That sidewalk is a river that I've fished dry
Oh that sidewalk is a river that I've fished dry
And now it's my heavy hand filling the brim
And it hauled me out of their brim
But my coat of arms burns stronger still
My coat of arms burns stronger still
And foreign tongue ties me here
Foreign tongue ties me here
So hang my slips out with the words between the lines
I'll hang my slips out with the words between the lines
And bow my head to their ear
Bow my head to those ears
I'll never tiptoe across my home ever again
I'll never tiptoe across my home ever again
Ever again ever again ever again ever again
Ever again ever again ever again ever again
And foreign tongue ties me here
Foreign tongue ties me here


Lyrics submitted by holbytla, edited by smallwonderrobot

Foreign Tongue song meanings
Add your thoughts

4 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Commentthis song has some of the most clever double meanings i've ever heard in a song.

    first there's the obvious "foreign tongue ties me here" which implies not only that this foreign language of a foreign land has kept her there (in Europe one would suppose) but also that this foreign world leaves her tongue tied.

    my favorite line though is definitely: "So hang my slips out with the words between the lines"
    i'm guessing this came from the European practice of hanging laundry out your window. she hangs out her slips (which are already the most secretive article of clothing and I bet not as commonly displayed depending on the modesty of the culture) out on the laundry line, but of course, also lets her secrets slip out (Freud-style if you will) between the words she speaks. of course, like that famous saying goes you are supposed to read the words between the lines. god i love that line.
    sparsedignityon January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionThere are two corrections, "their realm" instead of "the brim" in the 4th line, and "those years" instead of "the ears". Those are some slips on the line;)

    That sidewalk is a river that I fished dry
    Oh that sidewalk is a river that I fished dry
    And now it's my heavy hand filling the brim
    And it hauled me out of their realm

    (Our mental and physical constructs represent a dried out version of what is real and feel, how the water that once flowed freely we now work for, chasing current..See? (Currency)
    Our work to maintain this fiction pulls us out of the realm of connected earth based water vessels...)

    But my coat of arms burns stronger still
    But my coat of arms burns stronger still

    Yet there is the undeniable blood of connection with all this narrow beautiful stream of dream known as life...

    And foreign tongue ties me here
    Foreign tongue ties me here

    Our spells trap us, our spellings give meanings to our sounds, yet these measured syllables can never speak of Natures beauty, for She speaks with the sound of the bubbling brook and we speak this foreign tongue of separation and judgement, and in speaking it we attract the cords that tie us.

    So hang my slips out with the words between the lines
    Oh hang my slips out with the words between the lines
    And bow my head to their ears
    Bow my head to those years

    (Listen to her transition beyond the words, the surrender to the metaphor and the hope that we hear planet speaking through her. We do, and bowing our head to those years of disconnected human presence here...we turn and walk strongly into the garden.)

    I'll never tip-toe across my home ever again
    I'll never tip-toe across my home ever again

    (We walk boldly as loving presence on this planet, gracefully in tending edens return...)

    Ever again
    Ever again

    And foreign tongue ties me here
    Foreign tongue ties me here
    edensreturnon February 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI really love this song because I feel that it is about environmental conviction. She is convicted by society's "coat of arms." Whenever I go to visit my sister in Milwaukee, WI I see the artificial, concrete, sidewalk river that runs through her backyard. I see plastic bottles flow through the black water and I think, what have we done to my Lord's creation? I feel conviction and it makes me sad. It's is a personal call to action. When she says bow my head to their ears I think of conforming to an idea which is not sustainable to our world but is viewed in a false light. My favorite part of the song is when she says "I'll never tip toe across my home again." I used to live in Milwaukee and when I visit the city no longer feels the same. Alela's voice is beautiful and I love this song!!!!!
    goodlyricson March 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about fear, fear of stepping into the world and not being understood by it. About overcoming that fear but never really defeating it, hence the line foreign tongue keeps me here at the end again.
    humptieon December 20, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain