Let’s Decipher Iron & Wine’s “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

I have been listening over and over again to the song “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine. I first fell in love with it in the ‘Twilight’ movie. And now I have had it on repeat since I started listening to the soundtrack. It’s a great soundtrack, almost as good as the Garden State soundtrack.

So, I was trying to find out the meaning of the song on the internet, to no avail. So I thought I would throw my hat in the ring. Now, most people have written on sites and blogs that they find the song to have a political message. I see where that comes from if you choose to look at the song in that way. Now, songs can have several meanings, let’s not be like my 10th grade English teacher, who said every poem has one and only one meaning, HERS. Although I don’t think she ever asked the poets, you know since they are all DEAD!

Okay, that rant is over. I’m going to tell you why I think “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” can be a love song, and therefore, could be just absolutely perfect for the prom theme in ‘Twilight’. First off, it’s a beautiful song, no matter what it’s true meaning.

K first thing, here are the lyrics:

I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys
Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair
Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere

Have I found you
Flightless bird, jealous, weeping or lost you, american mouth
Big pill looming

Now I’m a fat house cat
Nursing my sore blunt tongue
Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks
Pissing on magazine photos
Those fishing lures thrown in the cold
And clean blood of Christ mountain stream

Have I found you
Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you, american mouth
Big pill stuck going down

I believe the song represents a relationship in it’s entirety, from start to finish for one person, let’s just say the guy.

The first part of the song, from wet boy to baby hair represents childhood and the loss of innocence. And feeling like you have no voice in the world.

To me, stealing a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere, trying to find the one you love, the one who could possibly be your other half.  A dog-eared map is an old one. You can look everywhere, but these are the places everyone has already been so you won’t be able to find somebody who you think is special. Those places have already been looked in, and they’re not for you.

And after searching, in all the places you thought, you find your flightless bird. I find the flightless bird to mean that it’s a special person, a flightless bird, someone who has evolved from their current state (a bird) to become an exceptional, special person. That flightless bird, the special one, is jealous and weeping because they can’t find anyone to accept them for who they are, not normal.

I think American Mouth, means the ability to communicate, how the two lovers understand and talk to each other. Big pill looming I think means the future, what can happen to this love.

The second part of the song is phase 2 of the relationship, past the honeymoon stage. I think the house cat part is an analogy to becoming lazy in love, and not appreciating the person as the one who is your true love anymore. Pissing, ruining the relationship because you got too comfortable.

The fishing lures have gone cold, since you are not trying to catch each other anymore.  I think the next line is where the lover realizes that the relationship has changed. I see the clean blood of Christ to means I’ve judged and I want some atonement, to reconcile what we have become.

Finally, the last part,

Have I found you
Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you, american mouth
Big pill stuck going down

Since in theory a flightless bird is already grounded, in general terms, the love made them feel like they could fly (at least the flightless bird) And since being made feel like they could fly, it’s lost now. But, American mouth, we can still communicate, this does not have to end, the big pill (the future) is stuck, but we can stop it from going down.

Okay, that’s it from me.  Are you not so jealous I spent time doing this today at work? Sorry this is the total former creative writing major in me. Now, the song could not mean anything like what I think. It could be a political message about a broken American dream. But it’s me projecting and this is what I see. Decipher it for yourself, what do you think?

bella-edward-prom

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197 Comments

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197 responses to “Let’s Decipher Iron & Wine’s “Flightless Bird, American Mouth”

  1. yugs

    “Are you not so jealous I spent time doing this today at work?”

    not really. i spent time reading this today at work.:)
    btw, nice song interpretation…

    • theswellsavvygirl

      Gotta love jobs with minimal supervision.

    • Elizabeth

      I was trying to find out the meaning of the song when I found your interpretation and I it made sense for me. Thanks. Great gift you have

    • evi

      I believe you have given the best meaning to this song… excellent work! thank you 🙂

    • Tam

      I think you did an excellent job in breaking it down. It made me cry. 🙂 Nice job!

      • theswellsavvygirl

        What a nice compliment! Thanks so much 🙂

      • Rayna

        I agree with Tam, very nice interpretation. I was in tears reading it and I am passing it on to my lover if you don’t mind. Thank you for this.

    • I love your interpretation. But- I see a direct connect between Edward and a flightless bird. He stays grounded for Bella, although he could fly. It is so perfect for the movie, which is why I think it landed on the soundtrack!! So many meanings, so little time.

      Sassy Sue

      • lea322

        Well, you can interpret it as whoever you want, but it wasn’t written for the movie, so you can’t really project a specific character on it. And it made it onto the soundtrack because Kristin Stewart likes it and asked it to be used in that part of the movie.

      • theswellsavvygirl

        It’s all about interpretation and that being open! We all project ourselves onto music, lyrics, poetry and art as an attempt to understand it, I think. I know I do. I’m merely saying that the song can be a love song and is therefore effective in the movie, not that the song was written for the movie and about the characters specifically. Great song though! I’m glad Kristin Stewart chose the song because a lot more people got to hear this amazing song that may never would have. I appreciate your comment! 🙂

    • Judith

      Hello
      Are you the one that did the deciphering of the song Flightless Bird? I want to tell you it is exceptional.
      I’m in my mid 60s and a professor at a community college. I am surrounded with the young that are our future. TWLIGHT is not just for the cross-eyed, teenage, sniffling, live in a fantasy world, googlly eyed girls under 18. It has struck women of all ages, even in the 70s and 80s. We love the song, but were very confused how it could relate to the prom dance. This is a stupid comment, but we needed it to relate to that last dance for something to satisfy that something that stirred in our spirits regarding the story.
      After teaching for over 40 years and living longer than that, I believe and am positive that nothing comes from us—that all things exceptional and unusual are an inspiration from a source we cannot visualize or understand. I believe your interpretation is of that inspiration, is absolutely brilliant, and I’m thrilled that I got to read it first while surfing instead of reading something that would have discolored what I was looking for.
      So thank you. Judith

      • theswellsavvygirl

        Wow what an amazing compliment! Yep I did it one day after trying to search for the meaning of the song. I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks so much!

    • I think you got most of the meaning of the song wrong … sorry 😦

    • tom

      Excerpt from an interview with Sam Beam in the Onion’s AV Club this past January.

      AVC: That said, how does it feel to have a whole bunch of 15-year-old girls think “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” is, like, the most romantic song of all time, because it was played during the prom in Twilight?

      SB: Oh, it’s crazy, but it’s great, though, isn’t it? It’s wonderful. I think it’s insane, but at the same time, it’s hilarious and fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want your music to be heard by 15-year-old girls all over the world with the preconceived notion that, because it’s attached to this movie, it’s great? I remember attaching a badge of personality or identity to music that you listened to or liked.

    • JL

      i really appreciate you take your time doing this. really amazing song. hats off to you.

    • Aimee

      Sorry!!!! I Think this song is about regret! I think it is about a person who settled for what was best and didn;t follow thier heart! “Now I’m a fat house cat, Nursing my sore blunt tongue
      Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks. To me that signals the regrets… He says that as though its a negative! Perhaps this is a love song but a love that was lost… Hence.. Have I found you!!! Now I’ve lost you… Could be wrong but I doubt I am!!

      • Serenity

        I love Savvygirl’s interpretation, but I completely agree with you Aimee. I believe that this is a love song about regret. I’m reading it as a story about a musician who met a special girl during his career, and regrets treating her like the typical groupie.

        This is my interpretation:

        I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
        I was a promiscuous (“quick”) young guy, who only cared about making money

        All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys
        Your eyes grew wide at all of the groupies (“plastic toys”) that surrounded me

        Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair
        When my career comes to an end and I’m done playing the field, I’ll grow up

        Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere
        That’s when I’ll retrace my past in search of you

        Have I found you
        ” ”

        Flightless bird, jealous, weeping or lost you, american mouth
        I’ve injured you, left you jealous and in tears because of my promiscuity. Have I lost you, girl of my dreams

        Big pill looming
        I fear I have lost you. Misery is on the horizon.

        Now I’m a fat house cat
        Now that I’m a mature old man

        Nursing my sore blunt tongue
        I feel awful for the things that I’ve said

        Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks
        I’m attracting all the wrong women

        Pissing on magazine photos
        Upset with my publicly bad decisions

        Those fishing lures thrown in the cold
        I’m looking for you

        And clean blood of Christ mountain stream
        I ask for your forgiveness

        Have I found you
        ” ”

        Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you, american mouth
        I’ve injured you, left you in pain. Have I lost you, girl of my dreams

        Big pill stuck going in down
        The likelihood is that I’ve lost you because of what I’ve done. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

        This song was not written for Twilight. It was only added because it was a favorite song of Kristen Stewart’s. 


    • Aimee

      Sorry!!!! I Think this song is about regret! I think it is about a person who settled for what was best and didn;t follow thier heart! “Now I’m a fat house cat, Nursing my sore blunt tongue
      Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks. To me that signals the regrets… He says that as though its a negative! Perhaps this is a love song but a love that was lost… Hence.. Have I found you!!! Now I’ve lost you… Could be wrong but I doubt I am!!

    • Aimee

      Really… Because of the fact that it was interpreted as a love song through out the movie does not mean that it is indeed a love song… If you listen and I mean really listen… it sounds bitter… more about a love lost and trying to find the one you lost… Really, just because it is portrayed as the ultimate love song in Twilight, does not mean it is a real love song. Listen to the lyrics and determine for yourself what it means… Do not follow other people’s perceptions because it is up to you!!!!

    • twijunkie

      Absolutely beautiful interpretation. I too have listened to this song over and over and over again. It’s so beautiful it almost hurts, Thank you so much for taking the time to give it some clarity for me.

      • Amanda

        I think your interpretation is really good. I absolutely love Iron and Wine and just recently saw him in concert. He played this song acoustic for the encore and it was absolutely amazing- the entire crowd was silent, everyone was so captivated.

    • jeanne

      i like your interpretation… i was poking around the web trying to find the meaning in it as well, versus working while at work. it is such a beautiful song no matter the meaning. i have been trying to visualize it literally while listening on the bus ride home — makes it a bit more fun!

  2. Cpattz

    Your interpretation is very insightful! I think even if Iron & Wine had a different meaning, yours seems like it fits more anyway. Wow…you definitely looked at it from a different angle but it makes total sense. It makes the lyrics even more beautiful

  3. Marissa

    i love your interpretation

  4. hi theswellsavvygirl,

    This is a nice song interpretation. I’ve been checking the web to validate if my conviction’s right and your blog sealed it well. Good job! 🙂

  5. I like your interpretation. I love the song, but I don’t claim to really understand it. 🙂

  6. Lexy

    wow! that was good! i love the tune of the song but frankly the first time i heard the lyrics I laughed..
    anyway, thanks to you, that song made sense to me 🙂

  7. Phoebe

    Amazing

    I’d just spent the last two hours with this song on loop, trying to figure out what it meant. I became so frustrated that i decided to look on the net and see what other people thought (yes, cheating, I know!) After about twenty minutes of sifting through crap, I came across your page. Your interpretation fitted perfectly and by far outshone all of the others that I’d read.

    Your interpretation of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” makes the song even better. It tells a story, sequentially and with meaning — just like a good song should.

    Congratulations. Keep on projecting

  8. Gemma

    I love the song… I was trying to understanding the meaning to the songs (I have my own version… but quite limited) and yours just feels so right.

    Thanks.. loving the song more..

  9. UNVMYVW

    I too have been looping this song over and over trying to decipher it. I think as with all good works of poetry, its meaning is lost to only the author, and we are free with artistic embellishment to find the answers for ourselves…….

  10. here’s mine..

    I was a quick wet boy
    Diving too deep for coins
    All of your street light eyes
    Wide on my plastic toys

    The Collins family being the most famous people in the university, especially Edward.. All of the eyes in the school are stuck into them..

    Then when the cops closed the fair
    I cut my long baby hair
    Stole me a dog-eared map
    And called for you everywhere

    When Bella knew that Edward was a vampire, the case is closed, that’s why Edward told her the truth (i cut my long baby hair). Baby hair, it’s because vampires are known to have long, shiny, smooth hair since birth.. And called for you everywhere, because Edward’s been longing to find someone like Bella..

    Have I found you?
    Flightless bird
    Jealous, weeping
    Or lost you?
    American mouth
    Big pill looming

    Edward asked Bella in the forest if she knew how long he’s been waiting for someone like her.. Flightless bird, meaning Bella being weak and vulnerable.. And also, Edward don’t want to loose Bella, he told her that he didn’t even have the strength to be far away from her..

    Now I’m a fat house cat
    Nursing my sore blunt tongue
    Watching the warm poison rats
    Curl through the wide fence cracks
    Kissing on magazine photos
    Those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean
    Blood of Christ mountain stream

    I think this is the part where Edward wants to be apart from Bella.. Watching the warm poison rats, watching the other group of vampires kill people.. Curl through the wide fence cracks, hiding from them.. Blood of Christ mountain stream, love prevails all..

    Have I found you?
    Flightless bird
    Grounded, bleeding
    Or lost you?
    American mouth
    Big pill, stuck going down

    Edward asked Bella in the forest if she knew how long he’s been waiting for someone like her.. Flightless bird, meaning Bella being weak and vulnerable.. Unable to protect herself and fly.. And also, Edward don’t want to loose Bella, he told her that he didn’t even have the strength to be far away from her.. Big pill, stuck going down, in the end, they still ended up being together..

    Well i know it’s not as good as it is.. But after playing the song for almost 20 times and over, and after watching the movie, that’s the meaning that popped out of my mind.. It’s up to you if you’ll see it the way i do..

    • Rosa

      This is really good too!! Wow!! I better start trying to figure it out myself! Great job !

      • Elizabeth

        Aww this song made me cry. I loved the interperation of this song. I look at this song as a love song and this song was perfect for Twilight movie. Now that you broke it down it was perfect song to end the movie. Because that song represtend the story of Edward and Bella

      • Thank You Rosa. I Agree With You In Most Parts. To Me It Is Their Love Story…..

    • person

      the song was written long before the movie was made so it probably is just a coincidence it relates to edward and bellas “love”..

  11. emma

    you made me cry with your interpretation…. it is a very sweet and insightful review. 😉
    thanks

  12. When we’re young, we fall into True Love, but so often it’s unrequited, and so often, we give up — not just on True Love, but even Life and liveliness itself.

    We become a fat house cat — someone who’s gotten comfortable in life, and can’t really do anything. The warm poison rats are just like the magazine photos: Entertainments and distractions.

    We lose everything in the sea of commercial culture; Individuals, societies, — all a waste of time.

    Meanwhile, the blood of Christ mountain stream flows on, the river of Life.

    The song is very sad, but also hopeful.

    A good comparison is Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the truth of Matthew 10:29, on God’s presence, even in the fall of a sparrow.

    Open your heart, and then listen to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Flightless Bird.”

    If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, Why, oh, why can’t I?

    Do you hear it?

    Same song.

  13. Jaki

    I completely agree with what you said! I’m so glad to find someone who thinks that it is to do with love and relationships.

    I have one thing to add to it though. I believe the ‘flightless bird’ part has to do with being helpless. The person is in need of help, they can’t fly like the other birds. So he has found his flightless bird, the one to love and care for and help. 🙂

  14. Jen

    Awesome! Same as everyone else, trying to make sense of this song as well as the other songs from the awesome Twilight soundtrack. Thanks! I loved your interpretation!

  15. Devyn Martin

    hey thanks for decoding that for me i really do love this song and spend forever trying to download it to my computer and now i cant stop listening to it. i think that ur thoughts of this song is the right one i know that i have had a hard time since a guy i almost dated moved to a different town. so sad songs help me get my feelings out and i was just wondering around pages to find the meaning of this song! lolz well thanks bunches!!! 🙂

  16. M

    Great interpretation! 🙂
    I’ve been trying to find out the meaning for ages..

  17. Lyndsay

    gah thank you! i have loved this song since twilight came out and i have always wanted to know what was going on because all the words together made no sense to me, but that answered by question. I definately agree i think that was an amazing interpretation of it.

  18. rara

    Okay, i’ve been trying to figure out what the lyrics really mean
    and it’s just making me more confused because everyones interpretations seem to fit perfectly, yes-some more than other though.

    it’s really quite frustrating.
    and because i’ve read other peoples ideas, i honestly don’t know what I think it means.

    can’t someone just ask the people that wrote it? ahaha

    that would be sooo much easier.

    • theswellsavvygirl

      That would make it easier, but literature, poetry and music is meant for open interpretation I think. It enables people to connect to it on a more personal level. If it meant the same thing to everyone, it almost would not work as art. Art effects people in different ways depending on what is going on in their lives.
      I almost don’t want to know what the song is really about, for fear of ruining it for myself.

