"Like a Pen" as written by Karin Elizabeth Dreijer Andersson and Olof Bjorn Dreijer....
Sharpen my body like a pen
Come on I need to show it
Something too small for a lense
If I rub it if I wipe it

Guiding with one single hand
Nothing's wrong you like the feeling
I am all over the land
Come on I need to show it

Back on the mountain again
I was standing watching seasons
You're now my only friend
I'm too heavy, I'm the burden

Sitting and picking on myself
It's a shiny, shiny morning
And when the light finds my eye
I'll be fleeting like a scent

I hold my breath and then count to three
On and on outworn
Must be five hundred degrees
Will it show, in my show


Lyrics submitted by dolcecars

"Like a Pen" as written by Olof Bjorn Dreijer Karin Elizabeth Dreijer Andersson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Like a Pen song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI'm surprised no one's commented on The Knife's slightly incorrect translation of the word "pen" here. Pencils are the ones that are sharpened, but the Swedish word for both pens and pencils are the same unless specified, i.e. adding the word "ink" before it (pen). Not like it's that important, but still noteworthy.

    ...unless they realized that a title such as "Like a Pencil" would sound retarded, thus doing all this intentionally.
    abortismon May 15, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis must be about sex.. One night stands perhaps?
    "It's a shiny shiny morning
    And when the light finds my eye
    I'll be fleeting like a scent"
    "Nothing's wrong you like the feeling"
    DigiLSDon September 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with the things said above. I think, more than an outright statement about anorexia, it's a retaliation against today's media, as anaisconce already pointed out. I'm sure Karin has gotten plenty of pressure to play the stereotypical role of today's female performer.
    Words like "Sharpen my body like a pen" make me think of euphemisms the industry has come up with for their ideal body like "toned." The choice of the word sharpen offers a jab at the industry and points towards the unhealthy, destructive way of life they really want from their performers.
    "Guiding with one single hand...you like the feeling." Sexual? Yes. However, I think it has more to do with the perverse attraction to the "ideal" than anything else. I'd offer more of my own thoughts but there is a world outside of the internet that I must attend to.
    MissyHeimeron May 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about being a performer.
    nemonemonon November 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone else here her say something else at the end of the first chorus?
    It sounds like,
    "Must be five-hundred degrees
    Can't stay long, outworn."
    Does anyone else hear that?
    ComparedPallidon January 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think it's about sex, "i hold my breath and count to three" describes the moment before the orgasm to me.
    merrilyon January 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with merrily about the orgasm thing (from "Sharpen my body like a pen" to "I hold my breath and I count to three/ On and on outworn/ It must be five hundred degrees")

    though it can also be about masturbation :D "Guiding with one single hand/ Nothing's wrong you like the feeling/ I am all over the land"...
    llavaon February 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe masturbation idea might seem silly, but most of the album Silent Shout is about human contact or lack of (Marble House, Na Na Na etc.) + this might be about a girl who's alone + horny lol so she resorts to "picking on herself" until she climaxes. Also there seems to be a link between the "lense" in the 1st verse + "when the light finds my eye".
    linalkaon February 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the masturbation theories.

    Woman can't climax and it's driving her insane:

    "Sharpen my body like a pen
    Come on, I need to show it"

    She's trying to focus herself into orgasming - so much that she feels she needs to prove to herself that she can.

    "Something too small for a lense
    If I rub it if I wipe it"

    She's stimulasting her clitoris, but it's not doing anything - her magic spot has shrunk down so no one would be able to find it.

    "Guiding with one single hand
    Nothing's wrong you like the feeling"

    She's doing everything she should, and she's trying to convince herself that she can orgasm, that she's enjoying her masturbation.

    "I am all over the land
    Come on I need to show it"

    Again, she's trying to convince herself, but her mind's erratic, and what was her attempt at feeling pleasurable has given way to feeling frustrated.

    "Back on the mountain again
    I was standing watching seasons"

    She's trying yet again - the mountain is the uphill struggle she's facing trying to climax. 'I was standing watching seasons' might literally mean it's been a long long time since she's attempted to orgasm, or that she's so unable to orgasm that she's started daydreaming.


    "You're now my only friend
    I'm too heavy, I'm the burden"

    Masturbation itself is all she does now. She's so frustrated and pent up that she's isolating herself in her mind until she can come and be done with it.

    "Sitting and picking on myself
    It's a shiny, shiny morning"

    She's tried so long that she hasn't slept - her attempts at masturbation are now just 'picking on [her]self' - she's noticed that it's morning. The 'shiny shiny morning' refers to the breaking dawn - the wee hours.


    "And when the light finds my eye
    I'll be fleeting like a scent"

    Despite it being a new day, she is still attempting to have an orgasm, but still can't. When the day has pushed on too far, she'll have to give up and go about what she's doing.

    "I hold my breath and I count to three
    On and on outworn"

    It's her final chance - a focussed attempt. She is literally worn out by not being able to climax despite her efforts.

    "It must be five hundred degrees
    Will it show, in my show"

    She's been at it so long that she's worked up an immense heat (when you're horny it always seems hotter than it is). 'Will it show, in my show' refers to her trying to hide her frustration from those around her.


    Another equally valid reading is that it's about her faking an orgasm during sex - all instances of her pleasuring herself in the first example are replaced with a sexual partner.
    daveydavesonon January 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaningit should be completely obvious that this song is about someone who CUTS themselves. this is my favorite song by the knife and i'm so disappointed to see everyone misinterpreting it. THE SONG IS ABOUT CUTTING AND SECRETLY WANTING SOMEONE TO FIND OUT. just reread the lyrics with that in mind and there's no questioning what it's about
    sevastra4on January 03, 2013   Link

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