"Walt Whitman's Niece" as written by Billy Bragg and Woody Guthrie....
Last night or the night before that
I won't say which night
A seaman friend of mine
I'll not say which seaman
Walked up to a big old building
I won't say which building
And would have not walked up the stairs
Not to say which stairs
If there had not been two girls
Leaving out the names of those two girls

I recall a door, a big long room
I'll not tell which room
I remember a deep blue rug
But I can't say which rug
A girl took down a book of poems
Not to say which book of poems
And as she read, I lay my head
And I can't tell which head
Down in her lap, and I can mention which lap

My seaman buddy and girl moved off
After a couple of pages and there I was
All night long, laying and listening
And forgetting the poems
And as well as I could recall
Or my seaman buddy could recollect
My girl had told us that she was a niece
Of Walt Whitman, but now which niece
And it takes a night and a girl
And a book of this kind
A long long time to find its way back


Lyrics submitted by pro-voice

"Walt Whitman's Niece" as written by Woody Guthrie Billy Bragg

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Walt Whitman's Niece song meanings
Add your thoughts

4 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a fun, irreverent song.

    Seeing as how it was written fifty years ago, I wonder if it's factual at all. Admittedly, though, I doubt it.
    pro-voiceon December 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's funny to me that this song makes me think of arlo's "alice's resteraunt" but it's impossible to say whether woody's writing more influenced "alice" or whether "alice" influenced this recording of woody's lyrics...probably both, hard to ever know really
    jdshron June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy first thought about this song was that he was making fun of a girl he was hanging out with who apparently said she was Walt Whitmans neice, "but not which neice", hence the theme of the song not remembering which night, seaman, building, stairs and so on.
    kjoyoon February 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about going to a brothel
    Watermastaon August 08, 2012   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
explain