"The Lazarus Heart" as written by and Gordon Matthew Sumner....
He looked beneath his shirt today
There was a wound in his flesh so deep and wide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside
He turned around to face his mother
To show her the wound in his breast
That burned like a brand
But the sword that cut him open
Was the sword in his mother's hand

Every day another miracle
Only death will tear us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I'd be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart

Though the sword was his protection
The wound itself would give him power
The power to remake himself at the time of his darkest hour
She said the wound would give him courage and pain
The kind of pain that you can't hide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside

Every day another miracle
Only death will keep us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I'd be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart

Birds on the roof of my mother's house
I've no stones that chase them away
Birds on the roof of my mother's house
Will sit on my roof someday
They fly at the window, they fly at the door
Where does she get the strength to fight them anymore
She counts all her children as a shield against the rain
Lifts her eyes to the sky like a flower to the rain

Every day another miracle
Only death will keep us apart
To sacrifice a life for yours
I'd be the blood of the Lazarus heart
The blood of the Lazarus heart


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"The Lazarus Heart" as written by Gordon Sumner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Lazarus Heart song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis started as a dream Sting had in the year before his mother died, when she was very ill.

    The act of bearing a child is the same as a mother sacrificing her own life for the life of a child. Sometimes it's even literally true. At the least, the life she had before the child is gone. But in sacrificing, she provides life to another human. Death and regeneration, like Lazarus rising from the dead in the New Testament.

    The mother's wounding of the son teaches the him that change is almost always painful, but the wounds are necessary to die as one person and live as a newer, more complete person.

    There is one final change that we all face--death. The best shield to the pain of death is in our loved ones and in our strength of character.

    Hell of a first song to put on an album.
    thedouglason November 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not surprised that no one has commented on this song. There are too many beautiful songs that go unnoticed on this forum.

    This song is sting at his best. To make great pop music with a jazz sensibility, and to be able to take a pop sing into a jazz bridge is simply genius. This song is the definition of that.
    Dhruvaon March 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the liner notes for “Nothing Like the Sun,” Sting wrote, "...'Lazarus Heart' was a vivid nightmare that I wrote down and then fashioned into a song. A learned friend of mine informs me that it is the archetypical dream of the fisher king...can't I do anything original?"

    [Michael Baty]: The Fisher King is an old character from mythology about which I don't understand a great deal. But, the basis of him seems to be that he is a tragic figure who is constantly searching for the thing that is staring at him in the face, but he never, or seldom realises. Perhaps a more pertinent link to the song is in the title: Lazarus, who is of course the biblical character who is brought back from the dead by Christ. This is echoed in the song via the wound the character in the song finds, and despite the pain inflicted, the wound brings forward a great thing, life (in the shape of a flower). I guess another strand in all this is the fact that not long before this album Sting's mother died, so the song ties in the images of death and pain with the mother figure, and a realisation that her fate will be a fate that we will all share ("Birds on the roof of my mother's house, no stone to chase them away, birds on the roof of my mother's house, sit on my own roof some day"). In this last passage there is also a feeling of guilt and helplessness in the face of the death of a loved one, and in Sting's case a symbol of a life left behind (he didn't go to the funeral in Newcastle for he felt that it would turn it into a media event, so this was denied him). But for all this it is an up-beat song, and the final verse illustrates that we all live on in our children ("they fly at the windows they fly at the wall, where does she get the strength to fight them anymore, counts all her children as a shield against the pain, turns her eyes to the sky like a flower to the rain"). Returning to the imagery of the flower; regrowth and hope.
    sillybunnyon August 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSPIN: The most powerfully revealing song on the album has to be' Lazarus Heart'. You've told me how the imagery for the lyrics came directly from a dream you had, so there was no chance for the mind to censor whatever the unconscious was trying to send up.

    STING: I had this dream about my mother. Almost verbatim, the images were put down into verses. Looking under your clothes and seeing a wound you show it to your mother, because your mother would be the one to help you. Then you realise you've been given this wound by your mother. Then you see a flower grow from the wound. Then you see birds on the roof which is a symbol of death. In the dream I didn't have any stones to get rid of them. It was a real nightmare about my mother's death because I was feeling totally powerless. But at the same time, it's about being given a lot of strength by your mother.

    SPIN: A therapist in England told me that 95 percent of the patients he works with have unresolved mother and father projections to deal with. In a way, your relationship with your mother tends to both reflect and influence your relations with all aspects of the feminine in your life - other women, your emotions, intuition, the arts. Can you relate to that?

