[Chorus]
Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door.

I don't want no god on my lawn
Just a flower I can help along
'Cause the soul of no body knows
How a flower grows
Oh how a flower grows.

[Chorus]

Mary dropped her pants by the sand
And let a parson come and take her hand
But the soul of no body knows
Where the parson goes, where does the parson go?

[Chorus]

Addition verse performed in live version of this song.

Raise your mind up and look around
You can see them, yes they're looking down
From a lonely asteroid, in a vacant void.
Dyin', but not destroyed.



Lyrics submitted by BrainDamage

"Longer Boats" as written by Yusuf Islam

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

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Longer Boats song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:This is taken straight off Cat Stevens website yusufislam.com

    "In the late 60’s, due to the successful landing of a man on the moon (which happened coincidently on my 21st birthday) there was a lot of talk and speculation about UFOs.

    I wrote the song as a plea for human unity in face of external (possibly extra-terrestrial) threats. There was also a lyrical inference to say that we should look closer at the beautiful and mystical nature of the earth, and watch out for adopting inherited wisdoms from people who claimed to be masters of the high, moral ground.
    I don’t want a ‘god’ (statue or false image) on my lawn
    Just a flower, I can help long
    For the soul of nobody knows,
    How a flower grows – how does a flower grow?

    True, I gave interviews sometimes and talked about UFOs with passion, but that was partly due to my wish in making the interview more interesting. My apologies.

    But in another way, the image of ‘longer boats’ in my mind reminds you of the Vikings and the ships they conquered Britain with. A hint of how we perceive aliens who have different customs to us – thankfully, my mother was Scandinavian, so I never really shook listening to such stories."
    MilesFromNowhereon November 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I always thought of the book "Hawaii" when I heard this song. The longer boats were the white man coming to their islands. The parson was the religious "missionary" come to convert and takes advantage of the innocence of the young girls (Mary) or converts because they trust him.
    "I don't want no god on my lawn" was always an adversion to religion and all it's outward forms while his wanting just a flower he can help along was his longing for the truth, the truly good.
    I heard about the UFO thing but it just doesn't say that to me at all.
    singleeyeon January 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation:I have heard that this song makes reference to Greek mythology, which seems quite plausible in the lyrics. The boats represent the boaths used to carry the souls over the river Styx in the afterlife. Also interesting is that the pilots of these boats are called Tillermen. The flower represents innocence, possibly as do Mary and the parson; although they may also be "committing the original sin."

    For more on this, check out this site:
    songfacts.com/…
    ctdunstanon June 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Stevens has actually been quoted as saying that this song is about UFOs, and he wrote it after he was abducted while lying on a hillside one evening. I suppose that gives you a rough idea of the kind of drugs this guy was taking at the time.
    ajjm6286on August 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:About the UFO-thing: Stevens have since stated on his Yusuf site that the UFO-comment was simply a lie to create publicity nothing more nothijng less this song is about something else. What ctdunstan sais makes sense imo.
    Bobaon March 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion:The reference to the vikings, with their long boats, who came and won us is clear.
    But what was it that Cat Stevens was afraid of in his time ?
    I doubt if the song refers to a specific object, just as I doubt that "Here comes my baby" refers to a specific woman.
    But even if Cat Stevens was thinking of something in particular, why should we care about Stevens' phobia when each one of us has his own, and this is what comes to one's mind when one hears the song ?
    When you hear a love song that appeals to you, do you think about the singer's love or of your own ?
    hananon December 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation:I see what has already been posted here. It's interesting that Cat Stevens originally made his interviews more interesting by talking about UFOs, and later said it was more about appreciating your land (or planet) and being aware that another country (or aliens) could come and take it from you (like the boats that came from Scandinavia to conquer Britain).

    As I read through the lyrics, I personally interpret the lyrics to be saying "I live in a peaceful land that does not have a religion that involves worshiping a god. People will eventually come and push religion on me and those who live here, and to my neighbors I say don't let them."

    To break it down:

    "Longer boats are coming to win us. Hold on to the shore." Missionaries will come to our land to "win us over" with their religion. But "hold on to the shore" my friends! Don't let them take over this land and convert it to their religion!

    "I don't want no god on my lawn. Just a flower I can help along. Because the soul of nobody knows how a flower grows." I don't want to become a devout follower of a god to worship, with statues of the saints and manger scenes and such. I just want the simple beauty of a flower on my land. And quite frankly, I don't think these religious folks really have the right answer of how the Earth and the things on it (like flowers) came to be. Nobody has those answers.

    "Mary dropped her pants by the sand and let a parson come and take her hand. But the soul of nobody knows where the parson goes." I heard of a woman who was convinced to become a devout follower and she left our wonderful land to join those religious folks. And nobody has heard from her since. Where did the priest and his congregation take her? I don't know. Is she still as happy as she once was? We don't know.
    sadchildon July 30, 2012   Link
  • -2
    General Comment:"ajjm6286": Go fuck yourself because you are an asshole, Cat said that he wrote this song about UFO's, but he DIDN'T say that he was abducted by them, and he never took drugs, you are a stupid idiot
    Cat Stevenson April 21, 2007   Link

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