The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66116   Message #1129739
Posted By: Jim Dixon
05-Mar-04 - 09:28 AM
Thread Name: origins: The Dutchman (Michael Smith): meanings?
Subject: RE: The Dutchman (M. Smith): meanings?
Though I like the song as a whole, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the lines "Long ago, I used to be a young man, and dear Margaret remembers that for me." It seems to imply that the Dutchman can't remember his own youth clearly, but Margaret can. According to my understanding, that's not how memory loss works.

I think it's more like this: It's not so much that you lose old memories as that you lose the ability to acquire new ones. It's like having a tape recorder where the recording heads have been gradually going bad for a long time, but the playback heads are just fine. So any tapes that you made long ago can be played back OK, but tapes you made more recently get increasingly faint or fuzzy.

It seems Margaret's real value to him would be that she can remember when it's time to go home, and how to get there, etc.; not that she can remember his being a young man.

But probably most people don't like to have their songs analyzed to that extent.