"Kingdom of the Animals" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Jenny was gone
And the moon blooms
All shining
As we dragged our panic
Up and down the riverbed
Sweating wild and weird
In our Sunday clothes

Jenny was gone
Though I thought that I knew her
And the rain came howling
Out of Virginia
Blue tick blowing the water
Out her nose

Jenny and me in the front row
And singing about how heaven calls
The kingdom of the animals all
And all revealed to us one day

Jenny and me on the hilltop
And peeking at all their upturned bottles
Jumping like leopards
Jaw hearp teasing the brushfire in its rage

Jenny came back
And the wet road still shining in our eyes
An angel clear and coronal
Clothed in all that's prodigal and strange

Jenny came back
And I thought that I heard her
Murmur something about
No men in Virginia
Spat on the ground
Like a letter tossed away

Jenny and me in my dead truck
And turning over
Just where heaven calls
The kingdom of the animals
Scratching our heads
Where the wolf would go to lay

Jenny and me as the moon blooms
Were closing and both her wide-eyed brothers
Running like shepherds
Dreaming the heat of the fields
All in flames


Lyrics submitted by smallwonderrobot

"Kingdom of the Animals" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Kingdom of the Animals song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAn amazing B-side I would skip for a year before I let it play one day to my amazement..


    This song show Sam's creativity at its best..a story about a childhood friend who got physically and possibly spiritually lost and found. The imagery is BIblical, with a memory centering on a hymn sung with her by the narrator describing the Flood, and tying it into the story when referencing the physical storm during the search, the emotional storm it caused the town, the alienation of predatory animals on Noahs ark representing her defiant spirit, and throwing in passing beast characters, like the blue tick hound, the leopard, the wolf..The brushfire reminding us of the story of Moses..

    LIke so many of his songs, again, Sam Beam just showing how brilliant of a writer he is, being able to tell a story poetically, and paint the picture of it lyrically with metaphorical imagery and double meanings..Amazing stuff.
    mcallen100on May 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe he kept this one off of the new LP and relegated it to a non-album B-Side single. It would have made all the fans of the old stuff so much happier - even though I love the new stuff. It's pretty much sounds like a plugged in version of something he might of made three years ago.
    phizzalon September 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis reminds me of The Trapeze Swinger a bit.
    prussianvirtueon May 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was thinking the same thing, prussian... the reflection on earlier times, and the sense of something lost or past. It's incredibly nostalgic.
    coolcroweon June 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know when this was written, but it seems like beam is getting more complex in his songwriting. I'm liking it.
    cd phattyon June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this was a B-side to 2007's Boy With A Coin.

    Cyberghoston July 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI took the reference to "sunday clothes" and "in the front row singing about how heaven calls" to interpret the song about Jenny a girl that the narrator grew up going to church with as a child. She ended up leaving the faith to find herself and then returned to the "flock" (wide eyed brothers running like Shepherds).
    kelsleannon January 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThese are really interesting lyrics. It’s too bad there aren’t more entries here. Anyway, here’s how I pieced my way through it:

    "Jenny was gone, And the moon blooms all shining. As we dragged our panic up and down the riverbed, Sweating wild and weird in our Sunday clothes."

    I assume “moon blooms” refers to some kind of moonflower. It is open at the beginning of the song and closes at the end. This stanza seems to indicate that Jenny suddenly disappeared. It sounds like they were dragging the lake for her body. I assume Jenny and the singer are young, so this was a “wild and weird” experience.

    "Jenny was gone, though I thought that I knew her. And the rain came howling out of Virginia
    Blue tick blowing the water out her nose."

    Blue tick refers to a Blue Tick Coonhound who was helping to find her. I guess he’s confused that she would disappear.

    "Jenny and me in the front row And singing about how heaven calls The kingdom of the animals. All and all revealed to us one day."

    These next two stanzas seem to take place in the past, before Jenny disappeared, when they were younger.

    I think this addresses the confusion that can be found in religion (or simply of childhood). At some point someone wonders what happens to animals when they die. Is there a “Kingdom of the Animals” in the same way as a “Kingdom of Heaven”. They ask a lot of questions, but finally get the response that everything will be revealed to them, probably in the afterlife.

    "Jenny and me on the hilltop And peeking at all their upturned bottles, Jumping like leopards
    Jaw harp teasing the brushfire in its rage."

    Seems like Jenny and him were peeking in on a party where people were dancing after drinking a lot. Jaw harp (or “Jew’s Harp”) is twangy southern sounding instrument. This is the first of two references a brush fire. Perhaps when fields are burnt at the end of the year.

    "Jenny came back, And the wet road still shining. In our eyes, an angel clear and coronal
    Clothed in all that's prodigal and strange."

    Jenny wasn’t lost after all – she ran away. Since they thought she was dead, she appears like an angel. She’s different now and compared to The Prodigal’s Son.

    "Jenny came back, And I thought that I heard her Murmur something about no men in Virginia. Spat on the ground like a letter tossed away."

    I guess an indication that Jenny ran off with a guy who let her down. Again, she’s different now. The singer though that he knew her, but now he doesn’t.

    "Jenny and me in my dead truck And turning over just where heaven calls The kingdom of the animals Scratching our heads where the wolf would go to lay."

    I suppose this takes place after her return. They are older, but still wondering how “The Kingdom of the Animals” would work. Where would the wolf lay down? Next to the sheep?

    "Jenny and me as the moon blooms were closing, And both her wide-eyed brothers
    Running like shepherds Dreaming the heat of the fields all in flames."

    Jenny, the narrator, and her brothers running and dreaming about the brushfire. Time has past (the moon blooms close), and they remember the events of their childhood. It feels like the singer wants to go back to the times before Jenny left and everything changed.
    clovuson December 18, 2013   Link

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