"Bird Stealing Bread" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Tell me, baby, tell me
Are you still on the stoop
Watching the windows close?
I've not seen you lately
On the street by the beach
Or places we used to go

I've a picture of you
On our favorite day
By the seaside
There's a bird stealing bread
That I brought
Out from under my nose

Tell me, baby, tell me
Does his company make
Light of a rainy day?
How I've missed you lately
And the way we would speak
And all that we wouldn't say

Do his hands in your hair
Feel a lot like a thing
You believe in
Or a bit like a bird
Stealing bread out from under your nose?

Tell me, baby, tell me
Do you carry the words
Around like a key or change?
I've been thinking lately
Of a night on the stoop
And all that we wouldn't say

If I see you again
On the street by the beach
In the evening
Will you fly like a bird
Stealing bread out from under my nose?


Lyrics submitted by slickboot

"Bird Stealing Bread" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Bird Stealing Bread song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentActually, this song meant something entirely different to me than what you guys have gotten from it.

    For me, this is a brother speaking to his baby sister. It's sort of a sad sound, but to me there's not so much longing in it... Or at least, not longing for the girl he's speaking to. More a longing for the way things used to be. He used to be the one to take care of her, the one to talk to her late into the night on the front stoop, the one who had such a close bond with her that they didn't even need to speak for each to understand how the other was feeling. Now, she's fallen in love.

    The thing that really says brother to me is that he doesn't ask for her back, he doesn't speak about how she would be better off with him, and he doesn't seem in any way bitter about "losing" this girl. He just wants to ask her some questions.

    "Does his company make light of a rainy day?
    Do his hands in your hair feel a lot like a thing you believe in, or a bit like a bird stealing bread out from under your nose?"

    He wants to know if this man makes his sister happy. That is what's important to him.

    "Do you carry the words around like a key or change?"

    To me, this is asking if his sister truly loves this man. "The words" to me means, "I love you." Think about the two items he asks about. How do you carry a key? Carefully, attentively. To lose a key means to be shut out from something that is important enough to you to lock it, and you do not give a key to just anyone. How do you carry change? Carelessly, absently. Change is thrown around, and you might give it to a random stranger by the roadside.

    And to be honest, I'm not sure I understand the very last verse... but I know that it makes me personally imagine a small girl running to meet her brother with her arms out like a bird.

    On another note, this song makes me cry almost every time I hear it, not only because it makes me think of my brother, but because it took me a very long time to understand what he meant by "a bird stealing bread out from under your nose." In fact, it took until the first time I was kissed. It was really strange... it was the oddest, saddest feeling... sad, but not sad. In that moment, I understood exactly what was meant by the question, "Do his hands in your hair feel a lot like a thing you believe in, or a bit like a bird stealing bread out from under your nose?" Because it definitely felt like the latter. I almost felt as if something very small, but something I had come to take comfort in had been stolen from me, but having it stolen wasn't even an entirely unwelcome sensation. I'm not even sure how to explain it... it's more just something I understand on an emotional level, not so much an intellectual one, I think.
    amyclaeon November 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Do you carry the words around like a key or change?"

    the words he is refering to is "i love you" and its variants. he is asking her if she just blurts it out to the new lover, not thinking of how important and meaningful such a saying really is.
    wei1on October 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlove. this. song.
    lydjiaon July 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the bird stealing bread has multiple implications in the song. I think the protagonist of the song is primarily upset since he let his lover go "out from under his nose." So his old lover is the first bird stealing bread. He probably ignored her and so she found some new bread, aka, another lover who will give her more attention, which is probably what was lacking in the former relationship, but in this new latter one, her new lover probably doesn't love her the way the former could. Now he's mad at himself for letting her go, and now, she's not getting the true love she deserves from this new lover, because he doesn't really love her for what she is. So now her new lover is the other bird stealing bread "right from under her nose."

    Sorry that was so long winded.
    amelia815on May 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI felt like "bird stealing bread" meant coming and getting what you want and leaving before any responsibility needs to be taken.
    Squid2190on May 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentobviously some of iron's most impressive lyrics
    BensonRosson October 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed.
    ScribnerVillageon March 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's Iron & Wine...
    Wilsongon March 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song makes my ears want to melt, it's so beautiful... if I had to pick favorites... which I don't generally, this would definitely be my front runner for iron & wine.
    dangrouslychzyon April 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me its about some guy stealing his woman and now hes reminiscing about her, stupid bird stealing his bread
    zhanger2k2on May 30, 2005   Link

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