"Hem of Your Garment" as written by and John Mccrea....
I am intrinsically no good
I have a heart that's made of wood
And I am only biding time
Only reciting memorized lines

And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
No, no, I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment

I have no love but only goals
How very empty is my soul
It is a soul that feels no thrill
It is a soul that could easily kill

And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
No, no, I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
Yeah yeah

I am intrinsically no good
I have a heart that's made of wood
And I am only biding time
Only reciting memorized lines

And I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
No, no, I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
No, no, I'm not fit to touch
The hem of your garment
Yeah yeah, alright, ah no


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by jw39, BigWhiteOwl

"Hem of Your Garment" as written by John M Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

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Hem of Your Garment song meanings
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31 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentis it just me, or is prolonging the magic one long inferiority complex?
    malachiteon April 21, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe first line of the song says "I am intrensically no good." I will do an almost word by word "anal"ysis of the line. First, he did not say "I am not intrinsically good" nor did he say "I am intrinsically bad." Each has a different connotation. For example. I am not intrinsically good, does not mean he is not good, it just means he is not inherently good. And I am intrinsically bad means that he is inherently "evil" i suppose... anyways. Dictionary.com says Intrinsically means Inherent and No good is worthless. So he says "I am ______" A positive personal relation and definition of part of himself. I am inherently worthless. That is a way to start off a song hehe. Moving on.


    "I have a heart that's made of wood." I talked to a couple of people, and basically we all though Heart of gold...compared to wood..Gold is in my eyes, as far as the metaphor goes, is a pure, solid, strong individual. Generally good qualities. Wooden heart seems, artificial, able to rot, just not very admirable. The falsehood of the individual is explicitly said with "Reciting memorized lines." The next stanza can be looked at two different ways. Either the singer is the person, or he sings of the person, I go with he is the person, as he uses I.

    "I have no love, only goals." creepy buisnessman? I think not. I think this is a very eloquent way to say "I will use people and things to get what I want." "How very empty is my soul" Is it a plea? A cry for help or a statement to let us know his condition. Furthermore, does the author know and accept the status of his soul? much like one Could say How very happy am i today. I believe he knows and regrets the condition he is in. "It is a soul that feels no thrill. a soul that could easily kill" I think that also speaks alot of the person. It is a soul that feels no thrill. I dont think it gets satisfaction. and one that can easily kill it shows again, that it has no love, and is willing to use or do things with no regret.

    So, what kind of person is it unworthy of touching the hem of their garment? I put forth it is a person that is loving, warm, and happy. I think that this person understands that it is seperate and appart from such characteristics, and is unhappy with itself as such
    myddraallon January 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song wasn't the first place I've heard someone say that they weren't fit to touch someone else's garment. The times I've heard it, it was usually said sarcastically. I always figured it was in reference to a bible story. Jesus was walking through a crowd of people, everyone grabbing at him with hopes of being cured from whatever ailed them. Then this one very ill woman crawled her way close enough to flick the hem of Jesus' garment, thus being cured. There's more to the story and I'm sure someone will be quick to correct me but that's the gist of it, I'm probably not the best person to be telling bible stories ...but THAT ladies and gentlemen is your bible story of the day. :)
    ONaCarouselon March 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentafter thinking about this for quite a while, i came up with another way to look at this song.

    after reading about the biblical significance of the "hem of his garment," i think this song was directed towards a "higher-being" or "god." the song is pretty religious.

    the song is like a confession. it even starts off as one, as he confesses he is "no good," (a sinner).

    his heart is "made of wood." meaning he is a creation of god/jesus (god/jesus was a carpenter).

    the man is "biding time," on earth, waiting until he reaches heaven.

    "reciting memorized lines" refers to the chanting of his daily prayers.

    i think hes trying to say that despite being a "good christian," he is losing faith. because his belief in god is not complete, he is "not fit to touch the hem of [jesus'] garment."

    *to thouch the hem of jesus' garment is to be healed from all suffering. in order to do this, one must have complete faith.

    second verse:

    he is at a spiritual low. he has no love for life, all he has left are the "goals" of reaching heaven.

    his soul feels nothing; he is numb. the fact that his sould could "easily kill" symbolizes his internal anger and frustration.

    once again, he remarks that, because he has lost faith, he is not worthy of being healed.

    i found this other intersting religious excerpt about the hem of jesus' garment:

    To reach the hem, one has to be at a low point, lower than the hem and reach up.
    If a person is at a low point in their life and reach up, they will find the hem of HIS garment.
    The hem will be able to hold them, if they hold on and follow or go with it.

    using that information, its easier to see that the song is about a loss of faith in religion and such.
    Terrlyleon April 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, alot of Cake's stuff on thier middle two CD's seems like that. They seem to be happier in Comfort Eagle, though.
    Wrapidon June 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the garment is the skin, and the hem the vagina. If it is, Cake is still cool. Innuendos arent cool.
    ILOVELIFEon December 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI doubt it has anything to do with the female body. Why does everyone think cake songs are sex innuendos? =D

    I think he's being sarcastic. Like, "oh, i'm no good, i don't have a regular heart, mine's made of WOOD! i'm not even fit to touch the hem of your garment"

    Sounds like an angry response to an ex-girlfriend.
    Immortal113on December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song! Like it's been mentioned, I think it's an angry song to an ex-girlfriend who broke up with him because she felt he was cold and soulless, and she must have made him feel insignificant in some way to make him think he wasn't fit to touch the hem of her garment...
    Poppinson January 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAm I the only one who thinks he's being sarcastic? I mean think about it, "I have a heart that's made of wood." He's saying she thinks he's just trying to get some. and "the hem of your garment," like she's royalty. she's a snob and she's got this condecending picture of him and he's pissed about it.
    gracetbeon February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think he really is the way he describes in the song, but REALLY exaggerates it to mock whoever is wearing the garment -- someone who expected him to be Jesus-good. But obviously, he couldn't be that good for this lady.
    He's not heartless, but only mocking the subject of the song for thinking he could be that bad.
    majour333on April 06, 2005   Link

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