It Grieveth Me

~ Religious, Soft Rock, Musical Theater ~ 2011-11-21

The allegory of the vineyard had it coming...

Notes / Back story

Several times in my life I've decided to sit down and really figure out the allegory of the vineyard, as found in the Book of Mormon, Jacob Chapter 5.  This song is one of those attempts!  I had the original idea for the chorus back in 2005, but could never figure out how to finish it.  One problem is that the story is so complex, it's really hard to put it all into a song that has anything less than a ludicrous number of verses.  Then of course is the question of whether to take any time talking about what it represents or just reiterate what it says. 

Sometime around 2006 I mentioned to my sister Kim that I was working a song about the allegory, and she said that she and her husband Alex frequently quoted to each other in frustration (regarding life, child-raising, etc.), "What more could I have done for my vineyard???"  I immediately saw how that could fit into the song.

I had always pictured this song as a musical theater piece, with a stage full of people in tree costumes moving around according to the directions of the song.  Who knows, maybe that will still happen some day, but recently I revisited it and decided that I would focus on the 'why' rather than the 'what', 'where', 'when' or 'who'.  And the 'why' is: * SPOILER ALERT!!! * Because the Savior loves us, and does everything he can for us both individually and as a whole.  He wants us to be happy, productive and successful.  Knowing that is more significant to us personally that knowing which nations are represented by which parts of the vineyard.

If you put yourself in the place of the writers of the scriptures, I think you find a lot of really funny things said or implied.  Those guys may have spoken another language, but they thought and felt much as we do.  I think that the mixture of Old English with modern slang in this song helps to lend an air of lightheartedness to it and helps us to realize the similarities.  I guess it's something of an inside joke: People who don't read the scriptures will be like, "What?"  But then they probably wouldn't get this song anyway.

The world is full of fun and funny things, and I believe that God approves when we find the humor in everyday things, as long as we know the difference between finding humor in a religious setting and mocking things that are sacred. 

You know, the mixture of Old English with modern slang is also one reason why I liked the 80's movie "Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure".  Not that there is anything sacred about that.

References: Book of Mormon: Jacob Chapter 5


I am the master of a vineyard, see,
What I got is a lot of nice olive trees
They bring forth fruit, and when it's good,
They make me happy like they should

Can you see it really pleaseth me?

Sometimes branches grow the wrong way,
They break and die, or begin to decay
But when that happens I am there
To prune and graft and give repair

Because my vineyard really needeth me.

And It grieveth me, It grieveth me,
That I should lose the fruit of these trees
It puts me out, it brings me down,
That I should never have this fruit around,
It's goodness staying in the ground,
And with no good fruit to be found,
You see, it really grieveth me!

Movin' over here
To prune your branches
Movin' over there
I will replant you
Moving over here
To fertilize you
Movin over there
To satisfy your needs, your needs
And pull the weeds.

Come now let us go and see
What has become of my tame olive tree?
The roots are old and begin to decay
And I don't want to see it that way

Can't you see it really grieveth me?

Now it's time that we come around
And check the tree in the best spot of ground
Preserved until the final day
Branches withering away

Can't you see that really grieveth me?
It grieveth me, It grieveth me,
That I should lose the fruit of these trees
It puts me out, it brings me down,
That I should never have this fruit around,
It's goodness staying in the ground,
And with no good fruit to be found,
You see, it really grieveth me!

What more could I have done for my vineyard?
What more could I have done for my vineyard?
What more could I have done for my vineyard?
What more could I have done for my vineyard?

Pluck the branches from
A wild olive tree
And bring them hither
unto me

Branch to the tree
I will restore,
A final pruning,
Then no more

You see, you see
I love my trees

I am always caring for you,
Peace, now, I will not ignore you.

Prune and nourish, dig about you
I don't want to be without you.

You do not know all my reasons,
To lay up against the season.
Most precious unto me from the beginning,
Most precious unto me from the beginning.

And It pleaseth me, it pleaseth me
That I should have the fruit of these trees
It makes me glad, I wear no frown
And I will always keep this fruit around,
See it bursting from the ground,
Plenty of good to be found,
Yea, it no longer grieveth me!