      • I agree with you Savvygirl. This song has haunted pieces of my own memories for the last two days. The connection is overwhelming. It is wonderful to have the ability to feel a song and move through your day with it playing in your head over & over. The harmony, the flowing notes, the tune itself is extremely beautiful. This band constructed and delivered this song as a fine example of a true work of art. Thank you, by the way for sharing your interpretation. For the most part I feel the same. You are an inspiration to those of us who actually feel life as opposed to just moving through it from day to day. Well done.

      • Nylrem

        thank you for this comment, for me personally the song means something completely different and has nothing to do about a romantic relationship

  19. rara

    yeah, but i’d like to know what the person who wrote it had in their mind when they wrote the song.

  20. dotty

    i agree completely!!!! it has to be a love song. the tone is how you would speak to a lover. its as if they r asking their loved one if they will ever leave and if they r right for eachother. even if its a political piece, its beautiful…

  21. De-DE

    I AGREE. When i get hooked on something…such as this song i listen to it over and over again and try to find out about it..Your opinion just opened up alot of other veiws to this song’. Thanks so much for taking your time to do this for us crazy Twilighters!!!

  22. mikene

    I think you’re interpretation is very accurate. I agree with you up to part 2. I don’t think he ever found his love and he’s (or she) is pissing his/her life away wondering about it. Another opinion is (for part 1) the person is looking for something ideal–in his mind only that doesn’t exist.

  23. Danny

    i like how you interpreted it, and it can be a love song perhaps, but i think it’s only thought of like that because of twilight.

    i think that this song isn’t about finding his lost love, but finding himself. The song starts with him as a child, playing and showing his wide eyed friends his toys. Then as happens in ever life, you take the shape of your main authority figure and lose the child in you “Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair”, then right after he realizes that he’s not the same person he once was, and started looking back at past experiences and wondering what happened to them all “Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere ”

    after the chorus, you hear “Now I’m a fat house cat, Nursing my sore blunt tongue ” he’s saying that now instead of a playful innocent child he lazy, apathetic, and “Sore blunt tongue” to me seams like it means he has a dirty mouth, and cursing is in turn all loss of innocence, to be able to curse at the world around you, shows that you no longer love it.

    my opinion, is he’s trying to find himself, not his lover.

    • theswellsavvygirl

      I defintely think the song can work in so many ways depending on how you interpret it, and that is why it is such a good song!

    • Thanks Danny. Your interpretation made me tear up. All of a sudden the song is even more to me than it was originally. Unraveled very well. No disrespect to the love song interpretations, but a deeper meaning does seem to be calling. Thanks so much.

  24. London dweller

    Great..
    Thank you a lot for this interpretation. Though, it is your own but still I enjoyed. Actually I am not a native speaker so I found the lyrics quite mysterious for me. But now I enjoy listen to it more because of you.

    Cheers,

  25. Sar

    I like your interpretation. Except for flightless bird– I flightless bird is easy prey… it is a one of a kind -true but even more so– A bird has the great joys of flying (except chicken or penguin-and chickens just disgrace the name of bird) but off topic… either way a flightless bird is a broken bird. A needy bird. A jealous bird because she cannot fly. Weeping because she cannot fly. A bird that is left out and awkward and without its one and true treasure. This makes the song even more tragic and wonderful!

  26. Mimi

    Finally,

    someone who got it..

  27. Twilight got me hooked on this song, too. I was already leaning this way, so you’re interpretation looks plausible to me. I’ve seen some other (non-political) interpretations that seem likely, too. Wish we could get an interpretation from the artist! Cheers, from a fellow creative writing major.

  28. Rosa

    I think that is an extremely good interpretation! I’ve always kept trying to figure out what this song meant because I thought it was so beautiful in the prom scene for Edward and Bella in twilight. I just wanted to say thanx so much! And I really think ur right with this one. It makes a lot of sense, too seriously. Now I can truly appreciate this song everytime I see the prom scene. Twilight rules!!!

  29. Aly

    I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
    All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys
    Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair
    Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere

    A quick wet boy would suggest someone flung into something. Diving too deep for coins suggests this boy was flunt into money and wanted more. All of your streetlight eyes wide on my plastic toys could mean that people, possibly friends-most likely users- based upon their bright, open wide eyes gazing upon his ‘toys’ or name brand items, flashy cars. The closed fair suggests that, like when a fair is closed down, we go from having fun to coming back to reality. This boy has realized what his life is and is making changes-even physical. Cutting his long baby hair means he has moved into manhood. Dog-eared means to turn down a corner of a page, a piece of paper, like in the shape of a dog’s ear. This act is careless, or to mark a place. Stole can mean to draw attention to and map can by synonymous with a picture. He took attention to an old picture (perhaps a love that he couldn’t see as a boy).

    Have I found you
    Flightless bird, jealous, weeping or lost you, american mouth
    Big pill looming

    The verse could be about his found love, but she is a flightless bird. I agree with Sar, the girl is needy and awkward. She could be this way because the boy did not see her for what she is, did not want her. And that has left her broken. American mouth could mean she doesn’t respect him, or she is dependent upon him for sustenance, to regain herself. The big pill looming is foreboding.

    Now I’m a fat house cat
    Nursing my sore blunt tongue
    Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks
    Pissing on magazine photos
    Those fishing lures thrown in the cold
    And clean blood of Christ mountain stream

    This verse coud have many meanings. It’s rather vague, especially about the central idea of the whole verse! I think this verse could be later after they have rekindled and reconnected. He’s lazy, he’s said nasty things to her and he’s mad because he didn’t mean what he said. I think the rats resemble something much different than what others think. The rats carry this poison, which could be people-gossipers- going through wide fence cracks-what he’s done is being told and spread everywhere-. It’s tabloidal, he pisses on the fact that people are talking about him. The fishing lures represent time/seeking answers. He could be fishing and/or the people who’ve gossiped could be fishing and make the situation worse. Whichever it is, they are looking to be cleansed by the blood of Christ in the stream for what he/they have done to this girl.

    Have I found you
    Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you, american mouth
    Big pill stuck going down

    Even after trying with his love and trying to help her, she’s even more grounded, bleeding from heartache, and he has lost her again. And she is still an American mouth-she doesn’t respect him and is still not whole. The big pill is stuck in his throat-he doesn’t know what to do to make this right.

    Wow, after going over this song, it probably would have made more sense for New Moon… oh well. This is just my opinion. I see where everyone is coming from. And everyone’s interpretation will be different from everyone, but also getting different perspectives adds more clarity to everyone’s individual ideas.

    Happy loving this song and falling asleep to it!

    Aly

  30. Ladybugs

    I adore your interpretaion, I think you are very close to what Iron & Wine was doing with this song. And it definatly hits it with Twilight.

    Thanks

  31. Sara

    the song wasn’t chosen for the soundtrack at first. the girl who played bella…she didn’t like the song they wanted to play during the slow dance scene. so she told them to play this song instead. it’s just coincidence that the song fits so well. if you like iron and wine, check out his other stuff! such a musical genius.

  32. aridz

    thumbs up 5 star!

  33. L

    thanks for this….. i think its the best ive read thus far…..

  34. Erica

    I love this! Thank you I did not get it at all. I still loved the song though but now I can appreciate it more.

    Well thanks soo much, again lol.

  35. Jarie

    I too have pondered the meaning of this song. I felt that your interpretation was a more elaborative version of mine. I have an attachment to this song, as I do the movie, Twilight. That particular type of love is beautiful, but can be taken for granted and sometimes lost. Relationships require work, and although true love is the best job ever, if it is not maintained, it can be gone as quickly as it came to be.
    This song always reminds me of that. Honestly, I cried as I read your interpretation…

  36. I loved your breakdown of the song! I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since I rented the movie yesterday (I just finished reading the series, so I came to it late, but got to read it all together). I googled the lyrics and wasn’t able to reach as well-thought-out a conclusion as you did, but when I did, it made great perfect sense. But why is the song so haunting? Is it only like that for people who loved the books, and movie, so much? I’m so confused by just that one part of it!

  37. Gia

    I agree that this is so a love song. the lyrics are wierd and some people will not get it at all but when i hear it i can feel it. i fell in love with it in the movie too it just caught my ear in the background i feel it made that scene just so much more and shows their love you know. for the most i agree but to me the chorus says of sourse that they are looking for tehir lover. and if it was them kind of like why cant they fly are they grounder hurt and wants them to speak to them and tell them what is wrong but the big pill part means that they cant speak or they cant tell them what is wrong. thats all i have to say so far but i agree pretty much.

  38. thunder cat

    coming from a man who has never read twilight i think i have a better idea than those who have watched the movies or read the books. the song is of him buying a hooker falling in love with her and the problems that come with falling in love with someone in that line of work in the now and the past.

