As they’re taking me down, my friend
And as they usher me off to my end
Will I bid you adieu?
Or will I be seeing you soon?
If what they say around here is true
Then we’ll meet again
Me and you

My time is at hand, my dove
They’re gunna pass me to that house above
Is Heaven just for victims, dear?
Where only those in pain go?
Well it take two to tango
We will meet again, my love
I know

If you’re in Heaven then you’ll forgive me, dear
Because that’s what they do up there
But if you’re in Hell, then what can I say
You probably deserved it anyway
I guess I’m gunna find out any day
For we will meet again
And there’ll be Hell to pay

Your face comes to me from the depths, dear
Your silent mouth mouths, ‘Yes’, dear
Dark read and big with blood
They’re gunna shut me down, my love
They’re gunna launch me into the stars
Well, all things come to pass
Yeah, Glory Hallelujah

This prayer is for you, my love
Sent on the wings of a dove
An idiot prayer of empty words
Love, dear, is strictly for the birds
We each get what we deserve
My little snow white dove
Rest assured


Lyrics submitted by Dressed2Depress, edited by Tmesis

Idiot Prayer song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is a strange one. I never did work out how this nasty little song fits into The Boatman's Call. The speaker seems to have not only killed his partner but battered her - her mouth is "dark red & big with blood". The key verse, I think, is the third, where we find weasel words of self-justification: I don't think you could say anything worse to the person you murdered than "you probably deserved it anyway" (apart from "it takes two to tango"!). At the end, he seems to imply that both of them got their just desserts. None of which explains why this works as an affecting love song! The genius of Nick Cave, I suppose.
    morbid moragon July 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThere are some poetically cruel words on this one.

    "Love, dear, is strictly for the birds"
    "If you're in hell, then what can I say, you probably deserved it anyway"

    I didn't think about the possibility of these words being spoken by a man about to be executed. It makes sense to me now. I thought he might be on the verge of dying, remembering his deceased lover. I feel that the narrator might be a bit short on mental sanity, all the "dears", "doves" and, even worse, that last "my little snow white dove" seem to suggest a perverse tenderness, or maybe it's a way for him to try to calm the guilt he feels for killing her. Or maybe both. I'm not sure on a possible meaning, but I love this song anyway.
    Marquezon January 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it fits well with The Boatman's Call. People suck. Relationships hurt. He killed her. Maybe she deserved it. Maybe she didn't but she'll forgive him. What will his fate be after he dies?
    plataon July 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHard one to figure: It reads like a letter: an epistle from (nearly) beyond the veil to someone who was once loved and has sinced caused pain.
    (perhaps the recipient is partially to blame for this person's passing?)

    In the ending:
    "We each get what we deserve...My little...dove"
    "Rest assured"
    I sense a sinister facetiousness made all the more dark by the use of old terms of endearment.

    Their wish is not good for the recipient of this plea, and the reader chides himself by calling his supplications and "Idiot Prayer". He's angry, but he knows his furor and intentions are whispers to the howling winds of life.

    Nonetheless, he wonders (as he surely must!) what they might feel meeting again beyond words, beyond flesh, beyond life.

    Typical Nick Cave fair, and bless him for it. I only wish he could chime in here and give some thoughts on all of our crazy interps. I know he'd dig seeing the variety of interpretations.
    warmPhaseon July 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about a murderer about to be executed...these are his last thoughts towards his victim, a woman that he loved...he's hoping to meet her again in Heaven("if you're in Heaven then you'll forgive me, dear").
    baudolinoon April 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's no murder here. it's about the dichotomy of salvation and love when your lover falls short of salvation. My reading was always that the singer is bitterly mocking his lover but recently I've become unsure.
    mackkaon September 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningi always thought the 'dark red and big with blood' line was referencing the many vicious 'bites' lovers take at each other with words, not literal blood. at least that seems to be the way it works at my house.
    laniferouson December 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis cool but cold song could be a companion song for "I do dear, I do". In that song the lover feels a morose sinking in his heart when he becomes aware of how he feels about his lost love. The lover is torn between yearning for a women he still hasn't given up, his well wishes for her, and sadness of the loss of the love, accompanied by some scorn.

    I think this song more about scorn minus those other things. It is a candid portrayal of an ego vying to survive after being somewhat crushed and mangled. It is concerned with the vindication it's self and the condemnation of the sins those whome contributed to its sorry state. Dejected and imersed in gloom the ego condems love and the lover, and takes its revenge.
    Guarimnon January 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGuy on death row coming up to his execution and thinking about the victim. Bit of black humour about heaven and hell along the way.
    twelvevoltson April 09, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA man threatening his partner through prayer as he awiaits execution for her murder. He's saying he'll be able to do it all over again very shortly when he is once again joined with her in the afterlife. A beautiful yet genuinely nasty song.
    Sartorialon January 24, 2016   Link

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