Tonight we're the sea and the salty breeze
The milk from your breast is on my lips
And lovelier words from your mouth to me
When salty my sweat and fingertips

Our hands they seek the end of afternoons
My hands believe and move over you

Tonight, we're the sea and the rhythm there
The waves and the wind and night is black
Tonight we're the scent of your long black hair
Spread out like your breath across my back

Your hands they move like waves over me
Beneath the moon, tonight, we're the sea

Lyrics submitted by alreadyiamlonely

The Sea and the Rhythm song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentI want to have sex on the shoreline while this song plays. Plays from some hidden speakers. Hidden surround sound I mean. Not cheap speakers though, more like Bose. That would be tight.
    sofreshon June 30, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI say making love. I'm a mother of two. I know that mother and child bond. And I know that the milk from your breast line is SEXUAL. I just know it. lol Of course everyone can take it how they chose... but I remember sex before and after pregnancy, and how deep and affectionate it was... and the milk from your breast... its just how close he is to her, that she has had HIS children. A flesh and blood tie. A husband and wife together, or simply permanent love in general. A lot of his songs are that way. (Love and Some Verses, Naked As We Came, etc.) I can only hope that my relationship runs as deep as his with her. This song is passion. Deep, needy, vulnerable passion. Never heard another love song that compares. Never will.
    Flo3340on September 06, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis is the most beautiful song i have ever heard in my life and i do believe it is about sex. a beautiful description
    Arienetteon June 24, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI personally think this song IS about making love to his wife, the mother of his children. I don't think the line "the milk from your breast is on my lips" has anything to do with his mother breastfeeding him. I think he is singing about her breasts leaking while they are making love. It's far too romantic and intimate to be about his mother.
    misslaroseon August 31, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAllegorically (sp?), the sea is endless, boundless, deep and mysterious. Its ends have not been discovered and its depths have not been explored. This is the love these two people are experiencing. It knows no bounds, it is thrilling and magical and boundless. The rhythm of the sea is undulating and in perfect syncopation. When you are in love,, that is how it feels to be making love- perfectly and instinctually choreographed.
    sondradon July 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about Sam's love of women. The feminine ideal. Its more than just his lover or his mother. There is a lot of symbolism about love making and post-coital cuddling. Also there is a reference to milk on his lips---clearly his mother. The imagery about the waves and the moon are about femininity in general. The women he loves, not just one.
    doondawgon April 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirst off.....BEAUTIFUL SONG!!!! But then again, what has Sam done that isn't? Anyways... My take on this was originally that is about his mother rocking him as a baby. I don't claim to "know" that this is right, but i will definately try and support my claim:
    ---milk from your breast is on my lips-------
    not many ppl. seemed to want to go into this when they said this was solely about sex. I'm asking you to look at it for what it is. Poets don't write things for no reason. i personally have trouble equating drinking breast milk with sex. I mean, its sensual, but not in an erotic or sexual way. It's about the close bond between a mother and child. Hence, this line (in my opinion) specifically refers to what has been going on before these thoughts occur. (milk is on lips)
    ---Lovely your/lovelier(not sure) words from your mouth to me------------
    Infants hear words without recognition of what they mean. I think babies can sense moods from how someone is speaking. I feel that the mother is singing to the child because of this line. The baby hears the words and recognizes they are lovely, even without knowing their meaing.
    ---my hands...move over you---------
    Reminds me of how a baby clutches to its mother when being breast fed.
    ---we're the sea and the rhythm there----------
    Just as waves in an ocean have a rhythm as the tide moves in and out, I feel that the baby is being rocked in a rocking chair back and forth.
    ---waves and wind and night is black----------
    Eyes closed (all of these things are black, and therefore in his imagination), the infant imagines simplistic things like the ocean.
    ---Scent of long black hair, spread out like your breath across my back-------------
    The infant's senses are strong because his mind is still developing. So he smells his mothers hair, which is laying over his back like her breath, which is on his back as well. She is holding him and rocking him to sleep, so they are close. He is small enough to be held, so hair & breath can spread out easily across his tiny back.
    ---Your hands move like waves over me--------
    His mother is rubbing his back, perhaps burping him as he has just been fed, according to my theory of the song. Simplistic thought of an ocean (like waves...) as he dreams and drifts to slip/burps?
    ---Tonight, we're the sea------------
    Yes, i know. When people have sex, they roll around in bed and they are connected. I think this is very intentionally meant to sound borderline sexual because of the EXTREMELY close bond between a mother and child. Ginsburg wrote about his mother in a similar manner, but he was more extreme. I think if we look at it from the narrators perspective, though(an infant) we would not see this as sexual because Infants have no knowledge of sex. They just feel things. This song is mostly about feeling things. It really makes me long to go back to the time of innocence when things were so simple. We obviously can't remember those times very well becuase our minds were still growing. We cannot go back to our infancy because, besides the obvious physical impossibilities, we have no real recollection of such a time. I feel that this song is an attempt to do just that. To seek the end of afternoon and see things through innocent eyes again.
    kev404on October 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think of it as a full circle thing. I think it's mostly about being in love and intimate with a wife/lover, but I feel like it alludes to the three most important relationships any man ever has - his own mother, his wife, and then their child. All (in a perfect world) unconditional, beautiful relationships and it's come 'round full circle. He's in love with the mother of his child(ren). It's gorgeous.
    rixie77on March 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningQuote from Sam Beam: "That song was about fucking"

    He said this right after he finished playing it at the Electric Factory in Philly. 2011

    I believe him. It's his song.
    bobbnesson February 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is from the point of view of a baby to its mother. Another hint is:

    "spread out like your breath across my back"

    So, if this is a straight-forward love song, is she the big spoon, something quite uncommon in most male/female relationships? However, a baby on mother's lap or baby and mother lying down together the mother will breathe directly on the baby's back.

    If this is a straight-forward love song, is she using a strap-on on the guy singing?

    Are they contortionists?

    I can't really imagine how a woman's "long black hair" or breath would "spread out across my back" whilst making love, but maybe I'm just old-fashioned.

    It's very simple, folks. It's a love song from baby to mommy.
    malloy73on December 19, 2013   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