    STING: Oh, absolutely. I quite literally got music from my mother. One of my earliest memories is of sitting under the piano at my mother's feet as they worked the pedals as she played the piano. And it was her who encouraged me to play the guitar, it was her who listened to me. At the same time, it was her who created a lot of tension in me. I was the first child, and I think the first male child has a bigger psychological burden to carry than other children, because it's like a love affair. I speak from the experience of looking at the two women who have borne me male children. And it's love... it's sexual love, without mincing words, it's actual sexual love. And that doesn't have to manifest itself with actual cocks and vaginas, but it's still deep, sexual love. And it's even competitive for the father. That's something I've only recently come to understand about my mother, this kind of love affair, this kind of sexuality. I also thought my mother was extremely attractive. And she was only 18 years older than me. I have to say that I'm very free now, particularly since she died. Largely because I believe that she was trapped in this body that was no use to her. She was a very free spirit... my mother was a scarlet woman, an adulteress and she lived in sin with this guy. But she couldn't stand rules. So now she's free.

    SPIN: The Lazarus dream reminds me of a book about the Grail myth called He by a Jungian analyst named Robert Johnson. In the myth the young fisher king receives a wound that can only be healed by finding the Holy Grail. Johnson identifies this wound as a childhood trauma, sometimes associated with the mother or father, that produces a sense of alienation. The unconscious mind often hides the memory of all this till it comes up later in therapy, or dreams, or art or something. The quest for the Grail stands for coming into your real self, which involves gradually bringing these hidden traumas and fears up into consciousness to be healed. Realising this about your mother, might that affect your trust situations with other people?

    STING: My mother even in a way encouraged infidelity. When I first left home she was very keen that I should be a libertine. And I'm not particularly faithful... l become my mother occasionally this way sexually. I emulate that, the need to look outside of established relationships, even though they're wonderful.

    SPIN: But besides emulating her, could it be her behaviour unconsciously convinced you that females and the feminine in general - including your emotions - are unstable and difficult to trust?

    STING: I'm not sure... I don't think I really fear being left. I have absolute faith in the women I've spent time with. I don't trust myself.

    SPIN: You mentioned that your mother's death freed you. I think that's also true in terms of your creativity on this album.

    STING: Nothing in life is isolated. Everything's connected. And the timing of my mother's death was linked to a lot of other events. It coincided with a time when this album became free of the machinery. Only now are we pulling it out; it's been hidden in the machinery so long. Which is why people were getting uptight and worrying that there wasn't anything there. I don't have any doubts about this record. Although recording digitally was difficult and kind of alienating, it allowed me more flexibility in terms of arrangement... and that drove me crazy. I could change the key, add whole sections to the song when it was already finished, change the tempo, everything. But basically I knew there was a core in each song that worked that you couldn't destroy.
    sillybunnyon August 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lines about birds on his mother's roof signify his mother's death. black birds- if crows, ravens, or rooks- often signify death. and by him saying that there are "no stones to chase them away" mean that her death is inevitable. and also, it is inevitable that those birds of death will sit on his own roof some day.

    this song (and all of Sting's songs, that is) is insanely well written. and the lyrics are smart and have meaning. gorgeous.
    itsmichela2374on May 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst of all, Sting has no concern for the PTSD he's given women over the years by cheating on them. It's a horrific disease. Setting that aside, anyone with some slight bit of age would realize that "to sacrifice a life for yours" has nothing to do with birth. It has to do with blue collar parents allowing their kids to have a better life. Though in this case, I would question whether that happened. Is encouraging your child to become a narcissist and a philanderer a good thing? Use your minds people!!!!. Narcissist and all, still a great lyricist. The two are separable from a distance.
    abc132on January 28, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song to some extension relates to Ghost Story in that what did not kill just made me tougher. From Sting perspective he never wanted to live like his father.
    He wanted out. That to me appears to be at least the wound and his career the flower.

    When I hear this song I think of the mother with a child with a birth defect.

    As I was born with a birth defect, bilateral cleft lip and palate, I see much simile.

    I see the wound, I see the annoying birds and I see the flower
    The metaphor is profound.
    ScribbledInk1975on August 14, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI lost my father this past weekend. I pulled into his driveway the morning after and waited on his wife to wake. As I sat there in my car a small bird appeared on the flag pole attached to the window. A larger bird appeared and flew under the porch over the front door. The small bird followed onto the porch column. I thought there must be a nest. A second small bird, the same as the first, lit above the door. In unison the two small birds descended into two wreaths hung by the funeral home. One into the wreath on the door and the other into the wreath on the porch column. The bird which flew into the porch column wreath dug around in it for several minutes. I sat amazed and thought of the line from this song about "The birds on the roof of my mother's house will sit on my roof someday. This was not a coincidence. It was a sign from God that I very much needed. I was assured that my father was with his heavenly father and I did not need to worry. Gordon, thank you for this gift which serves as a conduit to my belated father.
    kurtbrowningon September 26, 2017   Link

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