"Seven Swans" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
We didn't sleep too late.
There was a fire in the yard.
All of the tress were in light.
They had no faces to show.
I saw a sign in the sky:
Seven swans, seven swans, seven swans.
I heard a voice in my mind:
"I will try, I will try, I will try.
I will try, I will try, I will try."

We saw the dragon move down.
My father burned into coal.
My mother saw it from far.
She took her purse to the bed.
I saw a sign in the sky:
Seven horns, seven horns, seven horns.
I heard a voice in my mind:
"I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord."
He said: "I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord."
He said: "I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord."

He will take you. If you run,
He will chase you.
He will take you. If you run,
He will chase you.
Cause he is the Lord.


Lyrics submitted by EvilPopkin

"Seven Swans" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © NEW JERUSALEM MUSIC

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Seven Swans song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI found this in an interview, and I thought it would be helpful to the discussion of this song:

    UNCUT: Your god seems very vengeful in your songs.
    STEVENS: [Laughs] Oh no. There's no element of revenge in the character of God, but there's definitely an aggressive joy. He's not chasing you like a stalker, he's chasing you like a lover chases you. There's a lot of aggression in that kind of romance. We pursue things out of reverence, out of our need to worship.
    Southboundon December 11, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWhat a mysterious life it seems sufjan has. We sit here trying to piece it together from only what he sings about and the little backround he gives when not zoneing out on stage. I wonder if it really does him justice?

    I hope that mabye somewhere in his lifetime (and mine) he writes a book or something.

    (he did zone out at the show I saw him at on sept. 25 in Milwaukee. He got done with a song and as the backing group changed a few things around he just sat on the piano bench sorta staring at his music stand. Then after a minute or so he turns back to the crowd and says, "Oh! right! I sorta forgot I was here, singing and stuff (trails off)" Then he simply counted off the next song and continued playing. It was hilarious and beautiful in a strange surreal way.)
    zachharrismenton October 03, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAs someone said earlier...

    UNCUT: Your god seems very vengeful in your songs.
    STEVENS: [Laughs] Oh no. There's no element of revenge in the character of God, but there's definitely an aggressive joy. He's not chasing you like a stalker, he's chasing you like a lover chases you. There's a lot of aggression in that kind of romance. We pursue things out of reverence, out of our need to worship.

    I would have to agree. The chord progression during this particular set of lines is found in many major works (such as Durefle's Requiem) symbolizing the descention of God or the Holy Spirit. He starts out in a minor chord, (when singing Lo---rd), then the second note in the piano part causes a dissonance with the vocals (that are holding a constant note) which leads to a final resolution in a major chord. The song also ends in a final major chord, thus possibly symbolizing a joyous unity. This type of musical symbolism is seen through out music history.

    Not only are Sufjan's words powerful and symbolic, but so are the notes behind them.
    sarahcharison April 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHas anyone ever read that kid's book The Runaway Bunny? If you have, you know what I'm talking about. God chases us because he loves us.
    Miss Miseryon March 01, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWell, I do know that most people who do consider themselves "Christian singers" consider it their ticket to Hell if they don't mention some form of God in their songs at least three times. I'm exaggerating, but I don't think of Sufjan as a Christian singer either. I think of him as a Christian that is a singer. Being a Christian affects everything you do, and I see that in his work.
    Southboundon April 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow. These are all great comments, thanks.

    I'm sure this has no direct meaning to the song, but the work of poet W.B.Yeats had a lot of swan symbolism. One inparticular - The Wild Swans at Coole - mentioned "nine and fifty swans". The poignant part here is that swans mate for life, so the fact that Yeats was seeing an odd number of swans was actually a reflection on his own underlying fear of being alone as he ages and the yearning for his one love. Whenever I hear this song - my favourite on this album - I wonder whether Sufjan has read Yeats' work or whether he is aware of the "significance" of also seeing an odd number of swans....
    viola has wingson March 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti dont think that we have to worry so much about what sufjan meant by everything that he wrote. when it comes to art, it's so much more about what you take out of it. if he's episcopalian, or catholic, or christian, or islamic, it doesnt matter. the song is still haunting and beautiful, and can mean a number of things to different people through their own experiences. that's music. and art. just love it.
    finallyCLARITYon February 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is referencing to the Book of Revelations, but told as a strange personal account. The "seven swans" are probably the seven angels. The "seven horns" are referencing the seven trumpets of the angels. The "dragon" is referencing Satan.
    Reddiffson August 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhat a hauntingly beautiful and passionate track from sufjan. The way he belts out "he is the lord" is just amazing! What other explanation is there for the Lord chasing you when you run? I can't think of any. It's just so beautifully simple!
    Songdeciphereron April 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMight be making reference to Revelations Chapter 12: An account of the rapture.

    Verse 3: "And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems."
    It continues.

    A dragon in literature can also be translated as an unfightable force- The oppressive, crushing, certain death to any in its presence.

    The purse to the bed bit? I have no stinkin' clue.
    Illonthehillon March 27, 2012   Link

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