That means no
where I come from
I am cold, out waiting for the day to come

I chew my lips, and I scratch my nose
feels so good to be a rose

Oh don't, don't you lift me up
like I'm that shy, no no no no no,
just give it up
There are bats all dissolving in a row
into the wishy-washy dark that cannot let go
and I cannot let go
so I thank the lord
and I thank his sword
though it be mincing up the morning, slightly bored

O, morning without warning like a hole
and I watch you go
There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road
There are some dragons who were built to have and hold
And some machines are dropped from great heights lovingly
and some great bellies ache with many bumblebees
(and they sting so terribly)

I do as I please
Now I'm on my knees
Your skin is something that I stir into my tea
And I am watching you
and you are starry, starry, starry
and I'm tumbling down, and I check a frown
Well, just look around
It's why I love this town
just see me serenaded hourly! celebrated sourly!
dedicated dourly; waltzing with the open sea
Clam, crab, cockle, cowrie
will you just look at me?


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentTo me, it is more like …

    She loves him, but he says no to her. He says he still loves her or that he still wants to be with her as a friend, but she can’t accept that. She watches him go, and sometimes she can accept it and sometimes she can’t. She tried to do as she pleases and go on, but she can’t and now she’s on her knees. He is such a part of her, something that she thinks about all the time. He is everything she wants he’s “starry”, and she just keeps falling away. She can’t get over him even though she wants to. And she asks something that she loves, the “clam, cab, cockle, cowrie” from the ocean that she loves, to look at her… she wants to know that something can love her back.
    palinon December 16, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThat means no where I come from

    (This first sentence seems to be the theme of the entire song; the realization that a relationship is ending. I'd call this part a response to the feeling of being rejected, or perhaps to being regarded without passion over time; though I think it's a snapping comeback to an uncommitted lover who speaks in maybes, "where [SHE] comes from" meaning "from a higher understanding", only sassier.)

    I am cold, out waiting for the day to come

    (she doesn't take this omen of failure lightly so she waits bitterly, she waits restlessly, perhaps even a little terrified but still unsheltered from that inevitable final page)

    I chew my lips, and I scratch my nose, feels so good to be a rose

    (She entertains her anxious self, these are the things you do when you're left to your thoughts for hours at a time [when you're as still as a flower]. The rose reference is preempting the idea of no longer being held, noting the undisputed beauty of a thing covered in thorns. She is consoling the part of herself that's going to miss the affection that comes from a treasured lover. Of course it feels good to be a rose, honey)

    Oh don't, don't you lift me up like I'm that shy, no no no no no, just give it up

    (The ball has dropped, at this point I see her crumbling and trying not to crumble at the same time. I see her refusing the sympathy hug they always try to give after you get dumped. It hurts, but nobody prefers that god-awful pity.)

    There are bats all dissolving in a row into the wishy-washy dark that cannot let go

    (Here is an image of something disappearing into the distance. Once again, the reference of bats specifically is preempting the time change from night to day [bats being nocturnal something must be up, bedtime maybe?]. The view has her hypnotized. She is deliriously unhappy to see this person leave but she can not look away.)

    and I cannot let go, so I thank the lord and I thank his sword though it be mincing up the morning, slightly bored

    (Here is where it gets a little complex... her thoughts are clearly stuck on what has happened but it's worse than sadness, she is resorting to bargaining via prayer, sarcastically perhaps because she practically blames Him before she praises Him by referencing his effortless cruelty. I relate. I hate that I relate but I relate.)

    O, morning without warning like a hole and I watch you go

    (The light of the sunrise catches her off guard. She attributes a weightless feeling to her last glimpse of his departure from her life. [You would too.] It's probably comparable to something like standing on a trap door as it opens below you, having your familiar perspectives drastically ripped away from you).

    There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road

    (This isn't a fork in a road she's already travelling. This is a brand new road laid out before her, like it or not. I call this road "The Alone Again Road". She is at the very beginning of one of these roads. The sky probably looks like other things on other occasions too.)

    There are some dragons who were built to have and hold

    (Now I imagine she is again coming to her own rescue with positive reinforcement. Maybe I'm biased because I have a stuffed animal dragon named Snarl and I love him. But I still think this is a variation of the old "fish on the sea" expression... only more unique because of the actual unlikelyhood of there being a dragon. Period. Could it just mean that there ARE people out there who want commitment?)

    And some machines are dropped from great heights lovingly

    (I think of the vague imagery of "machines" as being a metaphor for technology in general. I think dropping them from "great heights" is an act of destruction. I think she admires people who value nature, and as much as it seems out of place.. it's the adverb "lovingly" that brings us back. What I take from this line is that there are people who would sacrifice their modern trinkets for love.)

    and some great bellies ache with many bumblebees and they sting so terribly

    (In this line I hear more about the types of people who exist out there as she continues to console. People with great bellies have probably stomached a lot of terrible things but that doesn't mean they don't suffer in their own hidden ways just the same.)

