"Hickory" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
He kissed her once as she leaned on the windowsill
She'll never love him but knows that her father will
Her fallen fruit is all rotten in the middle but her
Breast never dries when he's hungry

The money came and she died in her rocking chair
The window wide and the rain in her braided hair
A letter locked in the pattern of her knuckle
Like a hymn to the house she was making

Blind and whistling just around the corner and there's a
Wind that is whispering something
Strong as hell but not hickory rooted

She kissed him once cause he gave her a cigarette
And turned around but he waits like a turned down bed
And summer left like her walking with another and a
Sound of a church bell ringing

The money came and he died like a butterfly
A buried star and the haze of the city lights
A gun went off and her mother dropped her baby on the
Blue feathered wing, we were lucky

Blind and whistling just around the corner and there's a
Wind that is whispering something
Strong as hell but not hickory rooted

Lyrics submitted by starcastic

"Hickory" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Hickory song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentMy interpretation:

    1st 2 stanzas: about a woman who had a loveless marriage, either married someone her father liked, or for money (so her father respects him). She knows he provides for her so she makes a slight effort, but it's not enough because the love just isn't there. When she dies, she has a "letter locked in the pattern of her knuckle" which I see as either being a letter clenched in her hands tightly, and the "house she was making" is her daydream, if you will, of how her life could have been if she had been with the one she loved (eg, "building castles in the sky").

    2nd 2 stanzas: Here a man is in love with a woman who marries someone else, and he "died like a butterfly" - i think it killed him a bit inside so he crumpled up. He left that part of him and became just like everyone else - a buried star in a haze of lights, not noticeable.

    It speaks about the soul i think, how since these people gave up/lost what they really wanted in life, they have nothing left to root their soul to. So they have become empty people.
    maladroitmortalon September 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentking is right, it's "not hickory rooted". also, it should say "a buried star IN the haze of the city lights", and it's not "HER mother dropped her baby" it should be "A mother dropped her baby"

    this song is my favorite iron and wine song. to me, it's a bunch of examples of tragedies, showing how life is bittersweet. the first verse is a girl, probably a teen, who became pregnant and had a child, and tho she can never love him, her father will take care of him.

    the second is of (probably) an older woman who finally got whatever money she was waiting for, but died before she could even do anything with it. negative, but at the same time positive, to see she got whatever that money was before she died.

    the refrain is pretty abstract, but it's understandable at the same time. the wind is whispering something strong, but it's not solid or tangible.

    third verse is a boy not being seen by the girl he really likes, a very common tragedy.

    the fourth verse i'm not so sure about. again, a man dies who was waiting for some money, some kind of earned prize, and he dies unnoticed. a buried star in the haze of the city lights... something great that nobody can see. the mother shoots herself and drops the baby, but luckily the baby falls on a "blue feathered wing", which makes me think of a light weight pillow or something.

    i'm not sure if all the characters are supposed to be connected, maybe in the same family, or what, but either way it is a collection of tragedies.

    amazing song.
    sortileguson January 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgee, no one else has written anything about this song. :| i love it. yay for iron and wine.
    bright.eyes.on July 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBEAUTIFUL.
    rocketizaon December 17, 2005   Link

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