"Sins of My Father" as written by and Kathleen Brennan Tom Waits....
God said don't give me your
Tin horn prayers
Don't buy roses off the street down there
Took it all and took the dirt road home
Dreaming of Jenny with the light brown hair
Night is falling like a bloody axe
Lies and rumors and the wind at my back
Hand on the wheel gravel on the road
Will the pawn shop sell me back what I sold

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

Birds cry warning from a hidden branch
Carving out a future with a gun and an axe
I'm way beyond the gavel and the laws of man
Still living in the palm of the grace of your hand
The worlds not easy the blind man said
Turns on nothing but money and dread
Dogs been scratching at the door all nite
Long neck birds flying out of the moon light

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

Smack dab in the middle of a dirty lie
The star spangled glitter of his one good eye
Everybody knows that the game was rigged
Justice wears suspenders and a powdered wig
Dark town alleys been hiding you
Long bell tolling is your waterloo
Oh baby what can you do
Does the light of god blind you
Or lead the way home for you?

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

God all mighty for righteousness sake
Humiliation of our fallen state
Written in the book of tubold Cain
A long black over coat will show no stain
Feel the heat and the burn on your back
The rip and the moan and the stretch of the rack
All my belongings in a flour sack
Will the place I come from
Take me back

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

They'll hang me in the morning on a scaffold yea big
To dance upon nothing to the tyborn jig
Treats you like a puppet when your under its spell
Oh the heart is heaven
But the mind is hell
Jesus of Nazareth told Mike of the weeds
I's born at this time for a reason you see
When I'm dead I"ll be dead a long time
But the wines so pleasing and so sublime

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

Kissed my sweetheart by the chinaball tree
Everything I done is between God and me
Only he will judge how my time was spent
29 days of sinning and 40 to repent
the horse is steady but the horse is blind
wicked are the branches on the tree of mankind
the roots grow upwared and the branches grow down
its much too late to throw the dice again I've found

I'm gonna take the sins of my father
I'm gonna take the sins of my mother
I"m gonna take the sins of my brother
Down to the pond

I'm gonna wash them
I'm gonna wash them
I'm gonna wash the sins of my Father
I'm gonna wash the sins of my Mother
I'm gonna wash the sins of my Brother
Till the water runs clear
Till the water runs clear


Lyrics submitted by deliriumtrigger, edited by Mellow_Harsher

Sins of My Father song meanings
Add your thoughts

10 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    Song MeaningI agree tempguy, Waits can paint vivid pictures in the mind with just a handful of words.

    In this song, the way this story is told is so haunting that it sends chills through the body.

    When asked about the song in an interview, Waits said "The sins of the father will be visited upon the son. Everybody knows that."

    This song is not only about the sins of a father being passed to the son, but the sins of humankind being passed to a generation.

    One man's murder and judgement is illustrated in the song, "Night is falling like a bloody axe," "Carving out a future with a gun and an axe," "A long black over coat will show no stain," "I'm way beyond the gavel and the laws of man","They'll hang me in the morning on a scaffold yea big,"
    "To dance upon nothing to the tyborn jig." The tyborn jig is the dance done at the end of a hangman's noose, coined in Tyborn, England where legendary scaffolds executed scores of people to the entertainment of the masses throughout the centuries.

    Humankind's treachery and lack of justice is illustrated when he sings "The worlds not easy the blind man said,
    Turns on nothing but money and dread" and "Everybody knows that the game was rigged,
    Justice wears suspenders and a powdered wig." One could be looking into a mirror when he states this line, "wicked are the branches on the tree of mankind."

    What is a generation to do with the bloodstained rags left over by a history of evil?

    "I'm gonna wash the sins of my Father
    I'm gonna wash the sins of my Mother
    I'm gonna wash the sins of my Brother
    Till the water runs clear"

    bluesbegger123on May 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song is called "Sins of my Father." i love this song. it's 10 min. long, but it's so natrual. not sure what the meaning of it is though.
    sexy-man-beaston December 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhy isn't anyone commenting this song?
    sexy-man-beaston December 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Hand on the wheel/gravel on the road/
    Will the pawn shop sell me back what I sold?"
    ... Amazing.
    Once the grove gets you these 10 minutes could be 10 seconds or 10 hours.
    It's basically poetry set to music, you could just publish the lyrics and I would still be a work of genius.
    How anyone can write this much, this perfect, is beyond my understanding.
    tempguyon May 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSee above^ :)
    bugoffon August 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo, the CD book calls it "Sins Of The Father" in numerous spots, so the song was inputted correctly here.

    Beautiful song, so many great lines...
    smallwonderroboton December 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdont know why my comment got deleted. but its tubalcain.....

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    its in the Word.
    JAKEZEIGLERon October 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationi always thought that the song was about abel. his parents committed the original sin and his brother cain was the first murderer; yet he ended up dead as a burden of their sins.
    also waits makes heaps of references to cain and abel in his songs, its like a recurring symbol!
    mr093242on May 26, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhen your listening to good music, it doesnt matter how long the song is?
    jerry0nlymisfitson February 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    laurens277on June 09, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain