Lyric discussion by robert1044 

As inspiring at the history of the song as told by ianrobertson is, the actual story is bit less dramatic but more inclusive to all of us and can be found here:

I think the fact that Ian's post was not necessarily the real story might be gleaned as Ian described the girl who inspired it as a "daughter of a friend." A friend who apparently is a "bitter bride" and "long suffering" who married an "iron man" and a "war machine". Not very complimentary description for friends.

This is my favorite Natalie Merchant song. And as beautiful as it is, what always moved me about this song was the ending, which -- as hopeful and inspiring the rest of the song is -- the ending is a real slap in the face.

But I tell you life is short Be thankful because before you know It will be over

'Cause life is sweet And life is also very short Your life is sweet

And then she repeats the last two lines over and over as it fades away. Life is short and that's what makes it sweet. Inspiring and haunting at the same time.

I was lucky to see her perform on her last anniversary tour. center stage 10 rows back. It was so lovely. A cherished moment in my life.

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