Hear the chimes, did you know that the wind when it blows
It is older than Rome and all of this sorrow
See the new Pyramids down in old Manhattan
From the roof of a friend I watched an empire ending
Heard it loud and long, the river's song
Time marching on, to a mad man's drum

Don't forget what you've learned
All you give is returned
And if life seems absurd
What you need is some laughter
And a season to sleep
And a place to get clean
Maybe Los Angeles
Somewhere no one's expecting

On a detox walk
Over Glendale Park
Over sidewalk chalk
Some rope read "start over"

So I muffle my scream
On an Oxnard beach
Full of fever dreams that scare me sober
Into saltless dinners

Take the fruit from the tree, break the skin with your teeth
Is it bitter or sweet all depends on your timing
Like a meeting of chance
With the train station glance
Many lifetimes have passed in a instant reminded
Of a millstone house in a seaside town
When your heart gave out in a mission bed

So your wife gave birth to a funeral dirge
You woke up purged as a wailing infant
In Krug Thep, Thailand

Hear the chimes, did you know that the wind when it blows
It is older than Rome and our joy and our sorrow



Lyrics submitted by jeff_cassadaga, edited by kmacp

"Cleanse Song" as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Cleanse Song song meanings
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64 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment:Shoot, I live in Santa Barbara (about 20 minutes north of Oxnard) and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that I would NOT pick any of the beaches down there if I was trying to get clean. Also dated a girl from Omaha for a while and wouldn't pick anywhere near there...
    The Ligeron April 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:shamu1001, please refrain from speaking again.

    this song is very pretty. one of my favorites on cassadaga. conor is getting older and wiser. this song shows it. good stuff.
    wuhwuhwolfon April 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Is it just me, or does anyone else get a feeling like they've been "cleansed" after listening to this song? It's insane how much Bright Eyes sound has evolved, in general Conor went from writing more depressing songs to songs that are full of hope. Ahh, this song makes me so happy. & it sounds like Conor has found some sort of happiness. :]
    michelle__x3on May 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:The last line makes me cry every time I hear it, without fail.

    Our joy and sorrow are completely transitory and insignificant.
    What could be sadder and at the same time more beautiful than that?
    xlimetreeon January 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I think its about getting sober and considering reincarnation to help cope with the helpless and insignificant feelings associated with trying to get off of whatever shit you're fucked up on. if i had written the song i would have said exactly that and I'm very grateful that someone already knew what i was thinking and did it themselves much better then i would have. Conor does that alot. I love being able to relate to so many of his songs, especially because there's almost nothing vague about them. Makes me feel like I'm not the first person in the world to think about this stuff. i have trouble remembering that sometimes.
    CORPSErawron May 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:how come nobody has commented on it....has nobody else heard it? it's amazing!
    jeff_cassadagaon March 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i haven't heard this yet.

    i don't cassadaga sent to me until tuesday, and i'm trying to keep as much surprise as i can for the first time i'm able to hear the album.
    lovenothing__on March 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:The ads on the side of this page say "Colon Cleanse" haha.

    But anyways, I really like this song. It's not my favorite on Cassadaga, but it's really good.
    triple07on March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:some rope read "start over" not startle
    Tfil7on March 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:into saltless dinners i dont know where the hell you got fears from
    Tfil7on March 30, 2007   Link

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