  39. Amber

    i’m so glad you did this! i want this to be my wedding song and thought it was a bit odd to pick it in the “political” sense. but now i feel so much better about it! =D

  40. Rivers

    I wasnt sure of what the song meant at first and wondered if it even had a meaning, but after reading this, its given me some insight. I think songs mean what you want them to mean, and in cases like this song… where the writer says what they want to say without saying it.. the writer wants it to mean whatever you want it to mean. Some may want it to be a love song, and some may want to see it from a political point of view, and some may even think of it literally. It all depends on the person.

  41. the interpreter?

    I guess i can summarize my interpretation of these lyrics with the following paragraphs.

    I believe that this song originally came from the late 60’s to early 70’s. Its about the American ideals during the Vietnam war. During this time the whole nation was torn since some provided full support of the war while others questioned it.

    “I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
    All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys”

    The first two lines are about innocence/ adolescence. “Ignorance is bliss” – When we are young. Our minds are still innocent
    therefore our understanding of the world is still pure.

    Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair
    Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere

    The 3rd line represents two things. One, the “cops” represent authority (others interpret it as GoVT). “closed
    the fair” is when these men were drafted in the military.TWO, “cut off my long baby hair” represents the process
    of being part of the Military- Enlisted men get thier head shaved in bootcamp.

    The 4th line signifies a questioning of the american ideals – namely the purpose of fighting the war.
    Both of these lines(3rd and 4th) provide a significant meaning representing the start of reality and
    the start of the questioning one’s ideals.

    So if you read these 1st 4 lines – its about a boy with a great ideal / great dream still untouched with the
    corruption of reality – in this case reality of war. Prior to being shipped off to fight the war alot of the men
    just got out of highschool- a time where young men/women are still idealistic and full of life.The 4th line further
    suggests the “questioning” of ones’ideals/dreams/ or about the propagada marketed about the war.

    The 1st chorus flightless bird,signifies the True American Values and Ideals. Why Flightless? It can mean that the
    truth was left obscured. The true values and ideals were covered up with war propaganda that was mass marketed all
    throughout the nation. Jealous weeping or lost -these are symbolisms used when one falls out of place. Truth,in this case,
    was left to suffer in pace of untruth. Big pill looming is considered to mean the “bitter pill of reality”.(others have viewed it as
    suicide – more to be explaned later)

    the second stanza will be posted later on..

  42. Charlie

    This is alot like my view of the meaning of this song after hearing it on twilight i got myself a copy of the soundtrack and listened to it in more depth and have always thought of it as a love song… i think this breakdown of the song is brilliant… I’ve already decided that this song would be gorgeous for a first dance at a wedding xx

  43. Erica

    Nice work!!! i think u interpreted the meaning beautifully, and i also agree with you that whetever the real meaning of the lyrics it is an excellent song. Thanks

  44. Taylor Mae

    FINALLY! someone who interpreted the song as I did. Thanks, I was giving up hope on my thoughts =)

  45. Lotus

    I agree this is a love song.

    btw, he is a ‘quick wit’ boy.

    So he is young, smart and looking for the cash, the gold if you will. Due to that, he overlooks his true love. (diving too deep for coins….plastic toys=materialism- was his focus) Perhaps she did not ‘fit in’ with his plan of moving on up, so she was left behind.. (the cops closed the fair)

    He finds his success and grows up (cut my long baby hair) but realizes all that is gold does not necessarily glitter.

    Took out my dog eared map (the path well worn but overlooked that leads to his love). Called for you everywhere=’trying to find his way back to her.’

    They reconnect (have I found you? Or lost you?)–can they now ‘make it?’

    Now I’m a fat house cat (wealthy) nursing my sore blunt tongue, watching the warm poison rats, pissing on magazines…..=all that goes with the wealth and those in his life that take advantage and do not appreciate him. Albeit a wealthy but cold existence.

    Meantime his true love is flightless and grounded, bleeding and brokenhearted…

    Facing the reality of what he has lost and might never recover, (true love and what matters more than all the gold in the world) is the big pill looming (can he make the changes to be with her?)

    Big pill stuck going down. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you wake up and have to face you made the wrong choice

  46. Judee

    Flightless Bird has totally captivated me! After seeing “Twilight”, I HAD to get the soundtrack because of THIS song.

    So beautiful a melody, but I wondered at the time if Sam was on acid when he wrote the lyrics!

    Of all the posts I’ve read, “theswellsavvygirl”, your interpretation has been the best. Thank you for making the meaning of this song a little clearer to me!

  47. ellen baker

    Thanks so much…I was never good at interpreting poetry and though I love the song, the lyrics were beyond me! I thought about sharing the lyrics with my 8th grade chorus classes….appropriate ? (quick wet boy….not about sex I hope). I was going to use it with a short unit on lyrics and symbolism. What do you think? EB

  48. alice

    Wow that was a very good decipheration! (excuse me for my spelling) I thought almost the same exact thing, but I wasn’t sure that my idea was all that accurate. 🙂 Also when it said i stole a dog eared map and called for you everywhere, I think it means that he thought maybe “she” was one of the girls he had already known since childhood, which according to the lyrics he had just left behind. I really like your interpretation of the song, because it not only makes sense, but it fits well with the Twilight story too! (well the part before the house cat anyway! 😀 ) Good job!!!!

  49. sleeypychic

    wow. hearing that kristen picked this song really puts a twist to it, simply because she really was in tune with bella’s character. hmmm…thank you for laying out all these interpretations for me. I feel overwhelmed by Edwards profound sadness having affected Bellas’ life so very much. as a christian Edwards plight bothers me deeply. Bella throws him a life line and this song clearly defines how troubled his soul is. having read all the books puts my mind at ease because they come full circle, thank GOD!

  50. Alex

    omg thnx for this! i learned it on piano and my interpretation is similar..[:

  51. Tiff

    I loved reading all your opinions on what this song means. It’s been bugging me ever since I saw Twilight. It’s such a beautiful song and I listen to is all the time, but I just did NOT get it. After reading all your thoughts I think I have my own understanding of what the song means. Thanks so much!!!

  52. Bennnn

    The level of detail you went in to was incredible, I can tell you were an English Major. I don’t think any meaning really needs to be applied for its relation to the film or the scene though. I think it was chosen literally because it sounds absolutely perfect.

  53. I like your interpretation of it. To me though, the beginning of the song he’s talking about the beginning of their relationship. “I was a quick, wet boy diving too deep for coins.” That to me makes me think that he had the one he was looking for, but he took her for granted. Made some bad choices along the road. “Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair. Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere.” This means something happened to make him realized what he was doing, he changed his ways, and tried to get her but it was too late?

    idk I’m just rambling

  54. Chelsea

    I think it’s awesome that you’d take the time to decipher the meaning of this song. I’ve loved it before I knew it was on the soundtrack, or even in the movie. It’s such a beautiful song and the lyrics are touching to me. Thanks for writing all of this down, definitely bookmarking this page. :]

  55. Tango

    This is the best and perhaps the only one interpretation i like and agreed….after searching for the song’s meaning over the internet.

    Thank you 🙂 I’m glad i got to read it!

    You’re brilliant

  56. Itza

    I love your interpretation of this song and I think the same. I love this song and it was the perfect song in Twilight. You really understant the meaning. Your point of view is incredible.
    Thank you

  57. teamedward5523

    Wow. I could never decipher or even write a song ever. You have a great gift for words:)

  58. I think this is a love song. WHY ELSE WOULD THEY PLAY IT AT THE PROM?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  59. bre!nda

    nice interpretation. i like it 🙂

  60. june april

    wow…i read this page of yours 4:21am……

    and i must thank you..you made my day.. great interpretation!!

    nice job huh..keep it up

  61. Vampire Addict

    I am moved by your interpretation of these lyrics – well done! (Shame on you for wasting the bosses time though, lol!!!). It’s definitely a song which can be viewed in several ways depending on the opinion of the viewer & I appreciate yours.

    As a ‘nearly’ 40 year old, I have no shame in admitting that I am eagerly following the Twilight Saga with my ‘teenage’ daughter! We are looking forward to the release of Eclipse later this year!!

  62. Beautiful interpretation. Much better than my concrete sense of the world could have ever figured out.

  63. Okay, thank youu so much cause now I finally can interpret the song in a way that makes sense. I’ve always loved this song and love it even more now(: thanx.

  64. Kerrie Rice

    Hi, I was looking to find an interpretation for this song. Even if it turns out to not be the right one (should the song writer choose to enlighten us all), I really don’t care. Like “Vampire Addict”, I am moved by what you have interpreted and I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    I feel your interpretation makes sense and you certainly do have a talent for interpretations – from my perspective anyway.

