Empty Hands Lyrics

by John Mellencamp

In the shadows of the smokestacks
Through the black snow that lay on the land
Walked home one winter morning
With my life's savings in my hand

Maryanne, she's fixin' up some breakfast
Got the lights on, on the Christmas tree
Sittin' there lookin' up at an angel
With something dyin' inside of me

Grew up with great expectations
Heard the promise and I knew the plan
They say people get what they deserve
But Lord, sometimes it's much worse than that

Maryanne, she's takin' in some laundry
I got a part-time job at a drive-in stand
Oh Lord, what did I do
To deserve these empty hands

Across the cities, across this land
Through the valleys, and across the sand
Too many people standin' in line
Too many people with nothin' planned
There's too many people with empty hands

Now Maryanne's been cryin'
Lord knows I love her the best I can
When my pride is bruised and broken
She slips her hand into my empty hands

Without hope, without love, you've got nothing but pain
Just makes a man not give a damn
That's no way for us to live
We've got to fill these empty hands

Across the cities, across this land
Through the valleys, and across the sand
Too many people standin' in line
Too many people, they got no plans
There's too many people with empty hands