"Under the Ivy" as written by and Kate / Bush....
It wouldn't take me long
To tell you how to find it
To tell you where we'll meet
This little girl inside me
Is retreating to her favourite place
Go into the garden, go under the ivy
Under the leaves, away from the party
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
I sit here in the thunder
The green on the gray
I feel it all around me
And it's not easy for me
To give away a secret
It's not safe
To go into the garden, go under the ivy
Under the leaves, away from the party
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
Go into the garden, go under the ivy
Go under the leaves with me
Go right to the rose
Go right to the white rose
I'll be waiting for you
It wouldn't take me long
To tell you how to find it

Lyrics submitted by morgil, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Under the Ivy" as written by Kate Bush

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Under the Ivy song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentit's about feeling overwhelmed, unable to deal with the noise and the chaos of life, so you retreat into someplace you feel safe. at the same time, you'd like certain people or a certain person to keep you company, which is what this song is about. offering someone an invitation into your safe place.

    it's really about trusting someone when you feel your most vulnerable.

    Edited by delial on May 28 2008, at 02:55AM

    delialon July 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentshe invites us to find our own solitude...this child spent many secluded hours in creative reflection...this is available to all of us...she guides us here to leave the chaos of life behind and find ourselves...
    musicatokcon October 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKATE on Under the Ivy: "It's very much a song about someone who is sneaking away from a party to meet someone elusively, secretly, and to possibly make love with them, or just to communicate, but it's secret, and it's something they used to do and that they won't be able to do again. It's about a nostalgic, revisited moment."
    DOUG: Is there any reason why it's so sad?
    KATE: "I think it's sad because it's about someone who is recalling a moment when perhaps they used to do it when they were innocent and when they were children, and it's something that they're having to sneak away to do privately now as adults."

    UNDER the ivy bush
    One sits sighing,
    And under the willow tree
    One sits crying. —

    Under the ivy bush
    Cease from your sighing,
    But under the willow tree
    Lie down a-dying.

    ~ Christina Rossetti

    Ivy - Immortality, Friendship, Faithfulness.
    Because it is an evergreen that clings while climbing, it signifies the need for protection. Since it grows quickly, it also symbolizes regeneration, sensuality and revelry. The Greco-Roman god Dionysus, or Bacchus, had an ivy cup and wore a crown of ivy leaves. As a symbol of immortality, it provides hope of salvation and deliverance. In Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, the garden door is hidden under the ivy.
    Ivy was often used to symbolise the notion of gendered spheres for men and women in the Victorian period, where the ivy (woman) needs the sturdy oak (man) for support. This idea derives from Christian doctrine, as does the association of ivy (an evergreen plant) with the notion of resurrection. Ivy also has associations with melancholy and decay; the image of ivy covered ruins was a popular motif of the Romantic movement.
    Of course, Kate enjoys spelling puns on her name (Kate Bosch [NFE], BaBUSHka, the Pull of THE BUSH, etc). And 'Under the Ivy' is another example of Bush Topiary...

    White Roses - Purity, Innocence, Sympathy, Spirituality
    With its pristine appearance, the white rose has come to symbolize purity, innocence and secrecy. Early traditions also used white roses as a symbol for true love, an association which would later become the hallmark of the red rose. However, white roses continue to endure and retain their symbolism of innocence.
    Also known as the bridal rose, the white rose is a traditional wedding flower. In this sense, they are a representation of unity, virtue, young love, and the pureness of a new bond of love. White roses are also associated with honor and reverence, which makes them a fitting memorial for a departed loved one. As a symbol of remembrance, the white rose represents heavenliness and is an expression of spiritual love and respect.
    White roses have been symbols of reverence and humility ever since Medieval Christian Europe. In those times, Mary was often represented by a white rose to represent her purity. In Wales, white roses are seen to mean innocence and silence, and are often placed on the grave of a young child. Meanwhile, some native American cultures see the white rose as representing security and happiness, so this is why they are traditionally worn at weddings.
    In Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête, the white rose is symbolic of the Beast's inner character. Cocteau reinterprets Villeneuve's story and theme of love's power to redeem ugliness. He uses the white rose as a symbol of love and purity. The Beast may appear to be a hideous creature, but on the inside he is a loving and caring person. And of course, in La Belle et la Bête, the father goes into the garden, under the ivy, under the leaves, away from the party, right to the rose, right to the white rose and picks one of the white roses for his daughter.
    The White Rose was a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany that called for active opposition to Hitler's regime. The group's first pamphlet decried the horrors of the T4 'euthanasia' programme. The six core members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo, convicted and executed 1943. The symbol of the white rose was intended to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil. A 2003 German poll, "the ten greatest Germans of all time", placed Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose fourth place, selecting them over Bach, Goethe, and Albert Einstein.
    "Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way ... The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals ... Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!"
    — From the second leaflet of the White Rose.