    I have ‘favourited’ this page. 🙂

    Thanks, Kerrie.

  65. Jade

    Wow! Thanks so much for this!! I really like Iron and Wine.. “such great heights” is so beatuiful.. I love how his lyrics can mean many things to different people..I have been searching for the meaning of this particular song since the first Twilight flim came out!! I just love the melody! I want to use this our first dance song for our wedding next year!

  66. Thanks for the deciphering the song. At first when I read the lyrics I didn’t understand it. I thought okay this is weird but it’s from a vampire movie. What drawn me to this song was the chorus and remembering the scene from Twilight. Now that I read your decipher I’m looking at the song through a different eye. It made me cry.

  67. Megan

    Hey just wanted to add my two cents. I was looking for what other people thought this song meant, and found your site like several other commentors it seems.

    I get where you’re going with the relationship idea, but I would like to point at that the images and things he uses are all a little…negative. For instance, ‘wet’ ‘too deep’ ‘cops’ ‘steal’, even the idea of cutting his baby hair. There’s certainly an image of lost innocence, but also something of a danger in his actions.

    The other person, who I’ll agree seems like a girlfriend or relationship of some kind is described in very vulnerable terms. Large eyes, for instance, and ‘flightless bird’ seems a very vulnerable thing, especially when introduced right before the imagery of a cat licking it’s tongue.

    The overall effect the words have on me is that of a relationship wherein the speaker is thinking deeply of his attempts to corner and capture this person in a vulnerable state. It’s a little ominous in that sense, which explains the altering chorus of ‘flightless bird’ (the object of these feelings) and ‘american mouth’ (the speaker, who may consume the other person with their actions. The mentions of jealousy and questions of ‘have I lost you’ followed by the american mouth swallowing a pill sort of cinch it for me.

    Hope that wasn’t as jumbled as I think it was.

  68. Jovanni Martinez

    You’re awesome! Kudos for job well done. You hit the nail on the head….

  69. Jennifer

    Your interpretation, is absolutely brilliant! You have an amazing gift, I was looking for the meaning b/c the lyrics are so odd, yet beautifully sung. II started to tear up reading your interpretation and how it could relate to Twilight, great job!

  70. Rebecca R.

    Hi!
    I too found this whilst looking for the song meaning on other sites. I’ve seen a couple interpretations of the song meaning if meant politically, but compared to yours and other interpretations that throw it in a romantic/relationship light, those connections make a lot more sense!
    I just discovered the song, and I LOVE it! Thanks for your interpretation–it gave me hope that I was listening to a song for hopeless romantics, not cynical intellectuals! 😀

    Following is the best interpretation I’ve seen yet, was hoping you’d appreciate it! It is similar to yours.

    This isn’t my interpretation, it was off another lyric website and I thought it would be usefull as this song (as well as many other I & W songs are) quite hard to read. Hopefully it’ll be of some use…

    “I was a quick wet boy diving too deep for coins:
    He was a guy that was hard to get and only cared for money,

    All of your streetlight eyes, Wide on my plastic toys:
    Everyone only saw him for what he had though.

    Then when the cops closed the fair:
    Then he realized he wanted love

    I ut my long baby hair:
    he decided to grow up.

    Stole me a dog-eared map:
    He realized what he wanted

    And called for you everywhere:
    and started searching for her

    Have I found you:
    has he found it?

    flightless bird:
    this fragile helpless thing could it be her?

    Jealous, weeping:
    he is jealous and sad.

    Or is lost you:
    Or is he to late?

    American mouth:
    are is she spoken for?

    Big pill, looming:
    the thought is hard to swallow

    Now I’m a fat house cat:
    Now he is happy he can have all he wants

    Nursing my sore blunt tongue:
    can finally get some rest he don’t have to call for her anymore.

    Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence ****s:
    he watching the other girls try to tell her lies so the can get in.

    ****ing on magazines:
    He knows it’s lies

    those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean:
    so no matter how much the girls try the are fishing without bate

    Blood of Christ mountain stream:
    Because what he has is very pure.

    Have I found you:
    So is she the one?

    Flightless bird:
    this unlikely creature

    grounded:
    he is not going anywhere

    bleeding:
    He would rather get hurt

    or lost you:
    Well he loss her?

    american mouth:
    will she find another and be spoken for

    Big pill stuck going down:
    that would be to hard to swallow “

  71. most community college offers a good educational standard at par with the ivy league schools”-`

  72. karla

    i think american mouth means the same language u all talk about … n u all know

  73. Alivia

    i think he looked too hard for love(diving too deep for coins, called for you everywhere) and he found someone and started contemplating whether he found life partner(flightless bird) or lost his freedom (american mouth=americans have freedom of speech) and at the end he seems discontented with whatever decision he made because he’s a lazy fat cat pissing on all his old memories (photos, fishing lures)

  74. well of course community colleges are part of a good educational system too “-.

  75. KB

    I think your interpretation makes perfect sense to a great extent. The song is superb, its calm and beautiful. Like Jovanni Martinez said, you hit the nail in the head!

  76. Melissa

    I love your interpretation, and I love the song! I like how he puts random words in his lyrics and that by analyzing them they all some how make complete sense with the context! Really great, all his songs are great!

  77. rickk999

    This is the meaning I got from the song:
    I was very young and quick with my decisions, going after things that caught my eye. While your attention was on things that didn’t actually belong to me. Then when the debonair moved in and our hippie generation moved out, I became old, conformed, and made my long hair style short. I stole an old telephone book out of a phone booth, looked up all the people with your name, and called for you everywhere. Did I finally get the right one? Have I found you? The person that said she going to change the world. The person we all looked up too and stood at your side while we marched and tried to put a stop to the madness. How can this be you? A person now envious of those that we fought against. What happened to you? You’ve turned into a rich old messed up nobody no one wants around anymore.

    I will say I’m not so beautiful myself anymore; I’m domesticated slob, I’ve gained weight, and getting older by the minute. My public speaking/protesting days are over. Those politicians still make me sick with their smiling faces, kissing babies, and stabbing the American people in the back. They intertwine their own agenda’s in their offices tainting all they touch, yet they are able to get away with it all slipping through cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. With their rhetoric to stop communism, they lured the American people to follow them causing many pure innocent lives to be taken in a needless war.

    From this old worn out phone book, have I found you? The person that said she going to change the world. The person we all looked up too and stood at your side while we marched and tried to put a stop to the madness. How can this be you? A person now envious of those that we fought against. What happened to you? You’ve turned into a rich old messed up nobody no one wants around anymore including me. Goodbye

  78. rickk999

    This is the interpretation I got out of the song:

    I was very young and quick with my decisions, going after things that caught my eye. While your attention was on things that didn’t actually belong to me. Then when the debonair moved in and our hippie generation moved out, I became old, conformed, and made my long hair style short. I stole an old telephone book out of a phone booth, looked up all the people with your name, and called for you everywhere. Did I finally get the right one? Have I found you? The person that said she going to change the world. The person we all looked up too and stood at your side while we marched and tried to put a stop to the madness. How can this be you? A person now envious of those that we fought against. What happened to you? You’ve turned into a rich old messed up nobody no one wants around anymore.

    I will say I’m not so beautiful myself anymore; I’m domesticated slob, I’ve gained weight, and getting older by the minute. My public speaking/protesting days are over. Those politicians still make me sick with their smiling faces, kissing babies, and stabbing the American people in the back. They intertwine their own agenda’s in their offices tainting all they touch, yet they are able to get away with it all slipping through cracks the size of the Grand Canyon. With their rhetoric to stop communism, they lured the American people to follow them causing many pure innocent lives to be taken in a needless war.

    From this old worn out phone book, have I found you? The person that said she going to change the world. The person we all looked up too and stood at your side while we marched and tried to put a stop to the madness. How can this be you? A person now envious of those that we fought against. What happened to you? You’ve turned into a rich old messed up nobody no one wants around anymore including me. Goodbye

  79. Edith

    hi,
    I didn’t fully understand how you interpreted big pill here “Big pill looming I think means the future, what can happen to this love.” can you explain it a little? how is big pill the future?

  80. Imie Joy Ibones

    you are soooooooooooo amazing….the way i decipher the meaning — i would just be repeating yours — guess we’r on the same wavelength…God bless…

  81. Cheri

    I just adore this song!! The lyrics always sorta seemed random and goofy to me … one of the appeals. But the music was definitely not random, and then I got to thinking perhaps there was meaning embedded in the lyrics. I’m a complete romantic, so I really enjoyed your interpretation. It clicks and makes sense why I love this song so much. On a side note, I’m dying to do the waltz to this song with a certain special person. 🙂

  82. alll wrong…. sorry… ye guys are missing the meaning totally!!!!

