"Of Angels and Angles" as written by and Colin Meloy....
There are angels in your angles
There's a low moon caught in your tangles
There's a ticking at the sill
There's a purr of a pigeon to break the still of day

As on we go drowning
Down we go away
And darling, we go a-drowning
Down we go away
Away

There's a tough word on your crossword
There's a bed bug nipping a finger
There's a swallow, there's a calm
Here's a hand to lay on your open palm today

As on we go drowning
Down we go away
And darling, we go a-drowning
Down we go away
Away

There are angels in your angles
There's a low moon caught in your tangles


Lyrics submitted by sethbrown

"Of Angels and Angles" as written by Colin Meloy

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Of Angels and Angles song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentPeople who take things too literally will say this is about a double suicide (a couple, drowning themselves together) -- well, it sort of is, if you consider life a double suicide.

    I think the metaphor is that we're all drowning, every day. Life is drowning. Life is a gradual death. We all have "tough words on our crosswords", "bed bugs nipping a finger" -- the bad parts of life -- but we don't have to do it alone; we can go on drowning -- living -- together. The swallow and the calm is the fear, the anxiety, and maybe even lonliness before the "hand to lay on your open palm" presents itself.

    "There are angels in your angles / There's a low moon caught in your tangles" is difficult -- I think it means that there is beauty in your figure, and there's beauty in the simple things, like moonlight. That's stretching it a bit, but it's my "non-suicide" interpretation.

    That's how I like to think of it anyway. I don't think Melloy would have ended an album on such a lowly and pessimistic view on life; and considering the uplifting beauty of the guitar, and the true lengthiness given to the "drowning" (so it's probably not literal drowning, is it?) I think it's more optimistic about life than suicidal. Yeah, we're all drowning, all life is drowning in the end, but take my hand, we both go down together (see track 2 ;-)
    triswebon March 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a great end to the new album. Quiet, a little slow...
    Biscuitson March 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHmm I actually think that the song is completely literal. I appreciate your view, but see what you make of this:

    I guess it is sort of like a sweet serenity of dying, two lovers drowning. Now I know its a bit unimaginative, but look at

    There's a tough word on your crossword
    There's a bed bug nipping a finger
    There's a swallow, there's a calm
    Here's a hand to lay on your open palm today

    Tough word on your crossword, bed bug nipping a finger.. think of a middle aged or elderly couple laying in bed late at night, with a lamp on. The wife is doing a crossword, and whenever she gets stuck she calls ehr husband. The husband might notice a bug on his wife, and shoo it away. These are everyday happenings, and so I believe the message is that they are drowning but everything is normal, everything is as it always was, sweet serenity.

    The swallow and calm bit is to show that they are both nervous but are happy doing this, as they believe it shall unite them forever. And of course the open palm, well thats just a sign of love and strength.


    I think the Angels and Angles part has to do what was previously mentioned, except I'd like to add a bit more. The use of the word 'angel' represents beauty, from a non-lusty point of view. Their bodies are just beautiful to each other, subtle yet beautiful. And the low moon I guess is to represent "peace" again.

    Watcha think?
    crimmson777on February 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAccording to tradition, in the 6th century Pope Gregory I is supposed to have seen some beautiful blond-haired and blue-eyed children in a Roman slave market. He asked after their background and was told they were Angles (one of the northern germanic tribes who gave their names to England), his reply to this was "Non Angli, sed angeli" - "Not Angles but angels."
    Breakfaston May 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think you guys are all wrong. (Sorry.)

    This song is about the narrator sitting with someone who is dying of some slow, whithering disease like cancer or AIDS.

    The "angles" are the angles of the dying person's face due to weightloss caused by the disease. The angles and the pallor makes the person look like angelic.

    There's also the nod to the angel of death.

    The "low moon" could mean any of several things. It could be the pale bald head showing through the hair of a chemo patient. It could be the figurative setting of the moon as the very end of a day (night) and the darkness that comes afterward. Either way, the low moon is clearly meant as a metaphor because the two lines later, it's clearly still daytime.

