The Ship on His Arm

Album: Hard Bargain (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • The song's title was borrowed from a Terry Allen drawing that the wife of Country artist Guy Clark had given Emmylou a copy of. However, the lyrics were inspired by the story of Emmylou's own parents, career military officer Walter Harris and his wife Eugenia. Walter Harris, was a member of the Marine Corps, who was reported missing in action in Korea in 1952 and spent ten months there as a prisoner of war. She explained: "I made up a story about a young couple who were separated and finally reunited. It's a tip of the hat to the experience I had as a child, though I can't imagine what my mother and father were actually going through. I just saw this extraordinary love. I don't know what they went through to make it even stronger, but they were incredibly in love for 50 years. That's had a huge influence on me and this song was a roundabout way of telling a little bit of their story - even though my father never had a tattoo."

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