  83. savannah

    I believe this is a very insightful, and in depth idea for the meaning of this under all the odd analogy -love song. I am doing a poetry project and this song and its odd yet very intriguing song came to my mind. It is very much considered poetry, what this song says, and your insight on this song helped me alot!
    Thanks 🙂

  84. Carolina

    thi is the perfect interpretation..! Thank you 🙂

  85. ur interpretation is amazing i agree with what you have come up with. I love this song and have since i was introduced to Iron and Wine…. When i first seen Twilight I was excited when i heard this song i felt like it was perfect for the movie… have you listened to any of Iron and Wine’s music its great you should.

  86. Yvette

    Interesting interpretation. Someone may have already posted this, but here is a link to the real meaning of their song: http://www.ironandwine.com/forums/discovered-meaning-of-flightless-bird/

  87. Jessica

    i love this song i love how you interperted it thanxs:)

  88. Lhen

    Just wondering why my siter love this song, most probably because it was used as themesong in Twilight, then I asked her what is the meaning of that track, she said no idea. So made me eager to search and foud out your smart interpretation which made my confusion relieve.

  89. It makes sense to me now, thanks.

  90. Suzette

    I think your thoughts of what the song means is great but I think it could be that love did make them feel like they could fly and the dog eared map is something thats old like an old love and when he said “and called for you everywhere” could mean that he went looking for and when he found her she was a flightless bird. Could mean that she didnt feel it anymore the love that made them feel like they could fly. So it could be that he was caught up in their childhood love when he cut his babylong hair he stopped being a boy because he expirienced love.

  91. Yolanda

    Wow. My husband and I are going renew our vows. I love this song and agree w ur explaination. I believe this song will be perfect. Followed, of course, by “all my life” sung by sade.

  92. Amberly

    Perfect analytical skills 🙂 I’ve been trying to figure out what this song meant for 2 years and you summed it up just right for me 🙂 now I understand why they used it in the twilight series (and not just because the melody is practically enchanting) thank you very much for taking the time out of that obviously busy work schedule lol 🙂

  93. Lupe

    I really did like the interpretation of the song. I have never heard it before Twilight and I am thankful that I did. The song can mean whatever you want it to mean. In this case, I took the meaning as a love story. Haters don’t hate on people who love the song.

  94. Lynn

    Ive loved this song the moment I heard it on Twilight, & since they made a wedding version of this song for Breaking Dawn Part 1, Im in love with it even more. your interpretation was magnificent! good job!

  95. And now we will listen it again in Breaking Dawn 1, when I saw Twilight that was the song that framed the whole thing ♥ but It was your interpretation that makes total sense . kisses from Honduras

  96. LL

    Thank you for sharing that! The song was beautiful to begin with, now it just feels even more special after reading your post.

  97. Karz

    You have a very good interpretation of the sond and I agree with you. I totally love it that they included the song in breaking dawn.

  98. Amy Driskel

    First off, I love the insight contained in your interpretation of this song! Brillant, even if it is just an opinion. Yet, isn’t what most interpretations of art, music, or a dancer’s choreography really is? Anyway, although this may not relate to your interpretation of the song, I do think that a possibility for the meaning behind “big pill stuck going down” could be a representation of death either by simply choking or a suicidal attempt that went wrong. I really could be dead wrong, but I figured that I’d offer my opinion on the off chance that you’d see a different person’s outlook and view a varying angle of the song.

  99. Cora

    First of all, I LOVE all of the ideas bounced around on this page… there are truly many ways to interpret every part of this song.

    While trying to figure out the meaning for myself, I started coming up with words like eager, anxious, high expectations, buried treasure and fountain wishes for the first few lines;
    “I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
    All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys”

    The beginning of the chorus to me sounds like he was vulnerable (flightless bird) and possibly unable to accomplish something he needed to do. Has he found this this part of him?
    American mouth is quite a contrast to flightless bird and it sound like he’s talking about boldness and pride when I think of Americans. Has he lost his courage? He feels stuck.

    “Now I’m a fat house cat
    Nursing my sore blunt tongue
    Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks
    Pissing on magazine photos
    Those fishing lures thrown in the cold
    And clean blood of Christ mountain stream”
    He’s become lazy, depressed and careless. His sore blunt tongue means that he’s said lots of things he regrets that hurt her. The warm poison rats are like prey to a cat– and I believe they are trying to say something about the media here, and the rats are sneaking in where they don’t belong, but I can’t find a connection for the rest of the song.

    It’s very interesting! I also agree that it’s a great song for Twilight.

  100. It’s been almost 3yrs, and i just searched forthe meaning of this song..yup, i agree some of your interpretation specially this part:
    “The fishing lures have gone cold, since you are not trying to catch each other anymore. I think the next line is where the lover realizes that the relationship has changed. I see the clean blood of Christ to means I’ve judged and I want some atonement, to reconcile what we have become.”
    It seems your very much assured and knows the meaning of the blood of Christ. The rest i agree as well. “Are you not so jealous I spent time doing this today at work?” Nope. Coz i spent time searching and reading your blog today at work.

    • I’m into Indie rock, and I love the song- subtle, soft and poetic. I am awed by the sublimity of your cipher. What can I say? I am now jealous, I couldn’t have done that. Well I am an accountant and I find the movie “Twilight” too girly for me, though I read the whole books even before it came out to the screen. Tap for a job well done.

  101. Renay

    Wanna hear my thoughts? It’s kind of long winded! I don’t know if this is right, but I think it is a song about a girl that he is in love with. I think of Flightless Bird as a kind of prey…Like someone who is very vulnerable in one way or can’t defend themselves. American Mouth could mean that the one he found can stand up to him..Like he’s found his match in her.

    Then I think the whole part about being a quick wet boy diving for coins and then him cutting his baby long hair meant that he has lost his innocence and now he is grown up or has moved into a new stage of life. The part that says stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere could mean that he has searched for someone like her for a very long time. Dog eared makes me think of something old…Like he has waited for her for his whole life. He thinks he has found his soul mate in her, but he has a fear of losing her or not being able to keep her safe. That it is a hard pill for him to swallow cuz if he makes the wrong decision which is the line big pill looming, it could mean her safety.

    Then the part that says I’m a fat house cat means he is content and happy, but nursing his sore blunt tounge could mean that he has pushed her away. He could be afraid of what will happen if other’s find out about their love and try to destroy it which I think could be the part about the rats pissing on magazine photos.

    Then I think the part that says about those fishing lines thrown in the cold and clean blood of Christ mountain stream…It makes me think he is becoming a better man because of her and he has been reborn or baptized or something like that. I’m not really religious or anything, but that is what it seems to mean to me. Because of her love, he feels young an innocent again.

    Then big pill stuck going down might mean that now that he has made his decision to be with her, he may regret it and he has to live with that because he loves her so much.

    What do you think about my interpretation? You can also see how this would pertain to Edward and Bella’s situation in Twilight. He was afraid to let her in cuz he was scared that he would not be able to protect her from other vampires or even from himself. Just curious what other people think…

  102. Vicky blah blah

    To me I think this is probably the most accurate song interpretation so far. By this I mean, from my point of view anyway, from what I thought the song might have meant. I don’t hear any of the political views in here.. More of a love song I reckon. 🙂

    Very good interpretation 🙂

    Makes me smile 😀

  103. jennifer chapa

    I love your interpretation on the song. It makes sense completely! Great job!

  104. sophie

    really nyc way to interpret d song

  105. Kcb

    This the best interpretation I’ve read so far. I heard that Kristen Stewart picked out this song for the movie. Since she is a lover of the story, I think this interpretation fits more as to why she would think it was a good fit.

  106. Winnie Bago

    I was completely stupefied by the lyrics to this song. The first time I heard it was a year ago when I first saw the movie. I loved the melody/music, but didn’t really pay attention to the lyrics since it’s sort of in the background playing (plus I’m one to hear the music but not the lyrics–I can hear a song 1,000 times and still not know the lyrics afterwards). I’m an engineer, and take things way WAY too literally, so taking the words at face value is pretty nonsensical and relatively absurd.

    So, I had to search the internet for the meaning since it’s not immediately apparent and there’s no way I could come up with something since my brain just doesn’t function that way. Your explanation is the first I came across, and honestly I don’t want to look any further because it makes so much sense. So, a BIG thank you for putting meaning behind it — I won’t feel so stupid/foolish listening to such a lovely song!

