"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Love was a promise made of smoke
In a frozen copse of trees
A bone cold and older than our bodies
Slowly floating in the sea

Every morning there were planes
The shiny blades of pagan angels in our father's skies
Every evening I would watch her hold the pillow
Tight against her hollows, her unholy child

I was still a beggar shaking out my stolen coat
Among the angry cemetery leaves
When they caught the king beneath the borrowed car
Righteous, drunk, and fumbling for the royal keys

Love was a father's flag and sung like a shank
In a cake on our leather boots
A beautiful feather floating down
To where the birds had shit on empty chapel pews

Every morning we found one more machine
To mock our ever waning patience at the well
Every evening she'd descend the mountain stealing socks
And singing something good where all the horses fell

Like a snake within the wilted garden wall
I'd hint to her every possibility
While with his gun the pagan angel rose to say,
"My love is one made to break every bended knee"


Lyrics submitted by sethbrown

"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis is a really great opening song.
    whatchamacallmeon June 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcan anyone put up the lyrics for the songs on this album that aren't up? i'm really bad at discerning words. those songs are "Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)", "The Devil Never Sleeps", and "Peace Beneath the City".
    coolcroweon July 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has an acidic tone to it, yet it is addictive and very sweet. Like a sweet orange picked off the tree.

    The meaning is irrelevant, but the artistry is not. I love the voice, the instrumentation, and the lyrics and it hits right to my heart.

    I love this song for what it is, and it may be the best song off of "Shepard's Dog".
    OpinionHeadon October 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbut what does it mean........it may forever be obscure to me
    manuelturcioson October 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI honestly think the last line refers to a militant atheist wanting to see all religion destroyed, particularly the western monotheisms. I sense that from the gun being used in the line and the quote the pagan angel made. His love breaks every bended knee means to me that the speaker suggests that love for humanity must be done without the self-imposed shackles of worship and those shackles must be set aside at any cost, be it even through violence ironically.

    I sort of think that this might be a diatribe against religious fervor and the war wrought by it in modern times. In the first stanza, "pagan angels in our father's skies" means to me that flying machines made my god-fearing yet godless men after fluttering around God's sky like they own it. I don't know if this entire interpretation is correct, but considering the other songs on the album and how others have interpreted them, I feel this to be somewhat correct.
    OpinionHeadon November 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti hear nick drake in this so much
    noone1111111111111111111on November 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPersonally i think this song is about a father who's changed or changing, from what he used to be in the eyes of his family. The sun watches as the "Pagan Angels" or diffrent behavior or veiws fly into his fathers mind.

    "Every evening I would watch her hold the pillow Tight against her hollows, her unholy child" i take that as the mother crying because the man she married is changing. The unholy child part i take as a feeling of some responsibility from the child. The lyrics about stealing and begging make me think that some amount of poverty is involved. Maybe even the father died or left the family.

    "When they caught the king beneath the borrowed car Righteous, drunk, and fumbling for the royal keys" In the whole song i take the Borrowed car to be the fathers mind or former state of being. The fact that its borrowed would me something or someone had taken it over. The king in this line furthers the drunken horrible father idea.

    The part about the machines also could be a metaphor for something but i'm not quite sure. I kinda somewhat take it as how modern technology is taking over and people are loosing a conectedness to nature. Also the Empty church pews would symbolize peopl loosing something also. Neway i could keep going but i think thats long enough. ha.
    Melthoron December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hear a lot of war references in this song, a child growing up in the midst of war. I keep thinking WWII, I get a picture of Nazis persecuting the Jews. The shiny blades of pagan angels were the war planes of the enemy. I see references to Hitler as the father, the King, and the lady descending the mountain to steal socks (take the basic necessities) and "singing something good where all the horses fell" by using propaganda to make all the terrible things going on seem like something good. He is also in the end the pagan angel, who with his gun will show love to his people by destroying religion and the Jews.

    That's just what I feel, but I agree the music is great and the song has a great beat to it. This whole album is full of great songs.
    DMCDon January 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think you guys are forgetting that sam said this whole album was supposed to be political. i think the royal drunken father is a reference to Bush. drunk from power but fumbling for the keys to his "borrowed" office that isn't really is but he doesn't know what he is doing with it
    marknolfion February 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I listen to it and then read the lyrics,its political to me. I think it has to do with 2 things.Its about a relationship during a war. Almost like hes describing the pagan angel (war) and borrowed car (love/relationship) they both have their good and bad. He talks about planes and things still being there not matter what. The long term affects. "my love is one to break every bended knee", that last lyric hits me. Like the pagan angel( no matter the good out of the war, is still going to ruin the love/relationship ) between those two people. Thats how I see it when I listen to it. But, he makes it sound positive. Almost like he's being sarcastic.
    music=stressfreeon December 27, 2008   Link

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