If My Love Could Kill

Album: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • This song is about the Alzheimer's that killed Lucinda Williams' father in January 2015. The lauded Arkansas poet Miller Williams is best known for writing Bill Clinton's second-term inaugural poem, Of History and Hope.
  • Lucinda Williams told Uncut the story of the song: "The initial inspiration came during one of the last times I was with him. He suddenly said, 'I can't write poetry anymore.' For him, it was like saying he could no longer hear or see. I just broke down and started sobbing. Sorry, I'm going to start crying again. (pause)

    Anyway, later that night I wrote this ode to him that said, it doesn't matter if you can't write anymore, because you are poetry."
  • The subject of the song is described but not named. Williams explained to Mojo: "I like to leave things open to a degree of interpretation. I wrote that song about my dad's Alzheimer's disease. I was personifying it as if it was a murderer or thief. I was angry at the disease. It seems to attack the most brilliant minds. My dad's older brother, who was head of the chemistry department at Louisiana State University, died from it too."
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