"Radio War" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Did the wine make her dream
Of the far distant spring
Or a bed full of hens
Or the ghost of a friend

All the while that she wept
She had a gun by her bed
And a letter he wrote
From a dry, foundered boat

And the train track will take
All the wounded ones home
And I'll be alone
Fare thee well Sara Jones

Now we lie on the floor
While the radio war
Finds its way through the air
Of the dead market square

And the beast never seen
Licks I's red talons clean
Sara curses the cold
"No more snow, no more snow"

Lyrics submitted by Bravura

"Radio War" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Radio War song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI concur. This is my favorite song by Iron and Wine. I was surprised when I found that nobody had posted the lyrics. The only problem with this song is that it's too short.

    "All the while that she wept
    She'd a gun by her bed
    And the letter he wrote
    From a dry, foundered boat."

    I like that verse. It seems she was considering suicide. It also mentioned her drinking wine in the first verse and making her dream of things. So she was trying to drink her problems away, I guess. It's a very sad song. But beautifully constructed.
    Bravuraon August 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis could almost be my favorite song on this album, which was one of my 2 or 3 favorite albums of 2004. it's so sparse, but the lyrics are so spot on. the 2nd, 4th and 5th verses make chills run down my spine. i love the line, especially since it's so cold here right now, "sara curses the cold; 'no more snow, no more snow'"
    tyrerbankson January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is about two lovers, one of them sent off to war (World War I). She has gotten drunk and is contemplating suicide while reading the last letter from her lover who has been killed. The radio war is the reports of the war coming across the radio (pre-TV). The "beast never seen" is War itself and the reference to snow may be the season in which her lover died.
    neonskylineon March 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like this song. I think its about a girl who's husband died at war. Its winter time and she just wants the season to pass. The war overseas is just the "radio war" but for Sara it means a lot more because she lost a loved one. I like how the war is personified as a "beast" with "red talons".
    ThePromiseRing8on August 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a really sad song now that i read the lyrics...i still really like it though.
    specialK37on July 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFucking amazing lyrics
    Jadenon July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful, delicate, and great lyrics
    Jadenon July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song. it expresses the frustration of being alone in a way only sam beam can. it develops from lofty images of a dream to the beast of war and ends on the same personal level on which it began. so delicate.

    pay attention to the subjects and where they are. he speaks of she, he, i, sara jones, and we. SHE (possibly sara jones) is weeping in her room. HE wrote a letter from a foundered boat. I will be alone once the train track takes the soldiers home. and WE lie on the floor. there are at least 3 characters in this story. something to think about...
    the otherwiseon September 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd have to disagree with neonskyline about WWI. WWI was primarily pre-radio, even for the United States. Plus, the mention of a "boat" brings to mind submarines, which were also WWII exclusive.

    And as for the rest of the song, I always imagined it as a girl in a little German town, mourning over a lover lost to the U.S. in the destruction of a U-boat, and the "red" would have been the occupying Communists.
    sevilenon December 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSevilen is wrong on "the beast never seen."
    He calls it "the beast never seen" because it is unknown, it has no identity, it either is rarely acknowledged or not acknowledged at all. Communist Soviets are established, acknowledged and have an identity therefore cannot fit the label of something "never seen." I believe that Sam is trying to make the point that people rarely see certain elements of war. This particular element being the effects on the family of a soldier, and what the death of a soldier causes/can cause outside of the obvious sad fact that the soldier died. This beast still lives and presides in the middle east and is as active as ever. And the human race will never rid themself of this beast, some of us have tried but Islamic Fascist's insist on keeping it alive.
    Smolten Groveon January 09, 2007   Link

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