I once saw a dragonfly
Caught in a spider's web
As I looked at her once more
I thought that she was dead

So I left her alone & I went on my way
& I was dreaming of Paris & Pierre Boulez
But she called to me with a beat of her wing
She called to me & said free me

She said come & fly away with me tonight

I've been up there before
Riding the wind & laughing & open
(til one day that great big black came pushing me down into sticky traps)
But now I am afraid of flying
I am afraid of finding the black again

Come & fly away with me tonight


Lyrics submitted by WoodenPirate

Dragonfly song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWow, I'm surprised nobody has commented on this song yet, it's beautiful!

    The first time I heard this song I decided it was about heartbreak... or more specifically the aftermath of it. It is about the point at which you'd like to think you're "doing just fine" but in reality you still haven't gotten completely over being hurt so badly, and therefore refuse to take risks. However, I should point out that I think this song is a positive take on that situation, in that it represents the point where something tempts you out of your post-breakup comfort zone and reawakens your emotions.

    Following this logic, I think that when the speaker first sees the dragonfly she doesn't see/ doesn't want to see that they are reflections of each other... we see the dragonfly seemingly destroyed and thus the speaker starts to leave her behind (perhaps symbolic of the speaker's denial of her state.) Yet she *isn't* dead, and ironically it is the dragonfly that encourages the speaker to "fly away with me tonight" in spite of her apparently hopeless position.

    To me the next bit of the song suggests most strongly that it is about heartbreak. I think that most people who have found genuine love with another person, only to have it end badly can relate to the sentiment of this verse. "Riding the wind and laughing and open" reminds me of the seemingly limitless joy of being with someone you love and the subsequent lines echo what it feels like to lose that, as well as the fear of having it all happen again that can sometimes develop ("I am afraid of finding the black again".) However this verse also proves the most problematic in that it is somewhat hard to tell whether or not the point of view belongs to the dragonfly or the speaker. I like to think that it is the speaker's point of view in response to the dragonfly's offer. She *has* flown before because she's been in love.

    Lyrically, it is unclear whether or not she (the speaker) let's go of these fears, but the general mood of the song makes me think that she has. The repeated line at the end also seems to support this, I think. The repeated temptation to just let go, and give it a try again-- because ultimately flying (in this case, love) is worth the risk.

    And *that* is my very lengthy opinion on this song! : )
    AdiuvaMeon January 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't stop listening to this song.
    I'm so glad I'm going to see her in March.
    jxnarcoticzon February 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAdiuvaMe, I think you are right on. I was thinking that before reading your interpretation and now reading it well, I strongly believe it's about that.

    This is my favourite song right now.
    stentorianon February 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I've had this album for a few months and I *still* can't stop listening. I can't wait to see My Brightest Diamond (and the Decemberists, for whom they are opening) in March-- :)
    AdiuvaMeon February 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAdiuvaMe, I was at the March 21st Decemberists/MBD show! How cool!
    And it was the best show I've been to yet.
    jxnarcoticzon May 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with AdiuvaMe that this song could very likely be a methaphor for love.
    But seeing as how I've never really been in love, I never really looked at it that way...

    Dragonfly kind of reminds me of Eisley's 'Tree Tops'. So to me it has a similar meaning. Like not being afraid to "fly" or be who you are, being yourself.
    The 'black' could be depression (I know, EVER song is about depression on this website), but maybe the speaker is afraid to fly because the higher you fly the harder, you fall... which could apply to relationships or just life in general... like I said.

    Like a lot of songs of the album it's about leaving... or being left. I love it!
    goforgustoon May 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about a traumatic event in the character's life, not just the breakup of a relationship.
    so_realon February 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentP.S. I think in the end it's about moving on with your life, even if you are scared of "that black."
    so_realon February 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVery interesting with the Paris/Pierre Boulez reference. I wonder if it means something in the context of the song. And who is Pierre Boulez, anyway?
    mister care-too-muchon April 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBoulez is a 20th C french composer. lmgtfy.com/

    after a bit more googling i found this excerpt from an interview by The Indie Handbook:

    TIH: How would you say your classical training has influenced your songwriting?

    SW: Honestly, the singing, I don’t think about it at all. But at the beginning of the writing process for Shark’s Teeth, I was listening to a lot of Boulez and so I was trying to write songs, more so trying not to be prescriptive of the songs, not dictating the form of the songs. Allowing the harmony to take it to a different place, or not having repeated choruses or kind of trying to find different ways of setting the text, so in a certain way the texts was more important, the texts and the harmonies were the priorities. You can see that with songs like “Goodbye Forever” or “If I Were Queen”.

    so that may be part of the answer. but also i notice that there's a joke in the pronunciation: so far as i remember, Boulez does actually pronounce his name with a Z as in Zebra. one would might expect a silent Z as in Chez Moi. So when i this verse, i expect 'Boulez' to rhyme with 'Way' (like 'Chez') form the previous line; which it does not...

    :-)
    stratphillon July 07, 2010   Link

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