"Sit Down Young Stranger" as written by and Gordon Lightfoot....
I'm standin' at the doorway
My head bowed in my hands
Not knowin' where to sit
Not knowin' where I stand

My father looms above me
For him there is no rest
My mothers arms enfold me
And hold me to her breast

They say you been out wanderin'
They say you travelled far
Sit down young stranger
And tell us who you are

The room has all gone misty
My thoughts are all in spin
Sit down young stranger
And tell us where you been

Well, I've been up to the mountain
I've walked down by the sea
I never questioned no one
And no one questioned me

My love was given freely
And oftimes was returned
I never came to borrow
I only came to learn

Sometimes it did get lonely
But it taught me how to cry
And laughter came too easy
For life to pass me by

I never had a dollar
That I didn't earn with pride
'Cause I had a million daydreams
To keep me satisfied

And will you gather daydreams
Or will you gather wealth
How can you find your fortune
When you cannot find yourself?

My mothers eyes grow misty
There's a tremblin' in her hand
Sit down young stranger
I do not understand

And will you try and tell us
You've been too long at school
That knowledge is not needed
That power does not rule

That war is not the answer
That young men should not die
Sit down young stranger
I wait for your reply

The answer is not easy
For souls are not reborn
To wear the crown of peace
You must wear the crown of thorns

If Jesus, had a reason
I'm sure He would not tell
They treated Him so badly
How could He wish them well

The parlor now is empty
There's nothin' left to say
My father has departed
My mothers gone to pray

There's rockets in the meadows
And ships out on the sea
The answers in the forest
Are carved upon a tree

John loves Mary
Does anyone love me?



Lyrics submitted by ButNeverOutgunned

"Sit Down Young Stranger" as written by Gordon Lightfoot

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sit Down Young Stranger song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentIt's beautifully sung; the lyrics seem to imply that a young man has returned home from travel and school and has different notions about the world than those held by his parents. It's sympathetic to the son and to the parents; he's young and idealistic, they are work weary and practical. I struggle with the last several stanzas, particularly the last two lines. Any suggestions?
    pixie duston June 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation- This song is complicated but powerful. A young man has returned
    home after being gone for years. There is a three way conversation in
    the song. Then at the end, he recalls why he left home in the first place.


    Son I'm standing' at the doorway–my head bowed in my hands
    Not knowing' where to sit–not knowing' where to stand.
    My father looms above me–for him there is no rest,
    My mother’s arms enfold me–and hold me to her breast

    Mom They say you been out wandering'–they say you traveled far
    Sit down young stranger —and tell us who you are

    Son The room has all gone misty. My thoughts are all in spin

    Mon Sit down young stranger, and tell us where you been

    Son Well, I've been up to the mountain; I've walked down by the sea
    I never questioned no one, and no one questioned me
    My love was given freely, and oft’ times was returned
    I never came to borrow, I only came to learn
    Sometimes it did get lonely, but it taught me how to cry
    And laughter came too easy, for life to pass me by
    I never had a dollar that I didn't earn with pride
    'Cause I had a million daydreams to keep me satisfied

    - (At this point–father snaps at son and the conversation begins to
    heat up. Each getting more frustrated with each exchange of words)

    Dad And will you gather daydreams or will you gather wealth?

    Son How can you find your fortune when you cannot find yourself?
    (My mother’s eyes grow misty–there's a tremblin' in her hand)

    Mom Sit down young stranger–I do not understand

    - (We learn here that he dropped out of school and dodged the draft)
    Dad And will you try and tell us–you’ve been too long at school?
    That knowledge is not needed– that power does not rule?
    That war is not the answer– that young men should not die?
    Sit down young stranger–I wait for your reply

    - (the 2 are yelling now)
    Son The answer is not easy —for souls are not reborn

    Dad To wear the crown of peace–you must wear the crown of thorns

    Son If Jesus, had a reason–I'm sure He would not tell
    They treated Him so badly–How could He wish them well?

    - (the room quickly empties leaving son alone thinking to himself)
    The parlor now is empty–there's nothin' left to say
    My father has departed–My mother’s gone to pray
    There's rockets in the meadows And ships out on the sea

    - (at this point “John” recalls why he left home years ago)

    The answer’s in the forest–carved upon a tree
    John loves Mary–does anyone love me?

    - (Mary did not return his love and he never felt loved at home
    Again he realizes he does not belong there.)
    Nyyasayson December 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is expressly about a draft dodger, come to do to Canada what he was unwilling to do the Vietnam. I hate those complacent, entitled cowards.
    Anguson April 20, 2013   Link

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