What Can I Give

This song was written from scratch in June 2016 using an expanded version of Songs By You‘s facilitated songwriting process. It was written as a birthday present for Mary’s husband Peter, starting with the topic of not knowing what gift to give him. Learn more about how Songs By You are made with Appreciative Inquiry fostering collaborative creativity. Lyrics and credits below!

Music and lyrics by Mary with Mark S. Meritt (facilitator)

The original performance was by Mary and Mark at Peter’s birthday party on June 10, 2016.



After endless hours of thinking
And pondering and drinking,
Again, I simply don’t know what to do.

Annivers’ries, birthdays, Christmas.
My lists all seem so listless
‘Cause I can never find a gift for you.

Refrain 1

Got a watch for graduation,
Broadway shows on a vacation.
There were sweaters, books and West Wing DVDs.

That engraved silver guitar pick
That I thought was so romantic
And the fancy thing I got to grate the cheese.

Though I search the web till dawn
And agonize on Amazon
You’ll just forget it in a year or two or three.

Add it up, it’s all just stuff
And nothing ever seems enough.
What can I give for all the things you’ve given me?

Refrain 2

All my gift ideas are frazzled
‘Cause I’m hoping you’ll be dazzled
By some perfect thing I buy or make or do.

Not just gifts, but everywhere.
I’m always flitting here and there.
Yes, I confess that I’m a mess, you know it’s true.

Then I look and see your eyes
And your love takes me by surprise.
You always bring me back to where I need to be.

And my thoughts no longer roam.
You’re my best friend, and you’re my home.
What can I give to you for all you’ve given me?


And the thing is my friends say I’m a whiz at gifting.
I find thoughtful and tasteful gems without much sifting.
But when shopping for you, I find I’m in the dark, love.
Because somehow the arrow never hits the mark, love.

Refrain 3

Then again, of course, you say
That I bring joy to everyday
With silly jokes or with a song that’s sorta meta.

Even though my gifts may gaffe
You love that I can make you laugh
And when you’re laughing, baby, nothing else is bettah.

I can’t wrap it in a box
But laughter beats a pair of socks
And it may be the very best that I can do.

If I lighten up your days
With all my very silly ways
Then I can promise you a gift that’s always new.
That’s what I can give to show you I love you.

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