"Girl In The War" as written by and Josh Ritter....
Peter said to Paul
"All those words that we wrote
Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go"
But now talkin' to God is Laurel beggin' Hardy for a gun
I gotta girl in the war, man I wonder what it is we done

Paul said to Petey
"You gotta rock yourself a little harder,
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire"
And I got a girl in the war, Paul the only thing I know to do
Is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through

Because the keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom
And the angels fly around in there, but we can't see them
And I gotta girl in the war, Paul I know that they can hear me yell
If they can't find a way to help, they can go to Hell
If they can't find a way to help her, they can go to Hell

Paul to Petey "you gotta rock yourself a little harder,
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire"
But I gotta girl in the war, Paul her eyes are like champagne
They sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain
Sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain
They sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain


Lyrics submitted by angryostrich, edited by soso104

"Girl in the War" as written by Josh Ritter

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, DUCHAMP, INC

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Girl In The War song meanings
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66 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI interpret the song as a clear anti-war statement.

    The reference to breaking the rules of the game and the “girl in the war” suggests a breaking of a “no women, no children” type of statute. In our current wars, we see our international rules of conduct being broken and civilian casualties often outnumber those of military forces.

    A second reference to Laurel and Hardy (Thin Blue Line – “…even Laurel begs Hardy for vengeance”) links the two songs which support each other in their anti-war sentiment.

    The need to “rock yourself a little harder” and the reference to a dove suggests to me the need to actively protest and not just believe blindly in peace (e.g. the [peace] dove). Paul suggests that you must do whatever you have to in order to get fired up and move (“pretend your feet are on fire”). Peter has not been able to find a way to do this, and has been effectively sticking his head in the sand as he turns up the music and hopes for the best (e.g. that the war will end, that she will be okay, that peace will come).

    As a side-note, a confrontation between the apostles has ‘historic’ reference as Paul confronted Peter in Galatians 2:11-18 when Peter was accused of Judaizing due to his reluctance to share a meal with gentile Christians.

    “I know that they can hear me yell” (i.e., I know that they can hear my protests) and if they [powers that be] can’t find a way to stop what we are opposed to then they can go to hell. To fail to do so will result in great loss.
    gossyon May 28, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNot sure he is talking about bending the rules. I believe he is alluding to the old expression "The first casualty of war is truth."
    Milkman82on May 11, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have a different interpretation of this song. While I do believe Josh Ritter is singing about the current war in Iraq, I also think this song may be about his girlfriend battling an illness. The line "If they can't find a way to help her they can go to hell" means, if the Dr's can't find a way to help her they can do just that, go to hell. Girl in the war means the girl is at war with an illness...."Her eyes are like chapagne, they sparkle bubble over, in the morning all you've got is rain..." means to me that her eyes are so crisp and clear and bubbly...but due to her sickness, they've lost their luster like a clear glass of champagne and now are like rain and cloudy. If you've ever seen a person's eyes when they're sick, they look like that.
    Just my 2 cents.
    lmaye83on April 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song!

    first off i think every lyric has a different meaning to each individual that being said here is how i interpet this song

    obviously it is protesting the war and telling you to get active ("if they cant find a way to help they can go to hell")

    "Paul said to Petey
    "You gotta rock yourself a little harder;
    Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire""

    i see it as paul talking to peter as in the bible,
    i think its saying get active about your faith in christ and start doing what you were meant to do instead of screwing around

    thats my 2 cents

    great song though
    sweaterking blehon August 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgod i love this song.
    tbsbrandnewdcjewon September 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPersonally, I don't think it's as blunt as "this represents Bush" and "this represents the USA". But I think the lyric "girl in the war" represents truth (like Milkman said), innocence, and faith.

    I love Josh's song writing. Take the lyric "Paul Said to Peter you gotta rock yourself a little harder". The allusion is perfect; even down to the detail (Peter means rock; ...on this rock I will build my Church).
    iamrandomon January 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentokay: i think this is about loosing your faith. 'all those words we wrote' = new testament--and he's chucked out he rules because something in his life is haywire ('a girl in the war') and god doesn't seem to be helping.

    the keys to the kingdom--come ON, saint peter guards the pearly gates & holds the keys to the KINGDOM of heaven--and he's lost the keys, ie his faith. faith isn't easy for him anymore. 'angels fly around inside but we can't seem them'.

    i do like the anti-war reading too but i think the faith metaphor can be applied to that too, and i also think that the biblical allusions are too strong to be ignored. peter (the rock on which the chruch was founded) is starting to doubt and paul says, come on man, just trust, believe that it will be okay.
    wookie007on January 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's not a direct slap a Bush, but rather a general disgust at religious war. Peter and Paul's words (the Bible) are the rules, but the Bible's teachings are the first things lost in war.

    I see the "rocking harder" as a reference to how when someone is very, very upset, they'll curl into a ball and rock back and forth. All he can do is sit and wait and hope she makes it home.

    He loves her, and he thinks she's being unjustly sacrificed for nothing, and there isn't a damn thing he can do about it. Not even prayer can help.
    shanakon January 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPeter said to Paul
    "All those words that we wrote
    Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go"

    Peter is the Rock of the Church, a disciple of Christ, and the author of a book in the Bible. St. Paul is the author of many books in the Bible. The rules Ritter talks about is the Bible. Ritter says the Bible's rules are easily ignored.


    But now talkin' to God is Laurel beggin' Hardy for a gun-- Laurel and Hardy were a old-time, silent comedy team. Laurel would always end up hurting Hardy and be unaware of the mistakes. Ritter means we pray for God to grant us gifts such as wisdom, (think Adam eating from the tree of knowledge) but really when end up destroying ourselves and our relationship with God.

    I gotta girl in the war, man I wonder what it is we done- I think the war is the moral struggle existing in life. We are all responsible for the war. I think the girl represents innocence and the everyman.

    Paul said to Petey
    "You gotta rock yourself a little harder;
    --Jesus proclaimed Peter to be the Rock or foundation of the Catholic Church. Ritter may be saying we need more of a foundation.

    Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire" --the Dove is the Holy Spirit as we find in the baptism of Christ. So, pretend the Holy Spirit is demanding you to act.


    And I got a girl in the war, Paul the only thing I know to do
    Is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through
    ---


    Because the keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom-- God gave Peter the keys to the heaven. Apparently the way to heaven is known now only in heaven. (Possibly it is that) We have forgotten how to live righteously.

    And the angels fly around in there, but we can't see them-- we on Earth no longer know the holiness and beauty which exist in heaven


    And I gotta girl in the war, Paul I know that they can hear me yell---- He's preaching to the one's causing the strife and hardships on Earth. They should help this girl.


    If they can't find a way to help, they can go to Hell
    --- Ritter does not think those who hear the call of righteousness yet refuse should find salvation.

    If they can't find a way to help her, they can go to Hell
    same


    Paul to Petey "you gotta rock yourself a little harder;
    Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire"
    But I gotta girl in the war, Paul her eyes are like champagne--not only is she innocent but filled with wonder


    They sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain---the wonder eventually leads to apathy or despression because the world or "war"

    Sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain
    They sparkle, bubble over, in the morning all you got is rain
    jpw1019on January 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJosh was just on NPR. The song is about what it say's. Peter and Paul are Republicans and Dem's bickering while a war is going on.
    weakmoralson January 29, 2007   Link

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