Johanna:
Green finch, and linnet bird,
Nightingale, blackbird,
How is it you sing?
How can you jubilate
sitting in cages
never taking wing?
Outside the sky waits
beckoning!
Beckoning!
Just beyond the bars...
How can you remain
staring at the rain
maddened by the stars?
How is it you sing
anything?
How is it you sing?
My cage has many rooms
damask and dark...
Nothing there sings,
not even my lark.
Larks never will, you know,
when they're captive.
Teach me to be more
adaptive.
Ah.....
Green Finch, and Linnet Bird,
nightingale, blackbird,
teach me how to sing.
If I cannot fly...
Let me sing.



Lyrics submitted by garnica456

Green Finch and Linnett Bird song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentLike I need to explain, but Johanna yearns for freedom but the Judge never lets her out or anything.
    Yeah...
    Beautiful work.
    hoping_alwayson May 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"Green finch, and linnet bird,
    Nightingale, blackbird"

    Finches, like canaries, are often caged as pets for their beauty and joyous songs. The caged songbird has long served as a symbol of repressed humanity, and the free bird as a symbol of liberty. It also symbolizes joy, simplicity, diversity, and happiness.

    Linnet has its origins in the Welsh and Old French languages. It is used largely in the English language. Old French origin: The name is derived from linotte (Lynette) in reference to the songbird; this word is itself derived from 'lin' referring to the usual diet of the bird. The name is often chosen for its symbolism of a beautiful lady.

    In literature, the nightingale represents melancholy and joy, love and loss, life and death. Nightingales particularly suggest love and longing. In Greek myth, the nightingale symbolizes beauty, immortality, and freedom from the world's troubles. Nightingales are known for singing in the nighttime, hence the name. In Greek and Roman myth, the nightingale also alludes to the Philomel (Philomela), whose tongue was cut out to prevent her from telling about her rape, and who was later turned into a nightingale by the gods to help her escape from death at the hands of her rapist. In Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", the nightingale symbolizes the immortality of love.

    In contrast, the blackbird represents temptation, desire, intelligence, thought, ideals, secrets, and inner depth.

    "How is it you sing?
    How can you jubilate
    sitting in cages
    never taking wing?"

    If you want to look at the birds symbolically, Johanna is using the birds as analogies to represent her own emotions. The "green finch" is Johanna's joy and happiness; the "linnet bird" is inner beauty; the "nightingale" is love and longing; and the "blackbird" is her desire, temptation, and inner depth. In asking why they "jubilate", Johanna is questioning why her own emotions are acting this way - especially while, meanwhile, she is watching Anthony from her bedroom window. "Sitting in cages / never taking wing?" means the cages within herself, kept there out of fear of revealing them outwardly in front of Judge Turpin. She cannot let her emotions "take wing" while under the care of Turpin. However, these emotions also "sing" for Johanna, a common phrase also used to describe experiencing strong emotions - especially romantic and sexual desire. The latter two are due to Johanna noticing Anthony on the street from down below, and feeling her emotions "sing" due to his presence.

    "Outside the sky waits
    beckoning!
    Beckoning!
    Just beyond the bars...
    How can you remain
    staring at the rain
    maddened by the stars?"

    See the above paragraph. Additionally, Johanna notes that the birds/emotions within her are "maddened by the stars". "Stars" could also be an analogy concerning Anthony's handsomeness, which Johanna notices from her window. In literature, stars are also used as symbols of beauty, especially considering the reference to J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" later in the song. Overall, Johanna notes that her emotions are "maddened" by Anthony and his outward beauty.

    "How is it you sing
    anything?
    How is it you sing?"

    Again, Johanna questions how her emotions can yet "sing", despite her dismal life of confinement in the Judge's house.

    "My cage has many rooms
    damask and dark...
    Nothing there sings,
    not even my lark."

    "My cage" refers both literally and figuratively to Johanna inside and out: she is kept in a "cage" of a room in Judge Turpin's house, while also keeping her emotions in a "cage" inside. "Nothing there ever sings" refers to Johanna's emotions before seeing Anthony on the street.

    The lark is known for its melodious singing, which indicates cheerfulness and reminds us to find joy in our own lives. Larks have a crescent shape across their breasts. The crescent shape often signifies lunar qualities, and the moon is often linked with the concept of self. Therefore the lark reflects the inward journey that’s often associated with self-discovery. This goes hand in hand with their singing, something that, for humans, is often considered a private activity and a deep reflection of inner self. Lark encourages us to explore our inner selves and sing out loud.

    Above all, however, the lark is a symbol of hope, happiness, and the coming of a new day. "Not even my lark" signifies that,up until this point, Johanna's "lark" - symbolic of her hope, most notably of getting to experience the outside world - has not "sung". This means that Johanna has not previously felt any hope that she would ever 'escape' the confines of Turpin's "cage".

    "Larks never will, you know,
    when they're captive.
    Teach me to be more
    adaptive."

    The "lark", or Johanna's hope, "never will" sing because it's "captive". Johanna, however, wishes to learn to be more "adaptive", pleading with herself to learn how to hope again. Additionally, this could also mean pleading with herself to learn how to better adapt to the gloomy and solitary existence of being Turpin's ward.

    "Green Finch, and Linnet Bird,
    nightingale, blackbird,
    teach me how to sing."

    Johanna is once again pleading with herself - and most notably, her emotions - to teach her how to "sing". She feels her emotions "singing" within her inner "cage", and desperately wishes to learn from them how to "sing" as well. She wants to be able to show her true feelings for Anthony, despite being in her physical "cage", and wishes for the courage and inhibition - the freedom - to do so.

    "If I cannot fly...
    Let me sing."

    This is a very important quote, as it references J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan". There is a quote from Peter Pan that goes, "If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” This quote equates singing to the freedom and uplift that flying brings. When it comes to human beings, humans cannot really fly [except with a lot of gadgets, external paraphernalia,...] but we love and fantasize about the freedom of flying, soaring high, unhindered, and unfettered. That same feeling is sought in singing. The speaker believes this can be brought on by singing as well - the uplifting feeling, freedom, connection with one's inner self/soul.

    Overall, "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" is a reflection of Johanna discovering her inner self, and seeing the reflection of her inner self as well.
    Obversaon October 19, 2014   Link

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