"Look at the Animals" as written by and Ian Anderson....
The tiny ant leaves his tiny ant drops in the sand,
And makes his home inside a rusty watering can,
Occasionally going out to look for bread and jam.

He runs into a sparrow who hasn't eaten for a week,
And later, quite contented, the sparrow cleans his beak,
Failing to notice pussy cat has come out to take a leak.
Our cat partakes of dinner when a sudden kangaroo
Emerges from the undergrowth and asks to use the loo.
Kangaroos aren't usually dangerous, for that would never do.
My goodness, will you look at all the animals queuing on the stairs!
Look at the animals in the zoo; how would you like to be one?
They're waiting to use the lavatory and putting chewing gum in each other's hair.
Look at the animals, look at you; well how would you like to free one?
Good gracious, will you look at all the animals playing with their tools!
Look at the animals, look at you; well how would you like to queer one?
Flying from the chandeliers and treading in their elephantine stools.
Look at the animals, two by two; aren't you glad to be one?
This kangaroo's a lunatic and his pouch is very full
Of pussy cats and penguins who can't fly as a rule,

But then neither could the pussy cat: he never went to school.
The kangaroo gets nervous when confronted by the size
Of an elephant named Simon who is always telling lies;
He swears he wears green corduroys and can button up his fly.
Presently, a fatter Simon's indigestion fails.
He regurgitates the whole damn mess into an aluminum pail,
And the tiny ant scuttles back inside his watering can
Occasionally going out to look for bread and jam.
(Woof, woof, woof)


Lyrics submitted by Krendall2006

"Look at the Animals" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Look at the Animals song meanings
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    General CommentI can't believe nobody has commented on this song. The lyrics are definitely hiding a deeper meaning and I've been thinking about it recently and what it could mean. I don't like the way that the lyrics have been organized here, so I'm going to quote some parts of the song.

    Ants are able to carry many times their own body weight, but I think in this case the ant looking for "bread and jam" is a person who is looking for trouble, something that they may or may not be able to control. He goes and hides in his watering can, so this person is not willing to accept the blame for their actions easily and tries to hide from their past mistakes. However, a mountain is made out of a molehill because the ant gets caught by the sparrow, and the sparrow is oblivious to anybody but himself and his own satisfaction, thus falling prey to the cat who will capitalize on any opportunity that comes his way for his benefit.

    I think that much of the rest of the song elaborates on this and human nature, comparing humans to animals. The "zoo" may be a city or society, and the animals are caged - bound to society's rules. However, they are restless, wild, and unruly, only looking out for themselves (as the ant, sparrow, and cat demonstrate).

    "Look at the animals, two by two" sounds like it touches on the concept of Noah's Ark - in this case, Noah saved two animals, a male and female, of each species in order for those species to be able to continue after the biblical flood. I think that because the "animals" in this case are being saved, they have an elitist air about them that they are better, more deserving; again, this ties back to the selfishness seen in the first few lines of the song.

    "This kangaroo's a lunatic and his pouch is very full / of penguins and pussy cats who can't fly as a rule" seems to make a leader out of the kangaroo. The is in control, but the people in his society - "penguins and pussy cats who can't fly as a rule" - is made up of people who are trying to be something that they are not meant to. Then, several lines later there is the American political connection of the elephant: "The kangaroo gets nervous when confronted by the size / of an elephant named Simon who is always telling lies". In this case, Simon is also a political figure and he threatens to bring the kangaroo's power down, however he is corrupt.

    "Presently, a fatter Simon's indigestion fails / he regurgitates the whole damn mess into an aluminum pail / and the tiny ant scuttles back inside his watering can / occasionally going out to look for bread and jam." I think these four lines talk about how the truth slowly comes out of all the lies that the leader has been weaving. He builds up more and more of a story for himself (by growing bigger and bigger) and finally it all comes rushing out, and the ant in this case, representing a tiny person, goes to hide so as not to be blamed; but because he is "only human", he continues to make the same mistakes.
    bakerstmuseon March 28, 2010   Link

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