A bad dream shook me in my sleep
And I woke up sweating
Ran through the dark to the shower
Already forgetting

Try to think good thoughts
Trying to find my way clear
Let the room fill with steam
Trace pictures on the mirror

Ghosts and clouds
And nameless things
Squint your eyes and hope real hard
Maybe sprout wings

I clawed my way to the living room window
Stood there in the cold
The last bits of my dream like figures in the distance
Hard to hold

I thought of old friends
the one's who'd gone missing
Said all their names three times
Phantoms in the early dark
Canaries in the mines


Ghosts and clouds
And nameless things
Squint your eyes and hope real hard
Maybe sprout wings



Lyrics submitted by mdon06


Maybe Sprout Wings song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment:"This is a song about a man who has not had a chance to cuddle a wombat in quite some time."
    - John, at the Independent in 2003
    ABookOnAShelfon May 09, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:I think by 'bad dreams', he actually means good ones...dreams of things he wants, but can't have, so they shake him from sleep, and he desires to escape to them...maybe.

    As for saying his friends' names three times, I think since he's looking in the mirror or reflective window at least, he's trying to summon them back to him...bring them into his presence, a la the bloody mary urban legend...maybe.

    either way, awesome album...it's not as diverse as past albums, but it has this really dark/melancholy atmosphere surrounding it that i like a lot...
    McWatton March 06, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:i don't care what this song is about, well i do, but i am blinded by its tragic and absolutely mindblowing feel and expression of the emotions being felt.
    joejoe0on August 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This song is sooooo beautiful. I can understand the feel of it, but I'm still working on what it means. It's like when you wake up from a bizzare dream and its a quiet morning and the dream haunts the back of your mind for the whole morning. I dont know the friends who went missing, I dont know the significance of saying their names 3 times, but I understand where he's comming from: waking up from these dreams and standing in the shower can help you understand things that have been on your mind. i dont want to analyze the song too much, i like not knowing.
    Tee*~*~on January 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i get a really depressing feel from this song.

    i think the saying the names three times is like when you lose someone and you're looking for them, you shout their names over and over. in this case he's not sure they'll come back to him ie "canaries in the mines" (canaries were sent into coal mines to with miners as a way to test for methane gas - if they died it was a toxic site).

    he's "clawing" like he wants to get out. its seems like he wants to "maybe sprout wings" to get away from the ghosts/nameless things i.e. depression or bad experiences from his past. he wants to start over again.

    i don't know if i'm right...just my two cents.
    squeakyfingerson March 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I think by 'said all their names three times' he's trying to give his old friends a sense of reality. 'They were real, these are their names.' Like they once were but are no longer, he's trying to convince himself that they're still with him.
    Blithiumon October 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:This song seems to be about a man who has lost someone, but he doesn't yet accept it, or does and is trying to fight it. He thinks back, and is saddened by the fact that the people are fading from his memorie, so he says there names three times, trying to summon them back, like the legend. He trys to think good thoughts, but is still overcome by sadness. Also when he says "canaries in the mine" it sorta sounds like hes trying to say that what happened to this person/persons showed him not to take the same path that he/they took. The way he/they went was a warning to john.
    jaredyankeeon January 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:the line, "canaries in the mines" speaks to me because there is an old song by the police called "canary in a coalmine" and it's all about paranoid people and how they can't live their lives because they're blinded by fear, and i think that this is relevant because he feels like this with his friends/lovers, that he's so clouded by his feelings that he can't think rationally, and i think that's the meaning of this song, like sprouting wings is not a rational solution to fix things, and he mentions ghosts in the chorus, and there is no proof that they're real either.
    thelonefluteon July 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation:This song is full of double meanings. The line "maybe sprout wings" can either be taken as wishing one could grow wings and fly away, or an allusion to death and angel's wings. He's both wishing for a childlike fantasy of being able to escape by flight and hoping for death. "Ghosts and clouds, and nameless things" is the most powerful line for me... it's both the literal pictures he draws in the mirror, and the things his friends have become. They're dead, or missing, and now all that's left of them are half-forgotten memories, phantoms and whispers in the dark. "Canaries in the mines" could also be a morbid reference to drug use - his friends may have been poisoned or overdosed by their own drugs, making them like canaries indicating the toxicity of a mine to be entered. Their lives were insignificant enough to be thrown away for the dubious benefit of serving as a warning to others, hence they're little more than fleeting canaries.

    Basically, the story of this song as I see it is a man who awakens from a nightmare about something perhaps nebulously related to old friends he's lost. He makes a steam room out of his shower and childishly draws pictures in his mirror, wishing as he does so that he could just sprout wings and fly away. When the hot water runs out he stumbles into the other room and stares at himself in the reflection of the window, trying to remember his dream, and sees shapes in the shadows that remind him of his friends. He says their names three times to try to summon their spirits, but their lives were too meaningless to even haunt him. He can barely remember them or the dream he had about them. They're ghosts, clouds, and nameless things... and he wishes he could join them.

    It's an absolutely heart-wrenching song and it damned near made me cry the first time I heard it.
    basseron September 18, 2013   Link

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