"Eagle on a Pole" as written by and Conor Oberst....
Saw an eagle on a pole,
I think it was an eagle.
Watched its' shadow fly 'cross the cement.
And I woke up in the snow,
All the trees, and crowds, and people.
No shirt, no shoes, no idea where they went.

I followed the fenceline thin,
Back where the yard begins
My woman, she stood crying like a man.
Said, where have you been?
Where have you been?
I thought you said that all of that was done.
El Cielo es azul,
Just don't go telling everyone

Thought the kettle was a train.
Thought that Monday was a door-frame.
Tried so hard to finally settle down.
Heard the fire pop and snap.
Like a tack piano rag.
I never could get used to happy sounds.

Yeah, I hope the world's exposed.
A cruel and elaborate hoax.
It convinces me to walk without a cane.
But what can you do?
Child, what can you do?
I always heard that what is done is done.
El Cielo es azul,
Just don't go telling everyone

The past don't ever quit.
There's boxes in the attic.
Baby shoes and taxidermy dream.
While the ashes of the dead, like a dandelion head,
Explode and then are scattered by the breeze.
We're such a long way back to all the fun that we had.
When nothing ever seemed to bother me.
But what can you do?
Brother, what can you do?
Sleep with the stars, and toil in the sun.

El Cielo es azul,
Just don't go telling everyone
El Cielo es azul,
Just don't go telling everyone

Lyrics submitted by lovenothing__, edited by kutekath27

"Eagle on a Pole" as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Eagle on a Pole song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis song, without a doubt is about a drug relapse. This is not to say that it is Conor specifically, but it could be.

    Heres why:

    1.)I followed the fence line thin
    Back where the yard begins
    My woman, she stood crying like a man
    Said, "where have you been
    Where have you been?"
    I thought you said that all of that was done

    - he is walking back from a place where he has been using, literally describing the fence which lines the yard. "I thought you said that all of that was done" Could it be anymore obvious?

    2.)El Cielo es azul - "the sky is blue"

    - This is an obvious statement of fact. Oberst is saying that the relapse is as obvious as the sky is blue, but just don't go telling everyone. And it helps that the phrase sounds pretty in spanish (the album was recorded in Mexico).

    3.)Thought the kettle was a train
    Thought that Monday was a door frame
    I tried so hard to finally settle down
    Heard the fire pop and snap
    Like a tack piano rag
    I never could get used to happy sounds

    - The lines about the train and door frame are clearly hallucinations. Further, he says "I never could get used to happy sounds". I believe this is a refrence to the last bright eyes album cassadega which Conor was 100% clean on. Much of the music on Cassadega is lighter, and much more hopeful (aka "happier sounds").

    4.)But I hope the world's exposed
    A cruel and elaborate hoax
    That convinces me to walk without a cane

    - This is the line that really shows what the song is about. "convinces me to walk without a cane" The cane are drugs, he needs the drugs to cope with a world that is an elaborate hoax, and if the world is revealed as being such he will no longer need his cane (drugs).

    One of the best songs on the album.
    bpm5045on August 20, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenta vague interpretation:
    It's about doubting his reality. He knows he doesn't see things the same way the others do. Why do you think he's so detached all the time. If your on drugs and in a particular mood and you look at the sky, a realization such as ''The sky...is blue'' even though it is a common fact, echoes in your mind with various meanings, as a metaphore, as an absurd truth that, it doesnt make sense people don't stop in the middle of the street to stare up at and debate. I think he sometimes thinks he's one of the only lonely ones who takes the time to realize that that beautiful sky above is actually sad. Like a kid who realizes his mother is depressed and tells his little sister about his observation. '' Just dont go telling everyone.''

    I dont think he truly feels the desire to walk back by the fence line. Because he's going back to where he's already been. Something he's already analysed. And he realizes, as the woman he knows cries: whats the difference between female and male? We still feel the same human emotions yet draw such a line as if we did not. a thin line, like that of the fence he just followed. Like all lines traced in this crazy, crazy world of boudaries and limitations inscribed into dictionaries,rule sheets, governement aprooved books etc etc.

    She asks 'where have you been?' because he's been off walking in his own self absorbtion. And he's the kinda guy that when he comes back, people are always on his case as if it wasnt enough just to breathe. They all need to organize. Know what's where. And have a good hold on whats been happening, or else they dont feel safe. He's learned he can't change the way that the people around him think and function, though its sensless to him, and since he's detached himself from that and sees how those people are still tied to kettles (manners,) and Monday (concrete squares and boundaries. factual concepts. dedlines. titles. names) he doubts all of them, which makes it hard for him to 'settle down' like the American Dream tells you to do because he can poke so many holes into it and doesnt value it as most do.

    He thinks happiness is a disguise.
    Happiness in the world which says 'its allright its allright' as if he werent suffering, as if it was easy to go about, and walk. (without a cane)

    ''But...what can you do?'' even though you realize things, even though you name the sky. You can't change the entire world to suite your interpretation of what existence 'should be' and he probably wishes he could.

    Nostalgic of his childhood state. Which is probably why he does drugs, whe he analyses so much too. Because he always wants to keep being amazed. Like the happy child the world has brainwashed him into not being anymore.

    theres the vague interpratation
    dearsonneton December 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe's saying "El Cielo es azul." Which means, "The sky is blue."

    BTW, the first two verses sound like their about immigration to me. But not the rest.
    NiQon February 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh i thought he was saying el cielo is the sun
    i hate finding out that i have been saying something wrong
    but good thing i found out
    this make ss somuch more sence
    ParkerEloiseon July 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCielo also means heaven in Spanish.
    waitingforsundayon July 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentchild, what can you doooooo
    tyygeron July 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe sky is blue
    just dont go telling anyone
    jethrothekidon July 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhere it says "no shirt, no shoes" he's actually saying "no coat, no shoes", and it's "don't go telling everyone" not anyone.

    but whatever way, it's probably one of my favorites off the upcoming album. i'm really excited for it.

    idk if this is relevant, but the part "My woman, she stood crying like a man/ So where have you been?/ Where have you been?/ I thought you said that all of that was done." makes it sound like he's been lying about where he was and makes me think of like drugs or cheating or something? i wonder what it's really about..
    a simple wishon July 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"El cielo es azul just don't go telling anyone" seems like a beautiful sentiment, like trying to hide the obvious or the concrete truth.

    But part of me feels like it's just one of the phrases Conor learned in his "How To Speak Spanish Volume 1" cassette.
    Way_AEon August 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI adore this song. I've only listened to it a few times, but it just sounds perfect.
    freddy2fanon August 05, 2008   Link

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