from that perspective, It does make more sense, and I do realise that not everything is literal, but thats my interpretation.
    productofthe80son July 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think it's about his dad. Ben wrote this song with the intention of Emmylou Harris or Dolly Parton (or someone like that) to sing it, but it never got to that so he just decided to do it. (See ACL interview) It's actually supposed to be from a woman's perspective; perhaps one that is in an unhappy relationship, (widow of a living man).
    mar_mar16on August 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always get the image of a child overhearing his mother on the phone with her mother. The song is entirely one-sided and definitely from a woman's perspective. I suppose the child overhearing it is just how I add in Ben.
    sertaon September 25, 2014   Link

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