"Song To The Siren" as written by and Larry Beckett Tim Buckley....
Long afloat on shipless oceans
I did all my best to smile
'til your singing eyes and fingers
Drew me loving to your isle

And you sang
Sail to me
Sail to me, let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you
Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you hare when I was fox?
Now my foolish boat is leaning
Broken lovelorn on your rocks
For you sing
'Touch me not
Touch me not, come back tomorrow
O my heart, o my heart, shies from the sorrow'

Well I am puzzled as the newborn child
I am troubled at the tide
Should I stand amid the breakers?
Should I lie with death my bride?
Hear me sing swim to me
Swim to me, let me enfold you
Here I am, here I am
Waiting to hold you


Lyrics submitted by scheisse

"Song to the Siren" as written by Tim Buckley Larry Beckett

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Song To The Siren song meanings
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  • +2
    Song MeaningThe song appears to be using the common image of a siren enticing a sailor over to her, just for him to be destroyed in the rocks, so the meaning of the individual lines is affected (at least for me) by this image. Here is how I interpret the song meaning (from the "sailor's" voice):

    Long afloat on shipless oceans
    I did all my best to smile

    --> I was lonely but I tried to get by

    'Til your singing eyes and fingers
    Drew me loving to your isle

    --> Then I saw you and was drawn in by you

    And you sang
    Sail to me
    Sail to me
    Let me enfold you
    Here I am
    Here I am
    Waiting to hold you

    --> you encouraged me over, offering me comfort and love (an escape from loneliness)

    Did I dream you dreamed about me?

    --> Did I imagine you wanted me too? Perhaps this is one-sided love.

    Were you hare when I was fox?

    --> Am I pursuing you only, like a fox pursues a hare?

    Now my foolish boat is leaning
    Broken lovelorn on your rocks

    --> Coming over to you has destroyed me. Love has destroyed me. You drew me into your trap.

    For you sing, "Touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow:
    O my heart, O my heart shies from the sorrow"

    --> You didn't let me in or give love back, perhaps because you were scared.

    I am puzzled as the newborn child

    --> So now I'm confused based on the signals you gave me.

    I am troubled at the tide

    --> (I thought this was "riddled as the tide" which would imply the same as the previous line since riddled also means puzzled and the tide goes up and down.) Troubled at the tide implies that the the singer doesn't know what to do.

    Should I stand amid the breakers?
    Should I lie with Death my bride?

    --> Should I continue waiting or should I give up?

    Hear me sing, "Swim to me, Swim to me, Let me enfold you:
    Here I am, Here I am, Waiting to hold you"

    --> I'm right here, I love you

    This last line is the same message as the "siren" originally gave the "sailor", but there is no more left to the song, which implies that the offer is not responded to.
    Jenezzyon June 16, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBest ballad ever written. Tim's really emotional singing of it makes it one of my favourite songs of all time.

    First discovered it after downloading This Mortal Coil's cover of it from the Lost Highway soundtrack. Good cover but nothing compares to Tim's voice.
    mmcion July 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttouching track, the actual symbolism and lyrical content is derived directly from Homer's book the Odessey. But it's really a matter of unresponded love. It is also one of the most covered/remade/remixed songs ever.
    uncledubon January 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh and also: "Were you hare when I was fox" not "Were you here when I was full sail?"
    mattspenceron June 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat song and agree with most of what's been said previous. Will say the lyrics 'Were you here when I was full sail?' should be 'Were you hare when I was fox?' Stu.
    stusafc38on August 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI Too heard Mr Plant's version first, Tim's version has more emotion. Hairs stand up on neck everytime I hear it....
    Davey Don February 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a great song. Simple but full of emotion. I would have loved to hear Jeff Buckley sing this song. He wasn't in the habit of doing his fathers stuff to often though.
    pommy_bon March 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe real magic of the song is in those last two lines. Singing to the siren who enticed him and broke him, the sailor becomes a siren himself, enticing her to swim out and return to him. Breathtakingly perfect.
    miesvanderroboton April 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first three words are actually "Long afloat on". Others comments above are spot on!
    mattspenceron June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe This Mortal Coil version was used in a commercial! Thank God I forget the product (and PLEASE no one repost and remind me!). I was so sad. such a beautiful song commercialized! Such is the world. Um, dare I say the TMC version is better than Tim's, at great as his is? Yeah, I dare say it :)
    hangwire13on June 14, 2006   Link

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