"Summersong" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Ramblin', where to begin
I taste the summer on your peppery skin
Been saved the warmer the waves
I felt a slip into a watery grave

My girl, linen and curls
Lips parting like a flag all unfurled
She's grand, the bend of her hand
Digging deep into the sweep of the sand

And summer arrives with a length of lights
And summer blows away
And quietly gets swallowed by a wave
It gets swallowed by a wave

Waylay, the din of the day
Boats bobbing in the blue of the bay
In deep far beneath
All the dead sailors slowly slipping to sleep

My girl, linen and curls
Lips parting like a flag all unfurled
She's grand, the bend of her hand
Digging deep into the sweep of the sand

And summer arrives with a length of lights
And summer blows away
And quietly gets swallowed by a wave
It gets swallowed by a wave
It gets swallowed by a wave
It gets swallowed by a wave


Lyrics submitted by coldengrey

"Summersong" as written by Colin Meloy

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Summersong song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI can definitely see the boat interpretation. I think though that he's be telling the story of his survival of the shipwreck to his girl here.

    "Rambling, where to begin?"
    He doesn't know how to start telling his story.

    "I tasted summer on your peppery skin"
    He's talking to his girl (who has a good amount of freckles, and he's referencing the brevity of time(see chorus)).

    "Been saved, the warm of the waves"
    He's telling her that he was rescued from the sea.

    "I felt a slip into a watery grave"
    Just as he was begining to slip away.


    "My girl, linen and curls"
    He's making sure he has the attention of his girl, then begins telling his tale.
    Linen sails (I saw someone was unsure of linen sails so... bruzelius.info/Nautica/Rigging/Sails/… )
    A curl can be used as a term for rope.

    "Lips parting like a flag all unfurled"
    Lips is indeed a Greek god, and his abandonment is like that of a flag unfurled.

    "She’s grand, the bend of her hand"
    A grand ship. Hand=Bow?

    "Digging deep into the sweep of the sand"
    Bow(?) hitting the sand.

    "Waylaid, the din of the day
    Boats bobbing in the blue of the bay"
    They're in the harbor at a busy time of a beautiful day and are being waylaid by something. Perhaps the conversation or the beauty of the bay?

    "In deep, far beneath
    All the dead sailors slowly slipping to sleep"
    And, of course, all of his unlucky shipmates that didn't make it.

    "And summer arrives with a length of light
    And summer blows away and quietly gets swallowed by a wave"
    Summer always seems to pass much more quickly than it should. Here he's realized the brevity of time and how quickly things can be stolen right from under your nose. Life; he almost drowned from a shipwreck.
    Love; he can already taste the summer on his girl's skin. He simply hoping that the love he has won't disappear like his life almost did.
    ThatUndiscoveredIslandon February 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMust say that I'm not all that enamoured with the new album either, but these lines:

    "My girl, linen and curls
    Lips parting like a flag all unfurled"

    are vintage Deceberists, wonderful.

    I really like this song, it reminds me a little of 'The Bachelor and the Bride' for some reason.
    caitsith01on October 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the character singing (not the girl) is dead, possibly one of the sailors "slipping to sleep". I imagine that he gets excited by summer because that's when his girl comes to the beach and lounges, "the bend of her hand" (or her wrist) digging into the sand evokes an image of her seated on the beach, leaning back and resting her weight on her hands. This seems the right mix of whimsy and tragedy for the Decemberists.
    n00ton October 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think anyone died in this song. In french, orgasms are called "la petite mort” which mean "little deaths". That whole first verse is clearly about sex. Of course, as I think someone mentioned before, it's just a summer thing.
    PirateQueenon November 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI never thought the death imagery was quite literal. death like, eh, quickly killing off the days of summer, summer's own death, things (like the romance) coming to an end in general. Slipping into a grave, slipping to sleep, all of that indicates a kind of peacefulness and sense of eternity, which will strike anyone who has laid in the embrace of a romantic interest (or maybe just me) as pretty familiar. I agree with an earlier comment: the song is like "Summer Nights" in Grease, with that sweet, sad rememberance of a summer romance.

    I must disagree with anyone who thinks that the decemberists are losing their lyrical edge. There was a great deal of complex, intellectual word choice in songs like "coccoon" on previous albums that now seems to be disappearing. Such words screamed, "hello, look at me! I am deep!" And they were deep, of course. But this. The contrasting imagery of vitality, radiance, drowning, and death explored in this song, the close correlation of love and destruction that only successfully gets explored by the best of poets. There is ALOT at work here.

    Decemberists lyrics aren't becoming weaker. They're becoming more subtle.
    turnejamon December 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmeaning it's awesome, not that its meaning is describing one
    girlfrombarcelonaon February 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBest song on the album? I'm glad the accordian made its appearance.
    amandapantson August 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Yankee Bayonet is my favorite, but this one is also very very good. I can't decide if the girl in this song is dead or not. I want to say not, though... I'd hate to think of Colin as getting formulaic. I just love the images he chooses in this song, so evocative.
    harukion August 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's more like a Grease thing almost, hes got the girl she's "grand" but then summer ends and away she goes, swallowed by a wave.
    Kreyopresnyon September 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe the girl is digging a grave for all the dead sailors... this could be the outcome of a war, and how the women have to dig their men graves and put them to sleep... or the men... enjoying summer have died and gotten swallowed by a wave. On the beach a few wash ashore and his love digs them graves.

    Too much if she dies, trying to hard to symbolize summer as love and it being swallowed by a wave...
    lindsayms14on September 09, 2006   Link

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