    In the modern occultism of Madeline Montalban (died 1982) Lucifer's identification as the Morning Star (Venus) equates him with Lumiel, whom she regarded as the Archangel of Light, and among Satanists he is seen as The "Torch of Baphomet" and Azazel. In this modern occult teaching, an obvious appropriation of Christian soteriology, it is stated that it is Lucifer's destiny to incarnate in human form at certain key times in world history as a saviour and redeemer for humanity. A symbol for this process is the Tudor Rose. The Tudor Rose can be red, representing Lucifer, or white representing Lilith. The Tau cross is also a symbol of Lumiel/Lucifer and his role as an avatar for the human race.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon June 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUnder the Ivy and Love and Anger

    It lay buried here. It lay deep inside me
    It's so deep I don't think that I can speak about it...

    And it's not easy for me
    To give away a secret
    It's not safe...

    It could take me all of my life
    But it would only take a moment to
    Tell you what I'm feeling...

    It wouldn't take me long
    To tell you how to find it...

    'Our life is basically practically nothing but an infinite number of unfinished situations-incomplete gestalts.' writes Perls. 'No sooner have we finished one situation than another comes up' (1969/1971:15). The neurotic 'individual somehow interrupts the ongoing processes of life and saddles himself with so many unfinished situations that he cannot satisfactorily get on with the process of living' (1973:23).
    The basis of gestalt therapy is looking at the moment - the whole moment and nothing but the moment. Gestalt therapy seeks to free the "dammed-up psychological process" so that it flows naturally... to Run Wild, Run Free...

    L&A opens like a Gestalt counselling session, that is interrupted by the entry of a loved one (real or imagined). The narrator cannot confide in a sister (because she hasn't got one?) and cannot confide in a priest. The institution of confession permits all to be said, but the narrator seems mute. Indeed, the album cover to TSW shows Kate's mouth concealed by a flower and in the Aerial photograph to 'Joanni', Kate's mouth has disappeared... In L&A, her muteness leads her to explore other philosophies of freedom. These seem to include Buddhist principles of rebirth and karma:

    "Karma, meaning action-reaction, governs all existence, and man is the sole creator of his circumstances and his reaction to them, his future condition, and his final destiny. By right thought and action he can gradually purify his inner nature, and so by self-realization attain in time liberation from rebirth. The process covers great periods of time, involving life after life on earth, but ultimately every form of life will reach Enlightenment."

    So, in Love And Anger the narrator seems to be breaking through of personal limitations and "busting through" constricting forms. A 'spiritual cleansing' to let a 'new house' of the future rise up. And I agree that the end of the song is a real triumphant feeling...

    But in Under The Ivy she seems to be retreating deeper into her sanctuary...

    This little girl inside me
    Is retreating to her favourite place...

    Under The Ivy feels like a dangerous regression, a compulsion to repeat something forbidden. Maybe the noise and pressure of the party get to her and she is tempted by secret love... But will her lover join her? ...
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon June 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKB: "One of my favourites is by Millais, The Huguenot..."

    UTI could also be interpreted in reference to one of Kate's favorite paintings, The Huguenot, which also deals with tyranny and oppression; and which may have inspired The Dreaming album cover. Maybe UTI reflects the moments leading up to the embrace depicted in the painting, with allusions to the symbolic white-scarf and white rose...

    Millais: "It is a scene supposed to take place (as doubtless it did) on the eve of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day. I shall have two lovers in the act of parting... The girl will be endeavouring to tie the handkerchief round the man's arm, so to save him..."

    The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre was a wave of Catholic mob violence against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants), during the French Wars of Religion. The exact number of fatalities is not known, but it is estimated that anywhere from ten thousand to possibly one-hundred thousand Huguenots died in the violence throughout France.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon July 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhile there may be many shades of meaning in Kate Bush's words, there is one fairly direct meaning that it took me many years to realise.

    Kate is referring to a very intimate place indeed, under the tangle and the 'leaves', in fact her favorite place. Somewhere she likes to go when she is alone, yet easy to find when you know where it is. It is certainly "not easy" to talk about, "not safe". And yet she is waiting to be discovered there. Do I have to spell it out?
    virtualcliffon March 04, 2018   Link

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