When I receive the blessing I've got coming
I'm going to raise an ice-cold glass of water
And toast the living and the dead who've gone before me
And my head will throb like an old wound reopening

When I get off the bus down there my children
They all are going to greet me at the station
Like gypsies they will dance around me
And the choral droning sound their voices make will saturate the evening

When I get off the wheel I'm going to stop
And make amends to everyone I've wounded
And when I wave my magic wand
Those few who've slipped the surly bonds will rise like salmon at the spawning


Lyrics submitted by I'm a Pirate

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  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about being in a twelve step program such as AA and becoming "happy joyous and free"

    "the blessing I've got coming" is the promises of being happy when youre sober.

    "I'm going to raise an ice-cold glass of water" is drinking water instead of alcohol/drugs.

    "And make amends to everyone I've wounded" is one of the steps.

    "Those few who've slipped the surly bonds will rise like salmon at the spawning" could be a reference to death, since there seems to be a lot of references to dead people in this song, or it could be talking about the living death of addiction, and the people who slipped the surly bonds are people who recovered.
    xcatson March 17, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentY'know, while I agree that the song is about the idea of "sobering up", or "making good" with all the people you've hurt by damaging your own life so /badly/...

    ...I think there's a tone of irony to the entire song. I don't think the song's sentiment is so simple as "this is what I'm going to do". It's more like "this is what I *would* do... if only I knew how".

    I'd back my claim up with the surreal images John has written into the song. Gypsy children dancing wildly, bodies rising like salmon... it's utterly vivid, but you've gotta admit it's like a dream sequence.

    The other line I'd point to is "when I wave my magic wand".
    When you're stuck so deep in personal issues that seem nearly impossible to resolve (and drug addictions would definitely fit this category)... there's a sense of helplessness. Of wanting everything to "just go away, magically". Hence the mention of a magic wand.

    For these reasons, I find the song hugely powerful. Because the narrator is hoping against hope that he'll get out of this spot... and is so fiercely desperate. Ironically, the song always puts me in a determined, uplifted mood. Catharthis, maybe?
    Beruthielon July 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor everyone who's ever been in a bad place for a longer period of time, thoughts like these are wonderful fantasies and lies that you tell yourself to keep sane. Sobering up (hence the "glass of water"), making amends, getting your life back on track. And in the context of the album, it seems obvious that these dreams are pretty hopeless and far fetched... it's sad.
    mmikkelon January 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Slipped the surly bonds" is from a poem called "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. - it's a reference to death.

    "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;"

    President Reagan later used the line in his speech following the Challenger disaster.
    cheerupemokidon October 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is darkly humorous. It sounds like a person out of their minds on drink or drugs (or both) deciding to give up drink/drugs and declaring how their life will at long last be problem free from then on. You get the feeling that they're deluding themselves and that their substance abuse is as much a symptom as a cause of the problems in their life. If they do sober up the reality will set in and they'll want to get loaded again so that they can escape back to the reasuring delusion that they're one move away from being happy ever after. Like others have said, the song is ironic. It is a heavily drug induced mind's idea of what it might be like being sober. Their Children dancing around them like gypsies?! If they WERE just drinking water they wouldn't be talking like this.
    Androgynouson January 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about things the narrator should do, and wants to do, but keeps putting off.
    RedLeafon July 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"When I receive the blessing I've got coming" is a concise way to express the narrator's psychological state.

    However, I have no idea what "Those few who've slipped the surly bonds" means.
    freejoe76on September 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about him becoming sober, and no longer on Meth. I think it's pretty obvious when you keep that in mind and read the lyrics.

    Xcats summarizes it pretty well.

    He's also going to apologize and such for those who went through that with him, emotionally, and physically. And apologize to those he hurt.

    I think too, that he wants to be able to bring those that have been lost (through addiction) back to life, because he's finally sober and "free"
    skateboarder873on April 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy take on the song was the singer was returning home from a period behind bars, to his crew of fellow tweakers hangers on...The opening line, "when I receive the blessing I've got coming," struck me as sardonic.....The song as a whole seems emotionally complex...Because beneath the sardonic crust is real hope, desperate hope.....
    jayson_altmannon October 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti should preface this by saying that im somebody who loves the mountain goats to death but knows close to nothing about the bible.

    that being said this song struck me as being about jesus. i know john's biblical references tend to be a bit deeper, but i feel there are numerous references here. "I will raise an ice cold glass of water", being that jesus turned water into wine this seems like a reference to a toast.

    "my children all are going to greet me at the station... like gypsies they will sing and dance around me"-- jesus' resurrection and the peoples' response.

    "when i wave my magic wand" the way people few the song of god as an omnipotent being

    I'm not arguing that i'm necessarily right as many of your arguments seem more accurate than mine, but i was curious if anyone interpreted this as i did...
    Welaughedatdangeron October 22, 2011   Link

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