  107. Kenya

    Hey you did a great job the song is so beautiful and when you just read the lyrics to the song it just leaves in a “what” state of mind, but the melody and everything is just beautiful. So thank you evne if you could be worng you have still inbedded a beautiful meaning to it that just brought the song out even more. Great talent.!

  108. mika

    Hello! I enjoyed your translation.. but there is an other I found…

    I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins

    (I am who I was, trying hard to be at my best)

    All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys

    (then you came and made me fall)

    Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair

    (but when the world disapproved me, I showed them who I want to be)

    Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere

    (you showed me my direction, I will long for no one else but you)

    Have I found you (Are you really mine now?)

    Flightless bird (you said you won’t leave me), jealous (the world envy me for having you), weeping or lost you (but then I lost you),

    american mouth (for me american mouth signifies idioms or better words said)

    Big pill looming (a danger was posted)

    Now I’m a fat house cat (found myself at home)

    Nursing my sore blunt tongue (trying to cure a broken heart)

    Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks

    (pushing myself to move on)

    Pissing on magazine photos (yet memories of you help me not to)

    Those fishing lures thrown in the cold (my love was just swept away)

    And clean blood of Christ mountain stream (Yet i still see hope)

    Have I found you (Have you really been part of my life?)

    Flightless bird (who once told won’t leave me), grounded (I believed),

    bleeding (and am now deeply hurt) or lost you, american mouth (I lost you)

    Big pill stuck going down (but you still can find me).

  109. Della

    I got married 3 months before twilight came out and I had this song to walk down the aisle to. I was 18 when I got married and listening to this song I believed it to be a love song although after my wedding I listened to it again and I now believe it’s not just a love song it’s a life song. He sings a lifetime into the song starting from childhood all the way through, but having said that I wouldn’t change my decision to have it as my wedding song, it’s a beautiful song and whichever meaning is behind it, it’s a haunting song that sticks with you

  110. wasifa2708

    You made an outstanding interpretation of this song….I’m totally mesmerized…:)<3 Great job done…*_* I just love this song enormously….=))

  111. Living in the Blood of Christ Mountains

    I like your interpretation, although you are obviously trying to fit it in with the Twilight story.
    The meaning of this song has nothing to do with anything in Twilight however, and especially your interpretation of “And clean blood of Christ mountain stream”…I actually live in the Blood of Christ Mountains (which have many wonderful clean streams) in Colorado, and separating “blood of Christ” from “mountain stream” changes the whole meaning of that sentence.

    Still, I DO like your interpretation and your thoughtful attempt at making it fit with Twilight.
    Very inventive. 🙂 ❤

    Sorry if anyone already posted anything like this, there were too many posts for me to go through 😦

  112. Meg

    I love it!!! That was amazing. I was listening to the song and reading the lyrics at the same time and thought “what the hell does thins mean”? I think you did a grab job (for all the romantics) 🙂

  113. Katie

    Makes great sense thank you!

  114. Lindahamilton

    I truly agree with your interpretation, I have found this song romantic, wistful and it has a very charming classic sound to it. The words touch me whenever I hear them so beautiful that it was mine and my husbands wedding song!! Thank you for seeing what I too see in this amazing song!

  115. Phoenix

    What a great interpretation!!!! It’s true it does bring tears to my eyes….because you hit it spot on!!!
    Thanks 🙂

  116. Rebecca

    I love your interpretation and have a good feeling you are dead on. Up to reading yours, I had a different idea as to it’s meaning, yet still, it IS a love song, IMO. I believed it’s about the love of the singer that extends unto his next incarnation….from human to feline. He was a carny worker at one of the booths when she became dazzled by the prizes at his and he, well, by her. When his job ended, he went seeking her, but to no avail and thus, took his life w/ the “big pill” or accepted the reality that she was gone forever and that was his “big pill” to swallow. He comes back as a cat, in his next life, bored w/ his life of marking his territory and amidst hunting when he either stumbles upon a hurt bird or catches and injures the bird, realizing it is his lost love from his former life and the reality kills him inside. But now I realize my version, what seems to be “obvious”, is probably symbolic, especially knowing the depth of the singer/songwriter who croons it. Whatever the meaning, it is hauntingly beautiful and better every time I hear it. One piece of cool trivia you may not know is that Kristen Stewart suggested the song for Twilight’s prom scene,

  117. Ronni

    I love this song. I decided I wanted it to be my wedding song, but I wanted to look up the meaning of the lyrics before I completely made that decision and your break down of the song is fantastic. I come to peace with the world whenever I hear this song and now I will have something to think about every time I listen to it. Thank you for such a deep take on this song. LOVE!

  118. queenjuliana

    Thank you for writing this. The song is lovely and your explanation of it made me cry. Reminded me of a poem called “Splendor in the Grass” by William Wordsworth:

    What though the radiance
    which was once so bright
    Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass,
    of glory in the flower,
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
    In the soothing thoughts that spring
    Out of human suffering;
    In the faith that looks through death,
    In years that bring the philosophic mind.

    A possible and similar meaning:

    This is an excellent piece, a fantastic poem by a legendary man. To me this poem is a wistful goodbye, a recollection if you will. It is about our loss with time, how men age and loose their youthful outlook while nature remains the same. Nature will always be beautiful, it will always outshine anything we can create, it is forever and overwhelming. The grass will always look beautiful and sharp, the flowers brilliant in the sun, but as the years pass, you will not be the same person who looked on them once, no? You will have changed, to be wiser or poorer, in any way, and you will not be the same. You will not see the grass the same as you age, your vision dims, your mind falters, the sun brings sweat to your brow to quickly. Perhaps you cannot interpret it as you did in your youth, but it was you that changed.

    Heavy stuff – devastating, if you let it be. But good.

  119. Jack

    Exceptional, superb, thank you so very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and expressions.

    I believe this song is magical, majestic, peaceful and full of a plethora of meanings about love, passion, desire, a bohemian poetry in motionless seductive beauty. I feel it describes my feelings of love for my object of affection as well as capturing my romance for a socialist, bohemian, humanist revolution. I love this song and it fills me with joy. Have a wonderful day my friends, comrades and fellows.

  120. ha I just laughed so hard at your reference to your english teacher. i share very similar sentiments.

  121. This song has inspiration on me now. I’d love to create a short story about it or somthing like you did. I love the way you explain your thought 🙂

  122. hopeless romantic

    love your interpretation!

  123. Melanie

    I love your interpretation of this song better then any other I have found and even better then the one I was thinking of! I was leaning more towards a predator/prey type of song. Kind of like the Lion falling in love with the Lamb thing. You did a great job and it was a pleasure looking into your thoughts! I absolutely love this song and find myself singing it throughout the day! Now when I sing it, I think I will have a greater sense of what I am singing about! Thank you!

  124. nancy

    Words don’t really make sense to me but its still a hauntingly beautiful tune. If I ever marry again it will be my wedding song & I want to recreate Edward & Bella’s wedding.-just beautiful

  125. Millie

    I know I’m a little late too here, I just heard this song in its’ entirety today, and was fascinated and curious to see if anyone took from it what I had interpreted it to mean. For the most part, I agree with you. Expect, I think the first verse has a few more meanings. “I was a quick wet boy, diving to deep for coins”, to me means he was immature and after worldly gain and possessions, which he achieved by the second verse, “all of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys”, meaning to me that others were in awe of what he had, but by saying “plastic toys”, he interprets what he has as meaningless (plastic=junk). Then in the third line, I think something happened to make him grow up, and that’s when he started searching for love. I also think that calling her the flightless bird, he’s recognizing how opposite they are. Not only is she grounded, but she careful and plays it safe by not flying. Then, I think that’s where the jealousy comes in because they are so different. I also think that the american mouth is a bad thing, someone in the relationship is quick to judge or cut with their words (my guess is him, because of the 2nd line in the 2nd verse), then that is why a big pill is looming (the dread in the relationship is from poor communication, I think). Then the rest I agree with you about the meanings. The only reason for my different opinions, are that I’ve experienced this relationship, I’ve been this type of flightless bird to someone (as far as this interpretation goes), it was hard, but worth it.

  126. becki

    I personally love your interpretation. When I first heard this song, I thought it to be a beautiful love song, and the way you explained it is just as beautiful

  127. Jules

    My fiance and fell in love with this song the minute we heard it the first time, we had no clue why we were so drawn to it and had spent a lot of time trying to decipher the meanings. We are not american so we had a bit of a hard time with certain expressions used in the song, but your interpretation filled in the few little gas we had left to decipher. We’ve actually decided to use it as our first dance song for our wedding! Thanks so much for the help!

