In the delta sun, down in Arkansas
It’s the great god bird with its altar call
And the sewing machine, the industrial god
On the great bayou where they saw it fall
It’s the great god bird down in Arkansas
And the hunters beware, or the fishers fall
And paradise might close from its safe flight flawed
It’s the great god bird through it all

And the watchers beware, lest they see it fall
And paradise might laugh when at last it falls
And the sewing machine, the industrial god
And it’s the great god bird with its altar call
Yes, it’s the great god bird with its altar call
Yes, it’s the great god bird through it all


Lyrics submitted by NotCoolZeus, edited by meaning600

The Lord God Bird song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentwhy are so many people so reluctant to admit that a lot of sufjan songs have religious material in them? are all you hipsters afraid that your boy sufjan is a devout christian (which he is), which would make him totally uncool and against the hipster code? get over it. this song obviously has a religious undertone to it. sufjan stevens isn't going to write a song about the ivory-billed woodpecker. he's going to use it to portray something else, something deeper. if you look at the song, it only makes sense that at least part of it is inspired by his faith. the other interpretations make sense too, but i think there is definitely a religious element to this song, just like a whole lot of other sufjan songs.
    djw1234on February 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song so much. I love how peacefull it is.
    flybillisflyon July 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti wonder why sufjan never says "lord god bird," like the title. so beautiful.
    beulahrawkon July 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song as well. You can get it from the NPR website for free at:

    npr.org/programs/asc/archives/asc88/…
    Periodixon October 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone know what this song means?
    PemberleyTeaon October 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti also love this song but was stuck for meaning.... this link shojuld explain it mostly..it speaks of an extinct bird known as the lord god bird...
    cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/13/60minutes/…
    Shobinaon October 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentivorybill.org has some more information on the Lord God bird. Perhaps an analogy... great god bird: God :: sewing machine : the industrial god (man). Is the lyric "alter call" right? Should it be "altar" call?

    "Altar Calls" are usually testimonies given. The bird's still alive, testifiying that it's made it despite technological advancements. Arkansas is truly still the Natural state: a good thing!
    Suscipe725on November 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom the Christian point of view, this song is quite easy to interpret.

    The "Lord God Bird" is God.
    We, as humans, are the sewing machines "industrial gods"
    "And the hunters beware, or the fishers fall
    And paradise might close from its safe flight flawed"
    I take this to mean that for the people who hunt and fish for other beliefs other than that of God, "paradise" or heaven, is closed to them because of this flaw.

    "Yes it's the great God bird through it all"


    What's are you all's thoughts on this interpretation?
    above the seaaaon December 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Christian thing may be a bit of a stretch. Why would "sewing machines" be humans? I always took it to mostly be just a song inspired by the story of the bird; on a deeper level, it seems to be about the fall of nature in the rise of modernity.
    aggiewill07on January 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Christian thing may be a bit of a stretch. Why would "sewing machines" be humans? I always took it to mostly be just a song inspired by the story of the bird; on a deeper level, it seems to be about the fall of nature in the rise of modernity.
    aggiewill07on January 03, 2006   Link

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