Blank face in the windowpane
Made clear in seconds of light
Disappears and returns again
Counting hours, searching the night

Might be waiting for someone
Might be there for us to see
Might be in need of talking
Might be staring directly at me

Inside plays a lullaby
Slurred voice over children cries
On the inside

Haunting loneliness in the eye
Skin covering a secret scar
His hand is waving a goodbye
There's no response or action returned

There is deep prejudice in me
Outshines all reason inside
Given dreams all ridden with pain
And projected unto the last


Lyrics submitted by Idan

"Windowpane" as written by Mikael Lars Akerfeldt

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Windowpane song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +10
    General Commentas jonas87 says, and from the interview with mikael, i don't think this song is about child abuse but is simply about seeing a face in a window and thinking/elaborating about that. i should explain thus:

    "Blank face in the windowpane
    Made clear in seconds of light
    Disappears and returns again
    *Counting hours, searching the night"
    -simply setting the scene, he sees someone in the windowpane, looking outside, going in and out of view, presumably attending to something, take note of the last phrase which I marked with an asterisk

    "Might be waiting for someone
    Might be there for us to see
    Might be in need of talking
    Might be staring directly at me"
    -lists his thoughts about the person looking from the window, again, i should mark this whole stanza with an asterisk (I will elaborate on this at the end)

    "Inside plays a lullaby
    Slurred voice over children cries
    On the inside"
    -again, this is purely description as I see it, presumably there are children inside and the person at the window is putting them to sleep with a lullaby. lullabies are usually soft and slurred, and not intense as they are a means of inducing sleep

    "*Haunting loneliness in the eye
    *Skin covering a secret scar
    His hand is waving a goodbye
    *There's no response or action returned"
    -i think the "skin covering..." line is meant to be taken metaphorically, as the "scar" is not physical but mental, it is under the skin, not discernible by looking at the person physically, but from the previous line, "haunting loneliness" in their eyes, which the narrator sees in the person

    "There is deep prejudice in me
    Outshines all reason inside
    Given dreams all ridden with pain
    And projected unto the last "
    -i think this part ties the song together and induces the meaning i see in the song. now notice the lines that are unmarked with asterisks above, they seem to be just descriptions of the physical world and the person looking through the window, but the narrator laments that "there is deep prejudice" in him, which makes it hard for him to take what he sees at face value, or at least reconcile with the fact that he doesn't know much about other people (let alone a singular face looking from a window).

    now i think the "given dreams all ridden with pain" talks not about the person at the window, but about the narrator, in which the narrator is actually the one with the secret scars under his skin. this, i believe is further reinforced by the last line, "and projected unto the last". this is simply him (the narrator) projecting his inner thoughts and feelings unto the person at the window, looking at him. it is the narrator that "might be waiting for someone/ in need of talking" and it is again the narrator who doesn't wave back, possibly held back by his emotions.

    at the end stanza, he realizes that it is not the person at the windowpane, but his projecting of his inner thoughts that he is aware of, and this is why his predjudice outshines his reason, he cannot experience the outer world objectively, but only from his inner windowpane, from which his inner feelings reflect back at him.
    stationarytravelleron August 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think it was ABOUT her. Dedicated to her, sure. But I'm pretty damn sure the song is about child abuse (physical and maybe sexual), and when I've played the song to friends, they've come to the same conclusion on their own.

    The first verse and the bridge seem to be describing a child, looking out the window, waiting for somebody (his father?) to come home. And when the father does come home, drunk, he assaults his child or children ("slurred voice over children's cries"), scarring them emotionally for life.

    "Haunting loneliness in the eye, skin covering a secret scar". This verse seems to be describing the father leaving in the morning for work or whatever, waving to his child, who doesn't return the wave, but just stares blankly out of the window. The final verse seems to be saying that the boy is Mikael and that his father mistreated him, which would be in line with "To Rid The Disease", which also seems to be about a father mistreating him. He seems to be saying that he still has bad dreams about his father's acts, and will for the rest of his life.
    6th_sadistic_sniperon May 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe line "Inside plays a lullaby" to me personally paints a wholesome picture of loving parents. I dont think its about child abuse.

    When I listen to this song, I always imagine a guy walking through a town in winter with snow everywhere, and he is cold and hungry, looking for shelter. He sees this house with a person looking out the window and he is trying to figure out what the person in the window is thinking. "Might be waiting for someone...."

    The rest of the song doesn't really fit with my theory...
    But yeah... thats what this song makes me feel :)
    mojo_jojoon August 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was reading a interview with Mikael, and he said that this album was dedicated to his grandmother(Who died in a car crash). So its probably about him being depressed about ti and sometimes seeing her ghost
    Forest of Octoberon April 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow I didn't know that. And I thought I knew everything about Opeth, lol.
    simiankolyaon April 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe did dedicate this album to his grandmother...but, she died during the recording. Not before. He dedicated it to her, after the fact. He supposidely stated that, after her death, what he had already written...brought to him a deeper meaning. Or...you get the idea.
    Solomnoson April 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWait, I know think that "To Rid The Disease" is (as somebody else suggested) about somebody on their deathbed. But this song still seems to be about some childhood trauma that has made the narrator grow up to be a bitter and scarred person.
    6th_sadistic_sniperon September 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis album is a THEME (as opposed to "concept") album about death, told through each song in various instances and situations. "Windowpane" is about a ghost who watches over his family and friends, but knows that they can't see him ("His hand is waving a goodbye/ There's no response or action returned"). "To Rid the Disease" is a debate as to whether or not someone should be released from life (perhaps in a hospital, while in critical). And "Weakness" is a haunting closer of someone who is dead...and gone forever...and there is nothing left, and nobody to talk to. Stuck in eternity.

    Just keep in mind that this is probably the grimmest death album. Grim, but beautiful...like all of Opeth's art.
    theothernesson October 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the best songs by Opeth! In fact the whole album rocks!
    a_fake_plastic_treeon April 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeautiful song. opeth rock. i haven't heard much of them but from what i have heard, theyre amazing. completely one with thier instruments. i think i like them as much as i like tool
    orphaned_shadowon December 15, 2006   Link

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