I thought I`d take a walk today
It`s a mistake I sometimes make
My children lay asleep in bed
My wife lay wide-awake
I kissed her softly on the brow
I tried not to make a sound
But with stony eyes she looked at me
And gently squeezed my hand
Call it a premonition, call it a crazy vision
Call it intuition, something learned from mother
But when she looked up at me, I could clearly see
The Sword of Damocles hanging directly above her
Oh Lord Oh my Lord
Oh Lord
How have I offended thee?
Wrap your tender arms around me
Oh Lord Oh Lord
Oh My Lord

They called at me through the fence
They were not making any sense
They claimed that I had lost the plot
Kept saying that I was not
The man I used to be
They held their babes aloft
Threw marsh mellows at the Security
And said that I`d grown soft
Call it intuition, call it a creeping suspicion,
But their words of derision meant they hardly knew me
For even I could see in the way they looked at me
The Spear of Destiny sticking right through me
Oh Lord Oh my lord
Oh Lord
How have I offended thee?
Wrap your tender arms round me
Oh Lord Oh lord
Oh My Lord

Now I`m at the hairdressers
People watch me as they move past
A guy wearing plastic antlers
Presses his bum against the glass
Now I`m down on my hands and knees
And it`s so f**king hot!
Someone cries, "What are you looking for?"
I scream, "The plot, the plot!"
I grab my telephone, I call my wife at home
She screams, "Leave us alone!" I say, "Hey, it`s only me"
The hairdresser with his scissors, he holds up the mirror
I look back and shiver; I can`t even believe what I can see

Be mindful of the prayers you send
Pray hard but pray with care
For the tears that you are crying now
Are just your answered prayers
The ladders of life that we scale merrily
Move mysteriously around
So that when you think you`re climbing up, man
In fact you`re climbing down
Into the hollows of glamour, where with spikes and hammer
With telescopic camera, they chose to turn the screw
Oh I hate them, Ma! Oh I hate them, Pa!
Oh I hate them all for what they went and done to you
Oh Lord Oh my Lord
Oh Lord
How have I offended thee?
Wrap your tender arms round me
Oh Lord Oh Lord
Oh My Lord



Lyrics submitted by PiKuelo, edited by Mellow_Harsher


Oh My Lord song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:Amazing, once again, how he manages to construct a thriller around something, it seems to me, not more important than a single event of a "media intrusion" into the day of life of Nick Cave and his family. Truly amazing... And an entertaining bit of comparing the journalists' questioning of his work to the rugged check of J.C.'s vital signs :)

    Something quoted a favorite lyric, this one makes me shudder, so universal:
    "So that when you think you`re climbing up, man
    In fact you`re climbing down"
    djontraon March 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This is one of only a handful of songs that make me grit my teeth with emotion when I hear it. Its simply wonderful.

    My interpretation of it is simple: Media Intrusion:

    They called at me through the fence
    They were not making any sense
    They claimed that I had lost the plot
    Kept saying that I was not
    The man I used to be

    and

    But their words of derision meant they hardly knew me

    and

    I grab my telephone, I call my wife at home
    She screams, "Leave us alone!" I say, "Hey, it`s only me"

    and

    Into the hollows of glamour, where with spikes and hammer
    With telescopic camera, they chose to turn the screw
    SmallCloneon July 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:to me the song is about dealing with him being Nick Cave, the family man vs. Nick Cave the entertainer. and sometimes how they may clash. In this song he builds a world of a man in a decent, in almost david lynchian ways. And maybe he thinks that neither side his family or his fans get him.. and he feels lost.
    magusreaveron August 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:I kind of think this song is about his growth as a person and performer versus the way his fans perceive him, or want to perceive him. Nick is an artist who gradually become more and more confessional and personal in his writing, culminating with 'The Boatman's Call' and I think this song was a bit of a response to those who started writing him off.

