I'm held in this song: 'Heart of Gold'

Neil Young performs in concert in 2016. (Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH)

Neil Young performs in concert in 2016. (Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH)

by Ray Levy Uyeda

View Author Profile

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts to Letters to the Editor. Learn more

To tell you the truth, I have not been listening to the lyrics. "Harvest." Neil Young's fourth album. Ten songs in 1972. He was 27.

I'm listening for the feeling. I'm listening for what lies behind the words. The upward, tight pitch of his voice opposes the melancholy of his guitar. It's a strange partnership. I'm kept captive in the moment of a song I'd forgotten I knew: "Heart of Gold." I'd forgotten where I first heard it. 

It begins: I want to live / I want to give / I've been a miner / For a heart of gold.

It never changes. What makes good art is the ability to tell. To tell the truth. A truth. What else does one tell? Secrets. Stories. Predictions. Histories. To our lovers, how we care for them. And time. Always time.

And I'm getting old. What 27-year-old gets old? What young person is afraid of age?

Age and its myriad representations, age like a synecdoche for time passing. Passing is also the way to describe death, politely. Time passing, how a minute dies, without upset.

For example: I'm moving away from my home of two years. As I write this, half-filled boxes litter my bedroom. I've given away furniture. I've made the rooms empty. Boxes unline the shelves. I've turned the clock backward into herself.

Of time, an example: The unmaking of a home because the time here is: up. Or, the time here can no longer exist. Or, I cannot live in the time here any longer. And I am no longer hungry for this space.

It's these expressions / I never give / That keep me searching / For a heart of gold.

Held in this song. Held in memories of this space. I am fixated on this song and the impossible task of searching, not for a place, but a person. To build time into one's life for this task. Better to act on time rather than time to act on you.

"Really time seems to be going faster because we're cramming so much into it," Young once said. Time keep me searching / For a heart of gold.

Two years, one eclipsed over the other, like a hand held in the body's second hand. Ephemera of my home off to another's. I'm not yet 27. Not afraid of age, afraid to age. Not afraid of growing older. Afraid of time passing; afraid of time as she is wont to act, afraid of her unrelenting. Keep me searching. Keep me searching. Keep me searching.

Latest News


1x per dayDaily Newsletters
1x per weekWeekly Newsletters
2x WeeklyBiweekly Newsletters