"The Crane Wife 1 and 2" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Part I

It was a cold night
And the snow lay around
I pulled my coat tight
Against the falling down
And the sun was all
And the sun was all down
And the sun was all
And the sun was all down

I am a poor man
I haven't wealth nor fame
I have my two hands
And a house to my name
And the winter's so
And the winter's so long
And the winter's so
And the winter's so long

And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I'd found

It was a white crane
It was a helpless thing
On a red stain
With an arrow its wing
And it called and cried
And it called and cried so
And it called and cried
And it called and cried so

And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I'd found
My crane wife, my crane wife
My crane wife, my crane wife

And how I helped her
And how I dressed her wounds
And how I held her
Beneath the rising moon
And she stood to fly
And she stood to fly away
And she stood to fly
She stood to fly away

And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I'd found
My crane wife, my crane wife
My crane wife, my crane wife

Part II

My crane wife arrived at my door in the moonlight
All star bright and tongue-tied I took her in
We were married and bells rang sweet for our wedding
And our bedding was ready when we fell in

Sound the keening bell
To see it's painted red
Soft as fontanel
The feathers in the thread
When all I ever meant to do was to keep you
My crane wife
My crane wife
My crane wife

We were poorly, our fortunes fading hourly
And how she vowed me she could bring it back
But I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving
On a cold loom, in a closed room, with down wove

Sound the keening bell
To see it's painted red
Soft as fontanel
The feathers in the thread
And all I ever meant to do was to keep you
My crane wife
My crane wife

There's a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
It rakes at my heart

My crane wife


Lyrics submitted by Nodima

The Crane Wife 1 and 2 song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThese lyrics are pretty straight forward to me, probably because I remember being read "The Crane Wife", or a story close to it, in grade school. Basically, a poor man finds a crane in his yard with an arrow through it - The man helps the crane get better, then sends it off. Shortly after, A woman shows up at his door - they get married, and to help with the money, she weaves cloth.
    However, she makes her husband promise to never enter the room while she weaves her cloth. One day, the man gives in to his curiosity and enters the room, only to find the woman is in fact the crane, plucking feathers out of herself to weave in to cloth. She then flies away, never to be seen again.

    That covers the 3 parts - It's not quite perfect, but something like that.
    dnowikon August 21, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhen I first looked over the lyrics, I thought it was a metaphor for a lonely boy, who found a heartbroken girl, took care of her and nursed her back to happiness, then became greedy and wanted to control her, then she left him..

    But the Japanese folk tale works better. Ha.
    Your_Hand_In_Mineon December 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"and then colin cried so."
    ha.
    dnowikon September 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I was listening to it for the first time in my car and had to pull over because I was bawling!"

    Im glad it not just me then! I havnt bawled (I'm a man you know) but powerful is certainly is. In fact I have only just got into the decemberists and have the last two albums. Amazing. This track has so many meanings and could be adapted to any story in any genre. Colin has done a great job, adding a bit more detail to the most basic parts of the song.
    giantdragon March 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt is just so amazing to me how Colin can sit down and take a Japanese folktale and turn it into the most beautifully written, just fkn amazing song. It makes me cry EVERYTIME I listen to it, and that has to be at least once a day, anytime I'm in the car...or the shower, haha. But seriously, if you don't know the story and you like the song, Google it, damnit! And it will change EVERYTHING. I used to ask my boyfriend, 'What is a 'Crane Wife'?' and he said he didn't know...I looked it up, listened to the the songs again and was so moved. GENIUS!

    My favorite, the most moving part...

    Sound the keening bell (bell for a funeral)
    To see it's painted red (her blood)
    Soft as fontanel (soft spot on a newborn's head)
    The feathers in the thread (the feathers she plucked out)
    When all I ever meant to do was to keep you (MAKES ME CRY LIKE A BABY!!)

    Oh, and also...

    There's a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
    There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
    It rakes at my heart

    PROBABLY THE MOST AMAZING SONGS I HAVE EVER HEARD...PART II IS MY FAVORITE AS WELL...DAMN THIS IS GREAT STUFF!
    fatallygorgeous24on April 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving
    On a cold loom, in a closed room down the hall
    Imposs1bleon August 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShould be:
    "Now I helped her
    And I dressed her wounds"

    Even rhymes better...:)
    Svrakataon August 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPart 1 is definitely my favorite song on the new album!
    SheepNutzon August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoesn't he give the twist away too early with:

    As I laid eyes on what I'd found
    My crane wife, my crane wife

    Though I suppose he's singing retrospectively. Great song
    _Snowmanon August 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentguys..

    it's fontAnelle instead of "fontenelle".

    (=

    thiago.
    thiagozeroon September 04, 2006   Link

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