With a crooked smile and a heart-shaped face
Comes from the West country where the birds sing bass
She's got a house-big heart where we all live
And plead and council and forgive
Her widow's peak, her lips I've kissed
Her glove of bones at her wrist
That I have held in my hand
Her Spanish fly and her monkey gland
Her Godly body and its fourteen stations
That I have embraced, her palpitations
Her unborn baby crying, "Mummy"
Amongst the rubble of her body
Her lovely lidded eyes I've sipped
Her fingernails, all pink and chipped
Her accent which I'm told is "broad"
That I have heard and has been poured
Into my human heart and filled me
With love, up to the brim, and killed me
And rebuilt me back anew
With something to look forward to
Well, who could ask much more than that?
A West country girl with a big fat cat
That looks into her eyes of green
And meows, "He loves you", then meows again


Lyrics submitted by ilse

West Country Girl song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment"Crooked smile"
    "heart-shaped face"
    "lovely lidded eyes"
    Definetly about PJ Harvey.
    marthveronon August 09, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAccording to the info over at the Nick Cave Collector's Hell site, at a 1997 London gig, Nick changed the last line to: "and meows, `He loves you, Polly Jean'".

    Anyway, I've been reading PJ Harvey's biography 'Siren Rising', and she mentions getting "palpitations" before going on stage to perform. So I think that Nick's line: 'that I have embraced, her palpitations' refers to this - him embracing her/providing comfort/soothing her nerves before the beginning of her show.
    the_boatmanon October 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe suggestion made by boatman about Nick's alternate lyrics for the last line actually makes a lot of sense with the rhyme scheme of the song, because with the lyrics as above the last line is the only one that doesn't rhyme (eyes of green/meows again). However eyes of green does rhyme with poly jean.

    Well, who could ask much more than that?
    A West country girl with a big fat cat
    That looks into her eyes of green
    And meows, "He loves you, Polly Jean"

    For that reason I believe this was the original line, and Nick changed the line for personal reasons when recording the song. Thanks for that hint boatman!

    This song is brilliant. This version on youtube is absolutely heart-wrenching :
    youtube.com/…
    loadedmemoryon October 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbsolutely. She's all over the album.
    Songmeaningsuseron August 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, everybody knows that this song is about PJ Harvey. Right?
    psychocherryon November 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI'm not really going to mention PJ Harvey much, since it's pretty much common knowledge that the song is about her.

    I think the way this song is written, as a list of descriptions about PJ in terms of her looks and attributes, is done so vividly, that it really captures how one views a person when they are in love with them. That person becomes so vivid in your mind, and you notice all the small minute details, which run through your head, almost to the point of obsession.

    Even musically, the song is tainted by Nick's desire for PJ, taking on a folky, 'West Country' vibe that aligns with PJ's home in rural Dorset. This further proves the fact that when somebody is in love, their lover becomes so much a part of them, that it affects and alters everything.
    JJKelsallon January 24, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm listening to a bootleg version which is extremly menacing, filled with evil harmonica, definatly about p.j. sounds a little bitter don't you think?
    Dressed2Depresson September 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeautiful, indirect love song, cave at his best. he is much better in pieces like this, rather than cheesyness that came after the boatman's call.
    shadowplayon September 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat's what they say... ;)
    shadowplayon November 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the most honest and beautiful love poems I've ever read. I also get a little thrill when I hear it because so much of it reminds me of myself.
    Milaon March 17, 2007   Link

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