A-to-Z Challenge 2023 – P is for Patsy Cline – Resilience in Songs #atozchallenge #songs

The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.

The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter P

P is for Patsy Cline and Walkin’ After Midnight.

Patsy Cline wasn’t keen on recording Walkin’ After Midnight, but it turned out to be a good decision for her career. She performed the song on January 21, 1957 on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts television show. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, “The excessive audience applause froze the show’s applause meter, and Cline won first place on that night’s show.” Her record company did a rush-release for it as a single that hit the airwaves on February 11th.

This song shows the darker side of the human psyche when it comes to employing coping strategies to deal with trauma, disappointment, tragedy, heartbreak, etc. Sometimes, we’re simply unable to move on from bad experiences, and the only way we deal with what happened is to consciously hang onto a thread of hope, while subconsciously knowing there is no hope. All I can say is our minds don’t always ‘play fair’ when it comes to our coping mechanisms within resilience. This is one of those songs.

This song is a story of a woman who is dealing with either the aftermath of a romantic breakup OR the death of the man she loved.

I go out walkin’ after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do, I’m always walkin’
After midnight, searchin’ for you

Whatever happened to him, we realize they used to walk together late at night in the moonlight, which was a special time for them. Now that he’s gone and she’s left behind, alone, to deal with his absence, she still goes out walking and looking for him with the hope-against-all-hope that she’ll encounter him. Down deep, her rational self knows she’s not going to find him, but her fragile self can’t face that reality. To accept it would be too dangerous for her psyche.

I go out walkin’ after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just hopin’ you may be somewhere a-walkin’
After midnight, searchin’ for me

I’m lonesome as I can be

In her loneliness, her heart isn’t able to let go and move on. In her mind, she’s trapped in memories, and she’s yearning for what they used to have together.

Well, that’s just my way
Of sayin’ I love you,

I’m more inclined to say it’s obsession, which isn’t a healthy or productive way to cope, but it’s all she has. This, too, is an aspect of resilience: Doing what you have to do to keep your sanity. I’ve always thought the woman in the song was on the ragged edge of a complete emotional and psychological breakdown.

*Trees and Path image by meantux at Openverse

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time


      1. Some of the best songs are like that though, you don’t realise the hidden depths until you stop to think about it

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