"The Crane Wife 3" as written by and Colin Meloy....
And under the boughs unbowed
All clothed in a snowy shroud
She had no heart so hardened
All under the boughs unbowed

Each feather it fell from skin
'Til threadbare while she grew thin
How were my eyes so blinded?
Each feather it fell from skin

And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low

A gray sky, a bitter sting
A rain cloud, a crane on wing
All out beyond horizon
A gray sky, a bitter sting

And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low
And I will hang my head, hang my head low


Lyrics submitted by Nodima

"The Crane Wife 3" as written by Colin Meloy

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The Crane Wife 3 song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis song is just lovely. It's about as remorseful as you can get, but at the end it almost sounds...determined, if that makes any sense. Probably because it's based off of a fable, it feels like the morality of it all is puncuated, and that the narrator himself is forcing himself to fully confront the wrongness of his actions.

    Or, it's just telling the end of the story. Beautiful song.
    Richard_6on September 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe man who gains a wife that is secretly an animal and then loses his wife because he finds out her true identity is a common theme in Japanese folklore. An even more common theme is that a man disobeys a command given him by his wife, usually not to look at her while she is doing something which reveals her supernatural nature, this discovery leading to their separation. A great deal, though by no means all, of Japanese folktales end in this bittersweet sadness left in the wake of the wife's parting. This aesthetic is called "mono no aware", meaning something like "tragic beauty that comes from the bittersweet sadness of things".
    Nurarihyonon February 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis song is about the last part of the story of folk tale of The Crane Wife when the husband's curiosity gets the better of him and he has to look in on his wife doing her work to discover how she is creating the beautiful silken cloth with no thread or materials other than her loom. Finding the crane in that room and seeing her ripping out her feathers to weave them into the cloth he realizes she is the crane who he saved. Watching her fly away he is filled with regret and shame ("And, I will hang my head... hang my head low.") knowing that he was causing her harm despite his love for her.
    timorousmeon May 14, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt sounds more like he says "bowsunbow" to me, though i've never heard of either words "bowsunbelle" or "bowsunbow." The second line should be "all clothed in a snowy shroud" instead of "I'll hold in the snowy shroud"

    Then I think he says "bitter stain" rather than "bitter skin" followed by "a rain cloud, a crane on me" I'm not sure if it is "on me" though I am sure it is Crane rather than rain. Then, "All out beyond horizon," not "behind"
    That he says "stain" makes sense because in track 9 (crane wife 1 and 2) he says "it was a white crane it was a helpless thing upon a red stain with an arrow in its wing"

    Good song, but curiosity leads me to wonder why they decided to order the album so that part 3 to the Crane Wife story comes before parts one and two.
    RemyLebeauon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhere are the comments?!!!!!!!!?!?!?! i love this song so much my god! that melody, that instrumentation... sorry to gush but jesus
    hab204on September 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmakes my heart cry and smile at once
    farewell2RMSon September 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*punctuated
    Richard_6on September 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou know it's going to be a good album when its first song makes you cry and smile at the same time. (Sorry, but farewell2RMS took the words right out of my mouth.) I do believe the Decemberists have done it again.
    musicforlife!on September 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor the first verse, I hear-

    And under the boughs unbound
    All clothed in a snowy shroud
    She had no heart so hardened
    All under the boughs unbound


    And for the third verse I hear-

    A grey sky, a bitter sting
    A rain could, a crane on wing
    All out beyond horizon
    A grey sky, a bitter sting


    Anywho, I think this song is really amazing and I've been listening to it for over half an hour now.
    aqon September 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTry 'under the boughs unbowed'
    lostpencilon September 25, 2006   Link

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