  128. jacques

    I absolutely love love love your opinion/ decipher of this song. I totally agree with it(maybe cz I’m a hopeless romantic) but yea, just wanted to say 10 outa 10 to you,mam!!! U just made me fall more inlove with the song, listening to it on repeat as I type this comment

    • Melissa H

      I totally agree with you…this opinion of the meaning of these lyrics have only made me love this song even more

  129. antles

    GREAT. THAT’S WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR. THANKS A LOT

  130. Angel

    Yeah! I love your words. Thanks 🙂

  131. It feels so great to really have a fair meaning of it. Such a beautiful song. : )

  132. SavannahRio

    Thank You!! (: I think youre a very smart person and I thank you so much for writing this out! I thought the song wasnt that great because of the pointless lyrics,, but it makes so much more sense now. Its almost as if its poetry ❤ And I for one love poetry , my boyfriend writes it for me. My names Savannah ,, btw. and Thank you !

  133. Bri

    Aren’t we smart? Excellent job!! Wish I were still as creative as that..i applaud this interpretation…thank you.

  134. Steph

    Regarding the use of this song for the Twilight movies…I would rather have different lyrics to the beautiful melody. This is the first time I looked at the lyrics and I am very disappointed. I am a very literal person (which is not at all bad) and would have rather had “love song lyrics” for a song played at Bella and Edward’s prom/wedding. Not something that I would have to “figure out what it means.” I took English lit in college and did not care for that either. I have to have everything in black and white. So, I love the song and do not like the lyrics. But everyone has their opinions and I really do love the way you “translated” this song for me!! I also liked reading everyone elses comments to this song, very educational. Thanks everyone!

  135. Brooke A

    I believe this song has to do with a man being in love with a rich woman and a poor woman, he ends up marrying the rich woman, when infact he loves the poor woman.)

    I was a quick wet boy, diving too deep for coins
    (He is saying he is a young boy making careless decisions, and he cares about money, causing him to pick a rich woman.)

    All of your street light eyes wide on my plastic toys
    (He is saying everyone is watching what he has, when it is actually not his, it is the rich woman’s, that is why he refers to it as plastic toys, meaning fake, because it doesn’t belong to him.)

    Then when the cops closed the fair, I cut my long baby hair
    (He is saying that his true happiness (leaving the poor woman) was taken from him when he married the rich woman. He had to change who he was, and his freedom was taken from him.)

    Stole me a dog-eared map and called for you everywhere
    (He is saying he had to steal a map because he wasn’t allowed to search for the real woman he loved (the poor woman) and that map was folded because he was stuck between what he had vs. what he wanted.

    Have I found you
    (He is asking if he has found her (the poor woman), meaning does she still want him.)

    Flightless bird, jealous, weeping or lost you, American mouth
    (He is saying, flightless bird because he can’t forget her, and is wondering if she is jealous and heartbroken of the other woman, or has she moved on, (meaning he has lost her.) He calls her American mouth because he is describing her and loves her voice (and possibly the rich woman is not American.)

    Big pill looming
    (He is saying the big pill is the future and it is coming, so he has to figure out what to do.)

    Now I’m a fat house cat
    (He is saying he is lazy and relaxed, not actively engaging with his wife.)

    Nursing my sore blunt tongue
    (He is saying he is trying to bite his tounge and not tell his wife what he really thinks of her.)

    Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence cracks
    (He is saying he is surrounded by rich people, filled with posion, and are on the opposite side from him, trying to work their ways onto him.)

    Pissing on magazine photos
    (He is saying he doesn’t respect the rich people, because they are fake.)

    Those fishing lures thrown in the cold, And clean blood of Christ mountain stream
    (He is saying he is searching for the real woman he loves and the pure life he wanted, but he isn’t getting a response from the poor innocent woman.)

    Have I found you
    (He is asking if she will be with him.)

    Flightless bird, grounded, bleeding or lost you, american mouth
    (He is saying, flightless bird because he can’t forget her, and is wondering if she is waiting for him (grounded), or if she is heartbroken, or if it is too late (she won’t be with him.) He calls her American mouth because he is describing her and loves her voice (and possibly the rich woman is not American.)

    Big pill stuck going down
    (He is saying the life he has, he does not want to accept, he doesn’t want to give up on the true woman he loves, so he refuses to swallow what the future has laid out.)

  136. Samantha

    I absolutely love your interpretation, I’m trying to sing and play this song on the guitar, but I felt as if I couldn’t fully do that until I really understood the song, and whether or not your interpretation is what Iron and Wine meant, it certainly has the right amount of emotion in correlation to the song 🙂

  137. Seth

    Beatifully said. Seems like the former creative writer in you is looking for a place to fly. (-:

  138. Sarah

    I loved your interpretation of the song, I have chosen this song as my wedding first dance not only because it’s a beautiful song but you have cleared it in my mind what the song is about I love it thanks x

  139. Melissa H

    Your depiction of this amazing song, has moved me. You quite literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

  140. wow your interpretation of the song is really awesome jus love it:-):-)

  141. I like how you explained the lyrics. Perfect!

  142. Rachel Tiller

    Thank you for this. I was wondering what all it could mean. I really like your interpretation of this song!

  143. ViVi

    Its kinda creepy bcuz most of what you thought was exactly what I was thinking. But some parts I never thought from that prospective and it makes a ton of sense. I totally and completly agree with you. I think its a lovely and beautiful love song.

  144. lamaxallure

    You were impressing me until you mentioned Twilight. ¬¬

  145. Wendy

    Love your interpretation!!!!!! Out of all the blogs I have read trying to figure this song out, your is the best

  146. Buffy Bryant

    Same here ive listened to it over and over and over … However I’m not a writer but a thinker- & I think u have desribed it if not perfectly … Sometimes I like not knowing the meaning but when looking for this songs meaning I came to yours first and I’m quite satisfied! Thanks for your creative gift and for sharing!

  147. Bea

    This song isnt about love, or rather a sadness and love of friends. Its about the war. In real life, the writter of this song was a hippie, he was a spoiled young boy who always had everything people wanted.. Hence the coins and toys people looked at, he watched all his friends go to the war and he was able to escape it. then one day he grabbed an old phone book out of a phone booth and started calling all of them up, seeing if he had found them or lost them from everything they went through after the war. It was a big pill to swallow that he didnt go and the pain all his friends went through. since the war was over, he was a fat cat on the couch, in real life he felt he had no purpose since woodstock and pr=otesting is all that he did. the poison rats are the politains and the cracks are all the loop holes in the white house. the “american mouth” are the troops fighting to uphold what the american gov wants. Once you read the interview of the artist. the entire song makes perfect sense and is so sad. this guy had a hard time swallowing the pill of how his friends turned out becuase of the war. and doesnt know if he found them, or lost them.. weeping of their life jealous of his that he didnt have to go through the same.

  148. Well, my version looked like this:
    I was an ambitious boy
    But there came a day that forced me to grow
    So I cut my hair Baby
    And I looked everywhere for my bird flight
    I tried these crying your eyes, envying
    I tried your American Mouth
    Your brown hair bleeding
    Do not know if you thought
    Or if you lost,
    But today I am a fat kid
    Cursed by the tongue

  149. Tray

    I’m really new to Twilight I had to catch up on the previous films before i went watching breaking Dawn part 2.. Now I have the DVDs and I also found myself listening to this song over and over again…. It’s a brilliant interpretation of the songs lyrics… Thanks so much for sharing it xx

  150. Nylrem

    “i was a immature child running around looking for all the worlds pleasures in deep and dark places, all the eyes where on me and the things i played with to amuze myself, i ended up being forced to grow up and then i had to follow the directions layed out for me by my elders”

    That is my interpretation of the 1st verse and I am not ready to commit to writing the 2nd verse because I am still “…called for you everywhere” and when I do find myself and have some years of experience with myself I will comment on the 2nd verse – God willing.

  151. Leta Lewis

    I believe your insight to the song is on point I love it . It makes sense and it is a beautiful song .

  152. Lydia

    I love the song but i think it´s about drugs or war. this is definetely not a love song xd

  153. Yolanda

    If I could translate the my feelings in words when I listen to this song, you’ve done it. It makes me think of someone I know and you’ve described him. It describes our relationship. The words in this song are words I personally would never use to describe our relationship, but they sound so beautiful put together.

  154. Romie

    WOW!! I can so see/feel it now. I’ve loved this song for like ever mainly for the melody and well the way it made me feel listening to it but now with your break down I just might make it my wedding song. 😉

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