This is a transcription of a portion of an interview where Suzanne Vega talks about the creation of, and the meaning behind, the song, Solitude Standing from the eponymous album. Details of the interview such...
Solitude stands by the window
She turns her head as I walk in the room
I can see by her eyes she's been waiting
Standing in the slant of the late afternoon

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I'm struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we've met

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

And she says "I've come to set a twisted thing straight"
And she says "I've come to lighten this dark heart"
And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear
And I say "I've never thought of finding you here"

I turn to the crowd as they're watching
They're sitting all together in the dark in the warm
I wanted to be in there among them
I see how their eyes are gathered into one

And then she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame

And she says "I've come to set a twisted thing straight"
And she says"l've come to lighten this dark heart"
And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear
And I say "I've never thought of finding you here"

Solitude stands in the doorway
And I'm struck once again by her black silhouette
By her long cool stare and her silence
I suddenly remember each time we've met

And she turns to me with her hand extended
Her palm is split with a flower with a flame


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Solitude Standing" as written by Marc Shulman Anton Sanko

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Solitude Standing song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe idea of solitude being in the form of a woman is very interesting to me. Vega's imagery is so strong that you listen to this song in pictures - if you know what I mean. "Her palm is split, with a flower, with a flame" is a line that struck a chord with me when I was younger.
    solar_poweredon February 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHmm surprised there are no comments... pretty awesome song to me
    Sirius1on July 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about being torn between being a part of the others, or being alone.

    That "Solitude stands by the window" means that she can disapear any moment. It also symbolizes freedom, if the window is open. That she's been waiting means that she's always been there, and this is just the time that she's shown herself. "The slant of the late afternoon" might mean that there's not much time left.

    Solitude seems like a dark, shy character. She's alone, but trying to offer friendship, hence the "hand extended". That her "palm is split with a flower, with a flame" symbolizes the dual nature of solitude. It seems good, but can damage you if you get too much. Of course, flames can warm you, and flowers have their thorns.

    Basically this song is about one's shadow. It's also a reminder that solitude is being by one's self, not being alone. "Each time we've met" obviously means that this is not the only occurance.

    "I've come to set a twisted thing straight" and "lighten this dark heart" reminds me of strong introverted-ness, and how being alone gives us (introverts) energy, as opposed to being with others. :) "And she takes my wrist, I feel her imprint of fear" reflects the desperetness of the situation, and the fear. Also, that the narrator says /her/ imprint of fear, expresses a certain detachment from one's emotions. "I've never thought of finding you here" means that the inkling of peace was a surprise.

    That the crowd is watching is simply anxiety, fear of being exposed. That "They're sitting all together in the dark in the warm" simply expresses the bliss of ignorance. "I wanted to be in there among them" and "I see how their eyes are gathered into one" shows that the narrator wants to be part of a group, but is wary of the almost hive mentality.

    Anyway, I'm pretty much sure that I'm over-analyzing this. Or under-analyzing it. Or whatever. :) But, to each their own.
    Denouementon April 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've listened to this song on repeat all afternoon. I believe it is divinely inspired. Personally, I think this song is about learning to grow by delving into self rather than searching externally for something or someone else to comfort or save you.

    I especially love the lines:
    "And she turns to me with her hand extended
    Her palm is split with a flower with a flame."

    Flowers are beautiful, and they often represent growth. Flames can symbolize passion and pain. Together, they can embody enlightenment (e.g. the lotus). The woman's hand - or solitude - is extended to the writer so that she may grow from whatever it is she is experiencing in her life at the moment. Of course, it is her choice whether or not she chooses to learn her lessons then and move on or remain in an uncomfortable situation unchanged.
    For me, the second line alludes to the fact that we must take some time to ourselves so that we may grow, even though that means we will most likely experience some pain in the process.

    *The lines that follow continue in the same vein:

    "And she says, 'I've come to set a twisted thing straight.'
    And she says, 'I've come to lighten this dark heart.'
    And she takes my wrist; I feel her imprint of fear
    And I said, 'I never thought of finding you here.'"

    *Whatever it is that the writer is going through is going to be resolved by time alone. She may have a heavy heart and be fearful, but after thoughtful consideration, she will find her way out feeling better about herself, her life, and her experiences.
    I believe the entire song is about gaining insight into one's own mind, body, and life.

    (The following lines also make me wonder if the whole song could have been written about a more personal experience the writer might understand while sitting alone in her dressing room before going onstage.

    "I turn to the crowd as they're watching
    They're sitting all together in the dark in the warm
    I wanted to be in there among them
    I see how their eyes are gathered into one."

    She may be suffering from performance anxiety and searching for internal relief before going onstage. Perhaps, she does so by seeking solitude in her dressing room beforehand, surrendering herself to the fear, and letting it go rather than allowing herself to be consumed by it. Just a thought.)
    traumermusingon October 02, 2016   Link

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