Visitor Comments

JRS from United States ~ 2011-12-05 18:15:26 ~ Thank you for the new perspective on this allegory. I suppose I had been so focused on the "serious" business of interpretation or message that I had never seen that the Master gardener could see the situation as both deadly earnest and joyful. I'll never read it again without hearing your "take" on it.

JH from United States ~ 2011-11-23 06:33:00 ~ Awesome! Love it!!

Nancy from United States ~ 2011-11-22 22:54:07 ~ Hi Kelly, Thank you for sharing your beautiful piece with us. The tune is lovely and your voice is so rich and well suited to the composition. Very pleasing and catchy.

Diana - Thatcher, AZ from United States ~ 2011-11-22 17:56:28 ~ Wow! What a treat! I have never "felt" anything from the allegory before except that it was a good story with a good moral. Now I see the feelings of the Keeper of the Vineyard. Thank you for sharing your talents.

BBQ from United States ~ 2011-11-22 16:35:37 ~ Wow, I am speachless!!! Without speech. The transitions in the music are of olympic porportions. What more can WE all do for our vineyards?

Betty from United States ~ 2011-11-22 13:15:00 ~ Hey Kelly, that's great. Kind of calypso, I like it. Nice vocal too, doesn't sound like the "director" voice,. ha~

Kim from United States ~ 2011-11-22 07:28:00 ~ Glad I could be part of the backstory for your newest song! :) Thanks for sharing. We still use the "What could I have done more for my vineyard?" phrase.

Mary Ellsworth from United States ~ 2011-11-21 21:30:56 ~ Love it!!!

G from United States ~ 2011-11-21 21:17:00 ~ I really like the way you used a "mixture of Old English with modern slang." I think that it is very effective and ought to be done more. Since Jacob chapter 5 can be so difficult I think that your "focus on the 'why' rather than the 'what', 'where', 'when' or 'who'" really helps us to get the point rather than get lost in the details. As you explained the point is: "And the 'why' is ... the Savior loves us, and does everything he can for us both individually and as a whole. He wants us to be happy, productive and successful ..." which many just don't get because they get confused and give up. With your song it seems to me that nobody will miss the main point. Also, I think the the soothing music helps emotionally and spiritually reinforce that point.

Dr. Dave Lunt from United States ~ 2011-11-21 20:24:47 ~ It's very marketable, Kelly. Do you have an SATB arrangement for it? I can see it fitting into some kind of a cantata. Keep writing and composing...not decomposing, of chorus!

B from United States ~ 2011-11-21 19:26:00 ~ What?? No dunging?? Well, I guess that's all for the best. Nourishing and fertilizing are probably more acceptable language in our day. I like the song. I'm not picking up on the humor of it, but I'm liking it as a light, simplified version of a beautiful (though somewhat confusing) bit of scripture. I guess it's not really confusing. You just have to concentrate very hard (and perhaps sketch out a diagram) not to get lost in the work of the keeper of the vineyard! Your song simplifies that and makes an enjoyable listening experience out of it. Fun lyrics. Nice "harpy" instrumentals. Good work.

Jennifer from United States ~ 2011-11-21 18:15:00 ~ That allegory has been so tough for me. I really appreciate your take on it. Thanks for sharing! I really liked the music. Nice! BTW, my husband has said since he began his hobby of grafting fruit trees this allegory makes total sense. (I don't know if I buy that claim. But maybe.)

Saralynn from Korea, Republic Of ~ 2011-11-21 17:19:43 ~ It took me minute to get into it. The beginning felt a bit novice to me. Somewhere in the middle, perhaps near "what more could I have done in my vineyard?" it started coming to life in my head. I could feel and visualize this piece. I would love to hear this as a group number.

DebAdams from United States ~ 2011-11-21 15:39:36 ~ Very nice, Kelly. Thank you.

AS from United States ~ 2011-11-21 13:00:00 ~ Nice Kelly. Thanks for sending.

KNVS from United States ~ 2011-11-21 10:43:51 ~ first comment! I agree that god has a sense of humor and there is no reason that we should always take life seriously. i also thought that it was cool that it says "precious unto me from the beginning, not "precious to me now that it has brought me good fruit."

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