"Mystery" as written by and Emily Ann Saliers....
Each time you'd pull down the driveway
I wasn't sure when I would see you again
Yours was a twisted blind sided highway
No matter which road you took then
Oh you set up your place in my thoughts
Moved in and made my thinking crowded
Now we're out in the back with the barking dogs
My heart the red sun
Your heart the moon clouded
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery

So what is love then is it dictated or chosen
(Handed down and made by hand)
Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years
Or is it just pop emotion
(Handed down and made by hand)
And if it ever was there and it left
Does it mean it was never true
And to exist it must elude
Is that why I think these things of you
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
May be an equal mystery

But you like the taste of danger
It shines like sugar on your lips
And you like to stand in the line of fire
Just to show you can shoot straight from you hip
There must be a 1000 things you would die for
I can hardly think of two
But not everything is better spoken aloud
Not when I'm talking to you

Oh the pirate gets the ship and the girl tonight
Breaks a bottle to christen her
Basking in the exploits of her thief
She's a very good listener
Maybe that's all that we need
Is to meet in the middle of impossibility
We're standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery
(Handed down and made by hand)

We're standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery


Lyrics submitted by manogrrlie

"Mystery" as written by Emily Ann Saliers

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Mystery song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commenthow could no one have commented on this song? this is by far my favorite indigo girls song. to me, it's about second guessing your love for somebody because you are just so different. it's such a strange dichotomy because it's the differences that keep you together, and also the differences that drive you apart. the singer seems to decide she'll let her lover stick around for a while "to meet in the middle of impossibility" unfortunately, in my own life, it didn't end that way
    yeahyouknowmeon October 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat yeahyouknowme said!!!!
    Chamigaon December 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod, I love this song... Why do you spend this time with me... Great stuff
    Schaeffieboyon December 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me of my best friend and me, because we started at opposite poles and ended up with an impossible bond. The line about love being "dictated or chosen" is the kind of thing he and I could work up into an utterly tasteless private joke...arrrgh, I miss him now that we live a continent apart. :-(
    Tuckeron October 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAh, the whole part after "So what is love then", favorite lines of theirs, ever. Ever ever ever everrrrr
    flopcanopon May 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think that handed down or made by hand means either taking how you were raised to heart or growing into your own thing. or not even youthful, maybe its like, having a relationship dictate your life...
    LondonSkylineon February 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationFirst off, the lyrics printed above are INcorrect!
    Instead of "(handed down and made by hand)" it should be
    "handed down OR made by hand"
    Someone needs to correct this since it changes the meaning of the song.

    In any case, here is my take on "Mystery"
    No doubt this is my favorite song by the Indigo Girls.
    The crux of the song poses the million dollar question about love: is love predestined or is it determined by our own doings?

    So what is love then is it dictated or chosen
    (Handed down or made by hand)
    Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years
    Or is it just pop emotion
    (Handed down or made by hand)

    I read on the internet back in the 90's a different interpretation that was just as insightful. In their interpretation, it was about whether or not homosexuality was inherited or determined after birth.

    The song ends with the most bittersweet yet profound insight of all. For anyone who has been in a marriage or relationship, we often wonder how things work:

    "We're standing at opposite poles
    Equal partners in a mystery"
    TigerBalm88on October 22, 2015   Link

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