"Bus To Baton Rouge" as written by and Lucinda Williams....
I had to go back to that house one more time
To see if the camellias were in bloom
For so many reasons its been on my mind
The house on Belmont Avenue

Built up on cinder blocks off the ground
What with the rain and the soft swampy land
By the sweet honeysuckle that grew all around
Were switches when we were bad

[Chorus]
I took a bus to Baton Rouge
I took a bus to Baton Rouge

All the front rooms were kept closed off
I never liked to go in there much
Sometimes the doors they'd be locked 'cause
There were precious things that I couldn't touch

The company couch covered in plastic
Little books about being sved
The dining room table nobody ate at
The piano nobody played

[Chorus]

There was this beautiful lamp I always loved
A seashore was painted on the shade
It would turn around when you switched on the bulb
And gently rock the waves

The driveway was covered with
Tiny white seashells
A fig tree stood in the backyard
There are other things I remember as well
But to tell them would just be too hard

Ghosts in the wind that blow through my life
Follow me wherever I go
I'll never be free from these chains inside
Hide deep deep down in my soul

[Chorus]


Lyrics submitted by lunargirl

"Bus to Baton Rouge" as written by Lucinda Williams

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Bus To Baton Rouge song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentGood God this song is sad as hell. I can't believe I am the first to comment.

    Okay... "Bus". Buses are the most lonely mode of transportation there is. Even though you are among other living beings, you most often don't speak to each other in any meaningful way. You might make polite eye contact, but after that you try not to look at the other people. You might sneak a look in here or there and then you just completely wonder about the pain they have in their lives. If you do decide to speak, it is always small talk. Buses conjure up sheer pain and isolation to me. So, she took the loneliest ride possible to the most vulnerable part of her soul.

    She took the bus to Baton Rouge. To the "house" she grew up in. To me the house symbolizes a part of her heart and soul where she kept hopes and dreams. In terms of growing up, a big part of her was cultivated during the time she spent in this place. She had to go back one more time because "for so many reasons" it had been weighing heavy on her mind.

    She has memories of it that are so beautiful, the camellias, the lamp with the seashore painted on the shade, the driveway with the tiny white seashells. But, she also remembers the sweet honeysuckle, something so gorgeous, and how it was used to hurt her.

    She talks of the "company couch covered in plastic", and rooms that were closed off or the doors were locked. This symbolizes the parts of our souls that are not accessible to others. Parts of us that we don't even share with our family. How we guard certain emotions.

    The "dining room table nobody ate at" and "the piano that nobody played" reminds me of how we have some parts of ourselves that are just for "show" and how sad that is.

    She sings about the beautiful and painful memories of this place. The time she spent there obviously changed her and shaped her. At the end she says there are more things she remembers about the experience, but to tell them would "just be too hard".

    The part that always gets me is when she says,

    "Ghosts in the wind that blow
    Through my life
    Follow me wherever I go
    I'll never be free from these
    Chains inside
    Hidden deep down in my soul"

    I only had a few minutes to write, and I do believe much more can be said about this song in far more elegant prose.





    sugarbegoniaon August 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song , too. My favorite version is from Essence. It is incredibly sad, but so beautiful. I won't be able to comment about it in any elegant or eloquent way (in fact, I'm sure I'll butcher what I'd like to say) but, I'll try explaining what the song means to me.

    I took a bus to my soul, too. But, I got onto the bus and there was THE most attractive man sitting in a seat by himself. We smiled at each other for what seemed like a very long time and then I had to break eye contact. I was afraid that I was going to melt on the floor of that dirty old bus. I took a quick look around the bus. It was getting kind of crowded, but there still were other seats available. I looked back at the beautiful man and tapped him on the shoulder. I asked him if I could sit with him and he couldn't have been nicer. He scooted over a bit and I took my place next to him.

    There we sat on the way to our souls, side by side. It was sooooooo lovely sharing the seat with that man. We made small talk, yes. We made polite eye contact, too. But I also felt the heat of his body next to mine. I'd notice tiny details about him. I knew from the bits of chatter that we shared that he was a kind, thoughtful, generous and loving person. We both didn't want to interrupt the quiet people around us, so we decided to take out a notebook (made of paper) and write to each other. You have no idea how much we discovered, while sitting next to each other, on this ride to our souls.

    So when we arrived at the destination we walked, holding hands, to a house. It had the fig tree in the back yard and the driveway with the tiny white seashells. It even had that magical lamp with the seashore painted on the shade! The camellias were in full bloom and gorgeous. We unlocked all of the doors that had previously been closed off. We opened all of the windows to let in the cool breeze. We ripped the plastic right off that couch and gave it a workout. We both learned how to play the piano (at least we tried) and we had lovely, long dinners at the dining room table. We even bought books that weren't about "being saved" and we read them. We had the most glorious life in that house.

    The morning after the first night we spent together in that house, we went right out and bought a huge vase for the honeysuckle.
    scarletmagnoliaon August 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI once dreamed of moving to Paris with an old BF. When I told him about it he replied, "Paris is in flames, baby". So I picked myself up and dusted myself off and decided, well, why don't we then simply move to french speaking cajun country? I thought of New Orleans but remembered that it was destroyed by that wicked rain "Hurricane Kat". And didn't Barbara (not Kate) Bush say that everyone is better off because of it? What a crazy old bat. Anyway, I then thought that he and I could take the bus to Baton Rouge. I had such a lovely dream of this life. It was like "heaven on earth" as they say. What happened to that dream? SAME EXACT thing as the person above me. Only I escaped at the last second with my scorched, shredded, spent NUB of a soul. I've decided no more dreaming in French. I'm gonna Viva La Vida.
    Victrolaon April 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Ghosts in the winds that blow through my life seem to follow me where ever I go. I'll never be free from these chains inside, hidden deep down in my soul."
    True for so many of us.
    RonLeeon May 25, 2012   Link

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