"Our Mother the Mountain" as written by and Van Zandt....
My lover comes to me with a rose on her bosom
The moon's dancin' purple
All through her black hair
And a ladies-in-waiting she stands 'neath my window
And the sun will rise soon
On the false and the fair

She tells me she comes from my mother the mountain
Her skin fits her tightly
And her lips do not lie
She silently slips from her throat a medallion
Slowly she twirls it
In front of my eyes

I watch her, I love her, I long for to touch her
The satin she's wearin'
Is shimmering blue
Outside my window her ladies are sleeping
My dogs have gone hunting
The howling is through

So I reach for her hand and her eyes turns to poison
And her hair turns to splinters,
And her flesh turns to brine
She leaps cross the room, she stands in the window
And screams that my first-born
Will surely be blind

She throws herself out to the black of the nightfall
She's parted her lips
But she makes not a sound
I fly down the stairway, and I run to the garden
No trace of my true love
Is there to be found

So walk these hills lightly, and watch who you're lovin'
By mother the mountain
I swear that it's true
Love not a woman with hair black as midnight
And her dress made of satin
All shimmering blue


Lyrics submitted by p52

"Our Mother the Mountain" as written by Van Zandt

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Our Mother the Mountain song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think the lady represents temptation towards "sin", or something you want but you know you can't have hence, when he tries to touch her, the beauty she has turns into something ugly and dead and she vanishes.
    Hence "your first born will surly be blind" she curses him because he made a move towards her, showing that he's vulnerable towards "sin", with his first born being blind the child will not be able to see or know the difference between beauty and ugliness.
    bjorton January 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can't find where I read this - I think it might have been in the stuff that came with the CD, which of course I lost a long time ago. But if memory serves, this song was written in a sort of lightning strike, stream of consciousness, channeling type event. That's how Townes (loosely) described it. He was just struck, all of a sudden, as if by some kind of 'lightning', grabbed a pen, and let the words run through his hands. He said he really didn't even know what he was writing until he was done and and looked it over. He altered it very little if at all.

    I wouldn't go looking for meaning in the mundane, or the particulars of his life. This is something mythical. This is an encounter with the Crone, or something of the kind.

    Townes had a link with a Muse. Calling him gifted is an understatement.
    Xaphiuson March 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThough I've next to no idea what the song is about, I've always found it to be distinctively haunting.
    The BKon January 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentinto a snake.
    Raindog365on February 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it must have been taken from a myth or old tale
    lilu324on July 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is something rather mythical. Maybe a girl possessed by the demoness Lilith. It is said that she appears a beautiful woman at first and then turns to something of an old hag. He is also said to harm newborns, she is supposed to be responsible for still births and crib deaths. There's a lot more about her that I don't really feel like typing. Google Lilith .
    Friggon October 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionThe correct lyric at the end of every verse is:

    Singing 'Two: a lure, a lie. Oh.'


    (It refers to the fact that 'We Are All One', but we keep eating that fruit we were warned about...)
    gregallenmusicon August 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWell, that's one explanation, for sure, but there's more than that to it.

    There's a mythical creature that lures the careless into death.

    "Two - a lure, a lie. Oh.": clearly, you must recognize the name of Lorelei, the legendary syren from the river Rhein.

    According to the legend, she used to sit under a huge rock on the bend of the river, luring sailors to never come back. The explanation is that it is the narrowest and the most dangerous part of the mighty river, with strong currents, causing many shipwrecks in the past.

    Of course, mountains could be as seductive as the rivers.

    In this song we have some kind of mountain creature with similar powers. And in Slavic tradition there are tales of snakes turning into brides (clearly invented by overprotective or selfprotective mothers).

    It's a game of words, with multiple explanations, offering very different pictures which are not at all contradictory.
    zzagoraon August 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWithout thinking much about it I translated the song for my kids who keep on asking what the songs are all about that we listen to in the car.
    My daughter couldn't get to sleep that night, I felt terrible.

    Anyways, I always felt that this song is so much E.A. Poe, whatever the symbolims in it might mean.
    Fsgermon November 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think that on the surface, the story is about some form of siren cursing the singer in a classic tale of temptation and monsters.

    But I also feel there is a level of symbolism possibly about drugs and drink in the song.
    The siren is some kind of representation of the temptation of drugs and drink and fame, and the singer is drawn to it, but just as things seem great it all goes down hill.
    And the curse of the first born to be blind could be about how sometimes taking drugs can lead to ill effects in your children.

    Just guessing of course, to be honest I have only recently discovered his music and from what I have read of his life this could be one way to look at it. Whatever the case, hidden message or not, I love this song.
    corabainon January 03, 2011   Link

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