"Word on a Wing" as written by and David Bowie....
In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
I don't need another change
Still you forced your way
Into my scheme of things

You say we're growing,
Growing heart and soul
In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
Sweet name, you're born once again for me
Sweet name, you're born once again for me
Oh sweet name, I call you again
You're born once again for me
Just because I believe, don't mean I don't think as well
Don't have to question everything
In heaven or hell

Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I'm trying hard to fit among
Your scheme of things

It's safer than a strange land
But I still care for myself
And I don't stand in my own light
Lord, Lord, MY prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
My prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
Does my prayer fit in
With your scheme of things?

In this age of grand illusion
You walked into my life
Out of my dreams
Sweet name, you're born once again for me
Just as long as I can see, I'll never stop this vision flowing
I look twice and you're still flowing
Just as long as I can walk
I'll walk beside you, I'm alive in you
Sweet name, you're born once again for me
And I'm ready to shape the scheme of things

Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things
Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things
Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things
Ooh, ready to shape
The scheme of things

Lord, I kneel and offer you
My word on a wing
And I'm trying hard to fit among
Your scheme of things

It's safer than a strange land,
But I still care for myself
And I don't stand in my own light

Oh Lord, Lord, Lord, my prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
And I'm trying hard to fit among
Your scheme of things

It's safer than a strange land,
But I still care for myself
And I don't stand in my own light

Lord, Lord, my prayer flies
Like a word on a wing
My prayer flies like a word on a wing
Does my prayer fit in
With your scheme of things?


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"Word on a Wing" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

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Word on a Wing song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThe first time I heard this song, I fell in love with it. I see it as a dialogue between two people: a male atheist and the religious love-of-his-life. In my view, every pronoun is referring to the current speaker's significant other (hint: the lines "Just because I believe don't mean I don't think as well // Don't have to question everything in heaven or hell" and each stanza beginning "Lord, I kneel and offer you..." are voiced by the woman).

    In his lover's goodly nature the man is able to forget all that can go awry in superstition. Having a particularly humanistic outlook on life, he can acknowledge the benefit religion can offer to those able to handle it responsibly, and feels empowered by the mutual temperance in their relationship ("Sweet name, you're born once again for me // And I'm ready to shape the scheme of things", etc.).

    ...or! the whole song could be a prayer--as WolfTickets and BowieOwnsAll posit--but I still prefer the romantic interpretation due to its uniquely personal relevance. Does anyone else feel this way? That David changes the affectation of his voice at key points seems to lend credence to my theory (granted, I know the wanker isn't known for vocal uniformity).
    sixtyfpson January 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this is David's cry for spiritual help amidst the troubles of 1976 and his cocaine addiction and dabbling in obscure beliefs.
    He's basically said as much himself, not that he remembers much of this year.
    StephenDrew00on February 22, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIn 1999 in "Sotrytellers" David said that years: 1975, 1976 (as well as second half of 1974 and first few weeks of 1977) was the darkest days of his life and this song was "signal of distress" and "calling for help".
    Moniaon May 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt sounds very Christian on the surface, but he's bargaining with god like a partner. It's like he wants to believe he believes, which is actually quite familiar from a failing relationship too.
    joannajoyon September 11, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes it's about talking to a higher power, does that mean it's about the Christian God? No, only in the eyes of sadly indoctrinated Americans.
    StephenDrew00on February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe actually says "just because I believe" not "Just because I don't believe"
    StephenDrew00on February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is somewhat sarcastic towards religion. He says "in this age of grand illusion" to represent his true feelings, I think. The song appears to be a tribute to God, but as another person pointed out in the comments, David is not exactly humble in the song as one would be if they were really giving themselves to God. It also seems like he is trying to say all the things one is supposed to say and do all the things one is supposed to do to have faith, but it's all really tongue in cheek. I see the last part as a challenge, "Do I fit into your scheme of things?" If not, too bad, because I still care for myself. And the part about "Just because I believe doesn't mean I don't think," is an obvious contradiction and mockery of the blind faith position; if you believe in an illusion, are you really thinking?

    I also always thought he said at the beginning, "I don't need another chain," referring more to a lover than to a God. And he says, "you walked into my life," which to me suggests a human being, since God wouldn't "walk." The "sweet name" is a lover, and maybe they've had a quarrel about faith at some point. However, the religion he's really converted to is love, not Christianity or another organized religion. So yeah, although that's a jumbled up (and possibly wrong) interpretation, when I heard the song I always thought it was about thinking you needed faith and finding love instead.

    Oh yeah, and how has everyone missed, "It's safer than a strange land, but I still care for myself." Again, that's a loaded line. He's saying faith is safer than being on earth alone (which is the strange land), but at the same time he cares for himself too much to just recklessly throw his faith and belief into an illusion. And this is his "prayer," which intentionally challenges God's scheme of things. David has his own.

    The prayer and the word on a wing, while they would initially suggest some hopes floating up to heaven in a fragile way, to me always represented the feeling of love and commitment. All you can give are these fragile words, on a wing, because you feel like you are flying so high above everything when you're in love. And getting down on one knee, to me that's a marriage more than an actual prayer. I could just be seeing what I want to see; that happens from time to time.
    asSTARSfallxon December 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBowie's call to God, I think, saying, "I'll do whatever the hell you want, but no matter what I say, you just keep fucking with me!" Bowie himself has said, "i mean, what is the gag, God? What's the breaking point? It's just too much."
    WolfTicketson June 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBowie is calling to God but he is definately not saying that. First off, it is referring to Jesus because of the "you're born once again for me" which is bringing up how God gave his only son to the world, and Jesus is technically 1/3 God so he is being born to the world. Bowie is saying how he is willing to change whatever he is doing for God and how he doesn't have to question God's will. He is just asking for a slot in God's will because despite his beliefs he still is semi-selfish and wants to be with God.
    BowieOwnsAllon January 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust a couple of comments on what I used to think the lyrics were - "Sweet name" I took for "sweet angel" & "my prayer flies" I took for "my death lies" - doesn't add anything, but it did for me, as, at the time, a girlfiend died & this song mirrored my feelings in what I mis-took the lyrics for.
    nagromnaion December 20, 2005   Link

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