"Wondering Where The Lions Are" as written by and Bruce Cockburn....
Sun's up, uuh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me.

I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren't half as frightening as they were before
But I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me.

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I'll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Up among the furs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I'm wondering where the lions are
I'm wondering where the lions are

Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake,
Thousand-year-old hieroglyphs doing a double take,
Pointing a finger at eternity
I'm sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun,
Polished and precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be!) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I'm wondering where the lions are
I'm wondering where the lions are

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we're going to sail away,
Going to sail into eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
And I'm wondering where the lions are
I'm wondering where the lions are


Lyrics submitted by Zoltar

"Wondering Where The Lions Are" as written by Bruce Cockburn

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Wondering Where The Lions Are song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentPathetic, for such a great song, and so little said! Well I don't know if he has much U.S. market so that could explain the lack of respect for this song.

    There is a fair amount that I don't understand but I kind of feel some of what he sings.

    Its fairly obvious that Bruce is having a reality trip

    "Sun's up, uuh huh, looks okay
    The world survives into another day
    And I'm thinking about eternity
    Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me"

    You could almost call it a mid-age reality trip. This dude sees the big picture, and he is having a hard time wrapping his mind around it, I think when you look at reality too closely it becomes surreal.

    "I had another dream about lions at the door
    They weren't half as frightening as they were before"

    The lions are his surreal look at death and how the more he looks at the big surreal picture the less hard it is to not be afraid of the surreality of reality

    "Walls, windows, trees, waves coming though"

    I'm guessing this is another reference to the coast, and another example of Bruce having a reality trip. I wouldnt doubt that when he wrote that he was sitting at his beach house, had a reality trip and wrote down what he saw right then.

    "You be in me and I'll be in you
    Together in eternity"

    Like any good movie there is an element of love in the song.

    "Up among the firs where it smells so sweet"

    Another reference to the Canadian west coast, which is notorious for its forests' of sweet smelling fir trees

    "Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake"

    Yet more references B.C

    "Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun
    Polished and precise like the brain behind the gun(Should be)"

    More reality trip, like many other ummm... more ... intellectual people he calls out on how we still fight wars yet me have so much more power and reason than guns and bombs in our brain. , i mean, it blows my mind that we are still killing each other when we are such an advanced civilization??? anyway...

    "Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
    One of these days we're going to sail away"

    The first line is yet another reference to the gorgeous west coast and the second is a reference to being free. Like many other who want to rid of this thing we call life and live free know that the only place that is truly free I(and still feasible) is the ocean. I think any freedom seeker out there has wanted to sail around the world at least once :)

    This is my take on this amazing song, I am Canadian and I am going to give this amazing song the respect it deserves.



    chuckbaneon April 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutly love this song. There are some people (like me) that always look for the bad, even in paradise.
    burntfireon April 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought this song was about a new christian: looking at the world in a new way but still worried about the real world (Roman collosseum, feeding them to the lions.)
    Lisanalgaibon December 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove this song...
    t_doton October 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationwonderful song... only three comments? That's ridiculous. There's some universal meaning and some specifically Canadian meaning in this song... like the "huge orange flying boat rises off a lake" bit - a reference to water bombers filling up at Sproat Lake, B.C. !
    gamoson March 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Bruce Cockburn has already explained the meaning to this song, although I forgot where I read it.

    Bruce, and a friend of his, were talking about some hostilities that were going on, at the time, between the USSR and China. His friend said something like: "man, if this keeps up, we'll wake up one day and the world will be gone."

    That night, Bruce went to sleep, and dreamed of ferocious lions that suddenly become friendly. When he woke up, he sort of laughed to himself and thought: "waddahya know, the world is still here."

    That was the inspiration to the song anyway, not sure if it explains all the lyrics.
    walterbyrdon September 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is fairly clear. I like the idea of a "reality trip" that chuckbane said.

    But, one thing... isn't it "should be the gunman who's thinkin''bout eternity"
    trippinbtmon July 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI've gone 30+ yrs thinking this song was titled: Wandering Where the Lions Are. Ok, so I was quite young when I first heard this song and found the album in my brother's record collection, but it made so much sense to me for all this time that Cockburn would be wandering with the lions, like Daniel in the Lion's Den. Now I have to do a whole mind warp thing to wrap my head around why he would wonder where the lions are.

    It's only been a few days since this was revealed to me so maybe it hasn't processed yet, but I have to admit with the utmost deference to the man himself that I prefer my misunderstanding to the actual lyrics.

    y2bon October 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMusic is one of those universal things and as in visual art I believe it is percieved differently by each person. To me this song is about a relationship; a happy relationship that the "protagonist" is wondering/waiting for something to go wrong. I've been in past relationships where all was going so well and I was so happy that it made everything in life seem better, like being in a feeling of ecstasy. It was almost like I was expecting for something to go wrong -happily it never did :) --Although I believe that the song was actually written about nuclear war.
    Ericinatoron March 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think the chorus

    "Wondering Where the Lions Are"

    Refers to Bruce seeing all this beauty and magnificence in the world, and he's unable to wrap his mind around how exactly there can be such a thing as death and evil anywhere.

    He knows there are such things everyday, but he doesn't see them, instead he's overwhelmed with the amazing things that he sees instead.

    He's really got no worries.
    degree7on March 15, 2011   Link

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