    I do as I please. Now I'm on my knees. Your skin is something that I stir into my tea

    (These first two sentences hit me like a proverb: first you act selfishly, then you pay a price. I picture her sobbing as she literally collapses and begins begging, wishing she had done things differently. Her vocal argument is that this person's flesh was something she took pleasure in regularly. This person is what sweetened her life.)

    And I am watching you and you are starry, starry, starry

    (I know she keeps telling us that she can't let go [or even look away] like it's a chorus... but this time it really cuts deep. Think of being drawn to something as far away as a starry night. And how depressing it is to lose yourself in something you can never touch.)

    and I'm tumbling down, and I check a frown.

    (Aha! Here she even admits her devastation, so strong that she finishes the rest of the song from the ground. These words are all crying words but she's a trooper. She presses on.)

    Well, just look around, it's why I love this town

    (Re-read almost any part of the song so far, her very rich surroundings help to keep her in check now that she's eating dirt. Life everywhere, a very vocal sky above and an ocean beach nearby... I love this town too!)

    just see me serenaded hourly! celebrated sourly!
    dedicated dourly;

    (Maybe she's still surveying her surroundings.. a cuckoo clock might be something that serenades her hourly, something citrus paired with something alcoholic could help her be celebrated sourly... and, aww... being in love with someone who's left for good can easily leave anyone dedicated dourly.)

    waltzing with the open sea: Clam, crab, cockle, cowrie

    (Here it is, a crabby shellfish parade for which the song is named. Happy, unnoticed creatures that get along just wonderfully being small and living alone. How true.. how awesome.. how, ok it's terribly dark and sad to compare oneself to seafood in the midst of the already lowered self-esteem from recent betrayal. But the tears aren't far.)

    will you just look at me?

    (This one kills me. A prayer of desperation, of panic, and of such little gain even if answered. Can you imagine drowning [in sorrow] and all you ask for is someone to glance over? It's petty, it's meek, it's... understandable attention-mongering. However, wanting to be noticed should not be mocked. On a scale versus nothing, validation wins every time. Then again, you know what they say about giving cookies to mice.)

    Woh whoa oh oh woh oooh, ooh oh woh oooh, ooh oh woh oooh

    (Told ya the waterworks were coming. Go on girl, sing those tears out.)

    (This song rips my heart out. But let me finish by saying that I could have interpreted this song a few other ways too: "saying goodbye to someone who is dying", "re-emerging from a reclusive sabbatical", "subtle examples of discovering God in nature"... but, because of this indeterminate versatility, it suits me any day of the week. And I relate to that too.)
    MisterPuzzleson June 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is absolutely beautiful.
    I'm a bit surprised that no-one's commented?!
    Generally, i think Joanna's got this pretty and childlike quality to all her songs, everything's a bit mystical and playful,nostalgic and reminiscant.
    I don't think that there's any hugely groundbreaking topics covered here. Among the colourful language there's a sense of detachment from someone that either she knows and cares about, or someone she admires from afar.
    I do as I please.
    Now I'm on my knees.
    Your skin is something that I stir into my tea.
    And I am watching you
    and you are starry, starry, starry
    and I'm tumbling down, and I check a frown.
    perhaps this is something to do with losing control of your own feelings, the irony between doing as you please, and being on your knees,or domineered by someone.
    To be honest, after all that, i don't really care what it means, it's just LOVELY x
    drunkenbutterflyon October 04, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand some great bellies ache with many bumblebess(and they sting so terribly)

    beautiful line.

    i think this song is about wanting someone to notice you, and when they don't it hurts.
    pinkpandaloveon April 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJoanna sing about the simple things in life and awakens the child in everyone of us
    rufusworshipperon May 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love this song!!!!! when i hear it i get chills down my spine :X
    ___electricon June 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYour skin is something that I stir into my tea. Oh, I knew how that was for so long, but words never expressed it as beautifully. Thank you Joanna.
    myeh_manon August 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCan anyone explain me the sentence 'Your skin is something that I stir into my tea'?
    I think is an extremely romantic sentence, but a lot of people I know don't get it (they take it litteraly).
    So, can anyone explain? The minute I saw that line, i had to think about milk. (a milk white skin, you can stir milk into your tea, although here in Belgium, we stir it into our coffee)
    Please help.
    summermakegoodon September 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love to see so many people hear and love this song. All your ideas are great.

    My question is, she's "serenaded hourly/celebrated sourly" in her town - looked-over by strangers? praised by family/friends?
    _ellieon October 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"And you are starry, starry, starry, and I'm tumblin' down... will you just look at me?"

    Sigh! So courageous in its fragility. There's nothing like a unrequited love song that digs just too deep into you.
    auxocromeon December 05, 2006   Link

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