    All the other elements in the verses (purr of pigeon, ticking, crossword, bedbug, swallow and calm) all describe the waiting in silence by the bedside of the dying person, made an invalid by the disease at its late stages. They also bring out the quiet anxiety of sitting and waiting for death.

    The "hand to lay on the open palm" describes the tenderness of the narrator as he/she waits and comforts the dying person. The use of "darling" also denotes that tenderness.

    Drowning describes the feeling of of withering away: of the dying person, of their relationship, of the narrators life as he/she waits. Drowning also describes the heaviness of the mood as everything seems to pull downward.
    issaflyon September 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuicide? No, silly--it's a love song. This is how I interpret it:

    There are angels in your angles
    There's a low moon caught in your tangles
    ((He's putting her on a pedastal right from the start, telling her that even her tiny details are perfect and worthy of higher recognition.))
    There's a ticking at the sill
    ((Their alarm clock?))
    There's a purr of a pigeon to break the still of day
    ((Sweet serenity--pigeons are such a great mascot for this song.))
    As on we go drowning, down we go away
    And darling, we go a-drowning, down we go away. Away...
    ((I don't know about you folks, but when I really love something I want to drown myself in it. If it's a song, I'll put it loop and play it over and over--if it's a person, it's more about drowning myself in things that remind me of him or sinking into his arms; so to me, drowning refers to a nearly obsessive surrender. "Take me, ocean--I'm yours! You're taking my breath away."))

    There's a tough word
    On your crossword
    ((This could be refering to the whole, "sunday morning, going slow and reading the paper" thing... or it could just mean that she's tounge-tied.))
    There's a bed-bug nipping a finger
    ((Again, refering to their bed-time. Oo la la. This sort of reminds me of something I'd do if I was watching a loved one sleep--tuck them in, brush back their hair, and keep the bed-bugs from biting.))
    There's a swallow
    There's a calm
    Here's a hand to lay on your open palm today
    ((Back to the pigeon thing--sweet serenity. Maybe they took a walk in the park holding hands.))
    As on we go drowning, down we go away
    And darling, we go a-drowing, down we go away. Away...
    ((He's surrendering to love.))
    There are angels in your angles
    There's a low moon caught in your tangles...
    ((He finishes with a beautiful image. They say that when you re-state something again and again in writing, it helps to convey to the reader that the author is off of his rocker--this is used a lot in romance novels, per the whole, "I can't stop thinking about him/her" thing. Also, by leaving us off where he started, it gives me a looping feeling--that this song could go on forever if left to its own devices. Love could be like that, couldn't it?))

    All in all, I take this song to be about the simple-though-awe-inspiring day-to-day beauty that comes naturally from being head-over-heels in love with someone. Even during a lull in the day when virtually nothing is happenening, he's still estatic to be there. Isn't simplicity beautiful?
    peacencarrots225on February 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't see suicide in this song at all. Perhaps the gradual passing of the petty details that make up a day, a year, a life. The drowning part, going down together could mean the loss of one's self in a relationship. "There's a hand to lay on your open palm today" evokes the vulnerability we all possess especially when we surrender our hearts to another. (Or we simply need each other) Anyways a beautiful song to end Picareasque on.
    crazyeyeskillaon April 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgood song.
    nonnycrieson April 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with trisweb.
    i think the lines

    There's a tough word on your crossword
    There's a bed bug nipping a finger
    There's a swallow, there's a calm
    Here's a hand to lay on your open palm today

    are meant to show how the couple just go about everyday life together. all of the little frustrations and annoyances of life are ok because they have each other to grow old with


    There are angels in your angles
    There's a low moon caught in your tangles
    There's a ticking at the sill
    There's a purr of a pigeon to break the still of day

    this is just a simple compliment for the girl he loves. in all the boredom and tediousness of life, theres something exciting, almost supernatural to him, about her
    universal remonsteron May 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't begun my own interpretation of this song yet but I like the idea trisweb started but I think universal remonster really hit the mark with the idea that the theme is dominantly romantic.
    Being together, and such a compliment.
    Reminds me of the poetry I've been reading for my Lit class, where most everyone compares their love to goddesses and such. It's very classic and I think that a wonderful way to look at this song.
    azmoongirlon September 23, 2005   Link

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