    Listen to 'Saint Huck' then listen to 'Into My Arms', without Nick singing them, you'd hardly know they were written by the same person.

    There is a part of him as a performer that wants to challenge his audience and take them along for the ride, but I'm sure there's also a part of him who is sensitive to the critcism (songs like 'A Box For Black Paul' and 'Scum' seem to even indicate this).
    NowhereMan913on August 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:I see it as being about his previous drug use:

    "I thought I'd take a walk today
    It's a mistake I sometimes make"

    Take a walk; a mistake. 'Take a walk' is a euphemism for taking another drug fix.

    "I kissed her softly on the brow
    I tried not to make a sound
    But with stony eyes she looked at me
    And gently squeezed my hand"

    'Tried not to make a sound' - trying to keep it a secret. But when his wife looks into his eyes...

    "But when she looked up at me, I could clearly see
    The Sword of Damocles hanging directly above her"

    ...he suddenly realises he's endangering his family. The Sword of Damocles represents the dangers and downfalls of those in power; power itself is another euphemism for his drug use. Feels powerful, on top of the world etc. you get the gist.

    "They called at me through the fence
    They were not making any sense
    They claimed that I had lost the plot
    Kept saying that I was not
    The man I used to be"

    This refers to people telling him he should quit.

    "But their words of derision meant they hardly knew me
    For even I could see in the way they looked at me
    The Spear of Destiny sticking right through me"

    And he ignores these people, feeling persecuted for his choices.

    The next stanza is basically falling into insanity due to excessive drug use, and realising that people were right about him and the despair of such a realisation - "I screamed 'the plot! the plot!'"; people told him he'd lost the plot and he dismissed such claims, and now he sees they were right.

    He calls up his wife and she doesn't recognise him ("She screams, 'Leave us alone!' I say, "Hey, it`s only me'"). The hairdresser holds up a mirror and "I cannot believe what I can see" - he doesn't recognise himself, he's not the man he used to be.

    The last stanza is a lot of warnings and such, but one line stands out in particular:

    "So that when you think you`re climbing up, man
    In fact you`re climbing down"

    Basically: drugs feel good but they make everything worse. You think you're high on top of the world, but in fact you're pulling yourself down. Something like that.

    -----

    I don't think this song has any particular meaning. It's one of those songs written from the artist's subconscious, drawing on several aspects from their life, and is not written specifically about one thing. It's so abstract that it could - and probably does - refer to many personal experiences in his life. I've presented one side, one possible explanation, one which has not been offered as of yet.
    Annihiliston March 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I love this damn song. I think this is pretty much about those times in your life when you realize you're hanging around people you don't care about, doing things that lack substance, and wondering where the joy/point of living is. this is the breakdown from all those realizations. and from the song title, it's also asking god why he let your life go to shit, I guess.
    precipitateon October 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I like precip's interpretation. My impressions are similar, but with different details: I like poetry which can be interpreted in many different ways, and why I appreciate Cave so much.

    I sense in this person also a kind of isolation that they weren't expecting. Their "ladder of life" turned over and perhaps the person has found celebrity to be a place foreign to their nature.

    I particularly like the grim panic around,
    "The plot! The plot!" and the call to "home".
    (shiver, indeed)

    -Phase
    warmPhaseon November 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:The way this song builds sends chills down my spine no matter how many times I hear it. This song hits me physically. Not many songs do that.
    Milaon March 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I think if you google or wiki "sword of the damocles," you'll see what the song is about. nick cave is playing with that story about the precariousness of power with a man who loses his family because of it. seems like the man lost the plot, started feeling too much power, and lost everything. pretty damned amazing song. i agree with the person who said it hit him physically--yes, it sure does.
    smallwonderroboton July 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:" A guy wearing plastic antlers presses his bum against the wall", the hairdresser's scissors, the frantic musical climax: you can feel reality crumbling around him as insanity creeps in. Wow. This must be how Philip K Dick felt.
    b0rison August 15, 2008   Link

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