wasted and wounded
and it ain't what the moon did
i got what i paid for now
see you tomorrow
hey frank can i borrow
a couple of bucks from you
to go waltzing matilda waltzing matilda
you'll go waltzing matilda with me

i'm an innocent victim
of a blinded alley
and i'm tired of all these soldiers here
no-one speaks english
and everything's broken
and my Stacys are soakin' wet
to go waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
you'll go a waltzing matilda with me

now the dogs are barking
and the taxi cabs parking
a lot they can do for me
i begged you to stab me
you tore my shirt open
and i'm down on my knees tonight

old bushmills i staggered
you buried the dagger
your silhouette window light
to go waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
you'll go a waltzing matilda with me

and i've lost my st. christopher
now that i kissed her
and the one-arm bandit knows
and the maverick chinaman
and the cold-blooded signs
and the girls down by the striptease shows go
waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
you'll go a waltzing matilda with me

no i don't want your sympathy
fugitives say
that the streets aren't for dreaming now
manslaughter dragnets
and the ghosts that sell memories
want a piece of the action anyhow
go waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
you'll go waltzing matilda with me

and you can ask any sailor
and the keys from the jailor
and the old men in wheelchairs know
that matilda's the defendant
she killed about a hundred
and she follows wherever you may go
waltzing matilda, waltzing matilda
you'll go waltzing matilda with me

and it's a battered old suitcase
to a hotel someplace
and a wound that will never heal
no prima donnas the perfume is on
an old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
and goodnight to the street-sweepers,
the night watchmen flame-keepers
and goodnight matilda too.


Lyrics submitted by frustrated, edited by CoConspirator

Waltzing Mathilda song meanings
Add your thoughts

7 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentI knew this song from Rod Stewart and loved it - then I found out that he had covered it as a tribute to his 'idol' Tom Waits and well ... that's something different :-). You can easily say that this song made me listen to Tom Waits and I learned to appreciate his music along the way.
    tugiton February 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhew! this song is F'ing depressing - and that's a HUGE compliment! Tom Waits is one artist exroidinaire.

    To be honest, when I listen to this song I envy the poor man who lives out of a battered old suitcase - because 1) he's probably toasted, 2) he's happy enough, and he's at peace w/himself.

    OK, you say I'm off target? Well, find for me in the lyrics ONE line that indicates that the subject of this song is UNHAPPY or NOT at peace with himself.

    I suggest he is a alcoholism, he has accepted his alcoholism and he is basically observing the night people around him before he lays himself down for a night of drunken sleep.

    Again, find for me in the lyrics any line that suggests he is unhappy.

    It is funny, because the tone of the song is very sad.

    Are we supposed to pity this man? If you accept my premise that he is a happy (aleit alcoholic) person, then why should we pity him?

    Personally, my only pity for him is if he doesn't have the joy of raising children. However, we don't even know that much. He could've easily raised 5 kids or more, and *then* became alone. It has occurred before.

    Maybe he missed out on love

    Funny .. I'd rank this as one of the saddest songs of all time. Nevertheless I envy this poor, probably homeless, man.
    tsreybon November 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe original Waltzing Matilda is the story of a hobo who dances with his rucksack (matilda) in place of a real woman. I think this song is about being stuck and lonely in rainey Amsterdam finding solace with a prostitute and Bushmill's whiskey.
    matthewtake1on September 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. End of it made me cry the first time I heard it, while reading this.

    For me it captures the same feel from the original, but in a metropolitan setting. The loneliness, the desperate connection made (swag vs prostitute), the day-to-day survival in your current sitation, as an outcast, the deep resignation that this is your life.

    The fact that you only really see jazz in cities adds to this as well.

    Same problems within themselves, just different place and differently expressed.
    MickyDon March 13, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel this song to be about heroin addiction.:
    now i've lost my st. christopher
    now that i kissed her
    and the one-arm bandit knows
    and the maverick chinaman
    with the cold-blooded sigh

    and

    begged you to stab me
    you tore my shirt open
    and i'm down on my knees tonight

    old bushmills i staggered
    you buried the dagger

    and

    that the streets aren't for dreaming now
    manslaughter dragnet
    and the ghost that sells memories
    want a piece of the action anyhow

    like an old blues singer on the road, city to city... staying in fleabags, playing dives
    jacking up to go to bed after closing
    baroquenon January 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEveryone keeps talking as if Tom Traubert were a penniless bum, but that's clearly not true. When was the last time you saw a bum wearing Stacys? I picture him more as a traveler who's just missing home and that one chance he missed to settle down. But he doesn't sound like he'd change things much if he could.
    TemplarBardon January 10, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWhen I first heard this song, I thought of a GI in post WW2 Europe. The loneliness. The references to soldiers. People maybe trying to hock some garbage to get money for food. Possibly referencing a girl he met after the liberation. I know the interpretation is probably wrong, but those were my thoughts when I first heard it. After playing it on piano a few dozen times, other ideas came to mind...., but that's what sticks.

    Regardless. It's a beautiful song, and Tom's voice is captivating. Mr. Waits is a wonderful artist. We are all blessed, "if that's the correct term," by his works.


    Thank you sir.
    the1104325on June 29, 2017   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain