I have my hopes of how I would be after living in exile
after closing your eyes to me
I even wrote scenes where I re-emerged boldly, bearded alive
with eskimo eyes
new baby on my back
but I didn't count the fact that I have ghosts in my mind, stored away
great ghosts of my life
great ghosts of old wives
and their howling
so I spend my wilderness time, rolling on the ground
pulling my hair and wrestling them of
yelling at none, punching snow
I gathered ghosts and gave them my lecture, bid them away, I pleaded and cried
there's no room in my life for you or your howling
let my undo these ropes and go on living without you
not just change where I live
go on get, I said
I had my hopes of how I would be after sending them of
after getting set free
but there's no such thing as living without their prowling
as you can see, having descended the hill
I still look like me, I still wallow as Phil
and forever will
I'm teaming with ghosts and I still whining for wives, unkniting my brow
but now I've surrendered
In fact I've joined in
You can hear us howling


Lyrics submitted by horsepowerhope

Great Ghosts song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentlyrics I got

    I had my hopes of how I would be
    after living in exile, after closing all eyes to me
    I have romanced scenes where I re-emerged boldly
    and bearded alive with eskimo eyes
    with new baby on my back, but from where?
    I did not count the fact that I have ghosts in my mind, stowaways
    great ghosts of my life
    great ghosts of old wives
    and their howling
    so I spent my wilderness time, pulling my hair, rolling on the ground
    wrestling them off
    yelling at no one, punching snow
    I gathered ghosts and gave them my lecture, I bid them away, pleaded and cried
    and said there's no room in my life for you or you or your howling
    let my undo these ropes and go on living without you
    not just change where we live
    go on get
    I had my hopes of how I would be after sending them off
    after getting set free
    but there's no such thing as living without their prowling
    so as you can see, having descended the hill
    I still look like me, I still wallow like Phil
    forever will
    I'm teaming with ghosts and I still whining for wives, unkniting my brow
    but now I've surrendered
    if you listen you can hear us howling
    hamfohon November 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI love this song. It's beautiful. To me he's left for a while, to free himself of tormenting memories that surround him (ghosts). He envisions high hopes of his return. In the midst, he realizes that he can not forget. These memories and thoughts keep creeping up...it's like a heavy burden. He can not let go. He will forever feel, and be, who he's always been. Though he had gone and tried to change...to forget, he has surrendered to himself, and his memories...regardless of how painful.

    I don't know really. This is just an old favorite song of mine. We all think we can run away from problems and hurt. We cannot.
    Italion November 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWhile i'm fairly certain this song probably has something to do with a girl, possibly the same girl in 'moon sequel', the relationship which caused Phil to 'exile' himself in Norway for a while, the song means more to me personally when viewed more generally:

    I guess I think of the 'ghosts' as humanity in general, or more the day-to-day people, living very routinely, never venturing into anything different, Phil reduces these people to 'ghosts', they are pale reflections of what they could be if they'd only allow themselves to experience a little more, take risks. Wanting to set himself apart from these people, Phil goes away, fantasises about 'how I would be after living in exile, after closing your eyes to me', shutting himself off from the kind of lifestyle he hoped not to gain, he feels that he can better himself by setting himself apart. But, after trying and realising you cannot change yourself simply by changing where you live, he still looks like himself, he still 'wallows like Phil', he cannot run away from his problems as he is still haunted by the ghosts he left behind. Feeling the potential judgement of the people he once knew, he surrenders to them, to the lifestyle he was trying desperately to avoid, or 'joins in' with the mundane routine of life, settles for a life less exciting than what he'd hoped, but something real nonetheless.
    lachinoiseon January 07, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationi love love love this song and everything i've heard from mount eerie/the microphones. after listening to this many times, reading through the lyrics and reading through everyone's comments, i've come to give my interpretation.

    in this song, phil talks about his ghosts like they are others, unwelcome, latching themselves onto him and his life, bringing despair. to me, the repeated idea seems like these 'stowaways' are former selves. the people he once was, returning to haunt him. his efforts to release them are fruitless because our past forms are what create us at our present.

    "i had my hopes of how i would be, after sending them off, after getting set free / but, there's no such thing as living without their prowling" ... "i'm teeming with ghosts and i'm still whining for wives, unknitting my brow / but, now i've surrendered / in fact, i have joined in / you can hear us howling"

    the lyrics above portray the permanence of one's past and the struggle to accept your ghosts and let them become a part of you, rather than fight them off.
    spacenesson December 04, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think he says "and a baby on my back" on the 5th line.

    and this song is absolutely incredible.
    angrysonon April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*new baby
    angrysonon April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about why Mount Eerie sounds so much different from The Microphones.
    butterfly123on April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's amazing. I can't transcribe any meaning from it but it's just so beautiful. A friend sent it to me while I was half-asleep, and in any state of mind I'm blown away.
    shexcanxreadon January 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is one of my favorite microphones songs, and i find the lyrics incredibly relatable and so beautiful. i don't often use the word "beautiful" to describe songs (i usually lean more towards "great") but the microphones make some absolutely beautiful stuff. the feeling of being forever trapped in longing for all the women and everything else you've lost in the past is just conveyed so perfectly and eloquently here. wow. wow. wow.
    foreverdoomedon March 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song honestly takes my breath away and breaks my heart at the same time.

    I think it's about someone(a guy) who doesnt have any room in their life for anyone new nor do they want any new strangers in their lives either but yet a new girl is trying to force themselves into his social circle, trying to become something more than just a stranger to him. He doesnt want this "there's no room in my life for you or your howling" and no matter how much he pushes her away she just keeps coming back. He wants to live his life free of "ghosts" or of her haunting him. Always forcing herself into his mind. Always two steps behind trying to catch up. But eventually he realizes without her he isnt as happy as he thought he would be. In fact, he's the same as he was with her in his life. Eventually he is worn down and gives up fighting to keep her out of his life and joins in accepting her and her "howling".

    might be a bit of a stretch but this is what I think of when listening to this song.
    A manon April 07, 2008   Link

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