The day I knew you’d not come back
I built this castle out of glass
But I could never understand
Where the windows and walls began and end
No, I could never understand
Where the windows and walls began and end

I built this colonnade of sand
Stretched out like fingers from my hand
With the waves coming in
In the morning, I had to build again
With the waves coming in
In the morning, I had to build again

The day I knew you’d not come back
I built this castle out of glass
But I could never understand
Where the windows and walls began and end
No, I could never understand
Where the windows and walls began and end


Lyrics submitted by constant, edited by peter72395

The Day I Knew You'd Not Come Back song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful. It's the kind of song that I can't listen to without singing throughout the day. It makes me think of the death of a loved one (more so a lover) although it could really be about losing someone to any cause.
    When you know that they'll never be back again, you feel that you just cannot understand it. You try and hide within yourself, but your feelings can be seen by anyone who cares to look (like a person who lives in a glass home.. or castle). In the beginning, attempts to re-build your life never seem to work out, like sand being washed away by the waves.
    And so ends my first post ever.
    Endless_Rainon January 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVery unusual for the band. Sounds like it was done after listening to a lot of cool jazz. Interesting jammed-out thing. Not characteristic of this band, but beautiful. I think it was done at the same session as "The Perfect Crime #1", but Colin doesn't sound drunk on this one. Then again, he didn't sound *completely* wasted on the other...
    Cynothoglyson January 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm pretty certain that "colony" is supposed to be "colonnade." A colonnade is a series of pillars- Which goes along with the whole "castle" lyric in the first verse.
    AlGoreRhythmson December 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. I think it's really amazing that they can have so many different sounds and still sound like themselves. You can get this song and The Perfect Crime #1 here mp3skull.com/mp3/…
    gabibbon February 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song ventures far from where the Decemberists usually go with their songs, which might be part of why it was removed from The Crain Wife. The beautiful slow jam is about the realization of loss and it's represented through the metaphor of the castle made of glass or sand. The castle is like the sense of denial, and how refusing the truth is a way of protecting yourself.

    The glass castle shows the distortion of reality from inside the castle. the real world outside the castle, as seen through the window, looks the same as world seen through the glass walls. In this way the glass castle, the rejection of the loss, becomes the same as the reality.

    his second image is the sand castle in the waves. The castle is the belief that someone might come back which becomes shattered over and over again be a greater inevitable force. The image of the fingers in the sand soaking in the waves is so clear, but also forms a metaphor.

    This song, although originally recorded separately from The Perfect Crime #1, and if you look at it on the Decemberists website you can see they are listed as different tracks, however when it was released through the Starbucks Bonus Tracks, it was grouped together with The Perfect Crime #1, which makes me think that they were not intended to be thought of as two halves of a whole. However, when put together, this song really makes the Perfect Crime #1 look much more sad. It seems more like it's a juvenile attempt at rejecting this same idea of loss. As if it's about stealing "you" back, and then The Day I knew You Would Not Come Back is the realization that it's impossible.
    peter72395on January 22, 2015   Link

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