As the moon rose and the hour grew late
The day-help on the coconut estate
Raked up the dried leaves that fell dead from the trees
Which they burned in a pile by the lake

The beetle king summoned his men
And from the top of the rhododendron stem,
"Calling all volunteers who can carry back here
The Great Mystery has been lit once again"

One beetle emerged from the crowd
In a fashionable abdomen shroud
Said, "I'm a professor, you see, that's no mystery to me
I'll be back soon, successful and proud"

But when the beetle professor returned,
He crawled on all six, as his wings had been burned
And described to the finest detail all he'd learned
There was neither a light, nor a heat, in his words

The deeply dissatisfied king
Climbed the same stem to announce the same thing
But in his second appeal sought to sweeten the deal
With a silver padparadscha ring

The lieutenant stepped out from the line
As he lassoed his thorax with twine
Thinking, "I'm stronger and braver and I'll earn the king's favor
One day all he has will be mine"

But for all the lieutenant's conceit
He too returned singed and admitting defeat
"I had no choice, please believe, but retreat
It was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat

And it cracked like the thunder and bloodshot my eyes
Though smothered with sticks, it advanced undeterred
Carelessly cast an ash cloud to the sky, my lord
Like a flock of dark vanishing birds"

The beetle king slammed down his fist
"Your flowery description's no better than his!
We sent for the great light and you bring us this?
We didn't ask what it seems like, we asked what it is!"

His majesty's hour at last is drawn nigh
The elegant queen took her leave from his side
Without understanding, but without asking why
She gathered their kids to come bid their goodbyes

And the father explained, "You've been somewhat deceived
You've all called me your dad, but your true Dad's not me
I lay next to your mom and your forms were conceived
Your Father's the light within all that you see

He fills up the ponds as He empties the clouds
Holds without hands and He speaks without sounds
He provides us with the cow's waste and coconuts to eat
Giving one that nice salt taste, and the other its sweet

Sends the black carriage the day death shows its face
Thinning our numbers with kindness and grace
And just as a flower and its fragrance are one
So must each of you and your Father become

Now distribute my scepter, my crown, and my throne
And all we've known as wealth to the poor and alone"
Without further hesitation, without looking back home
The king flew headlong into the blazing unknown

And as the smoke ring hurled higher and higher
The troops flying loops around the telephone wires
They said, "Our beloved's not dead, but his highness instead
Has been utterly changed into fire"

Why not be utterly changed into fire?
Why not be utterly changed into fire?
Why not be utterly changed into fire?
Why not be utterly changed into fire?


Lyrics submitted by shadowami

The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis song is actually about the sacrifice to Gods will, the fire represents the sacrifice to a life for him, both the professor and lieutenant feared and merely gave a little to him, because it burned and hurt,it was beyond easy, our purpose is to give all of us to him not a little or alot because it hurts or how our lives will be changed. The King threw himself into the fire and was completely consumed. This song out-lines the sacrifice we must make, turn from our family's, give our titles, our possessions, our life for the father.
    darkguitarmanon October 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI am thoroughly confused by this song.

    Obviously Aaron is very religious, and with most of the songs on the album this is clear.

    However, this one is different.

    The song tells of how the King Beetle sacrifices his life in the name of God due to what he believed to be a sign from God...but it wasn't a sign from God at all, it was just the day-help burning leaves.

    The last line, "why not be utterly changed into fire?" to me seems almost sarcastic - "yeah, sure, why not sacrifice yourself for this so-called God because of some burning leaves you thought was a sign?"

    I'd be interested to hear a more pro-Christian response (which presumably was how Aaron meant it to be interpreted).
    cmj_abon April 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's "raked up the dried leaves"
    i'm also going to say the grammar needs correcting in the following line:
    "there was neither a light, nor a heat in his words."
    to me, it should be:
    "there was neither a light, nor a heat, in his words."
    in my opinion the "professor" is a symbol and a commentary on modern science.
    he thinks he can easily explain everything, but when faced with the realization of the inexplicable, he resorts to dismissing its existence entirely.
    thus, in his words the "light" and the "heat" don't exist. (basically God doesn't exist)
    porterjaon April 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit is: "a silver padparadscha ring". for sure. that is actually something that is used to make rings. unlike the other optoins that have been presented. it is is a color of saphires or something. whoo! that is a good deal the king is making, padparadshas are expensive.

    also, i'm pretty sure "vanishing birds" is correct.

    i agree with porterja. i think professor and the lieutenant both represent people with wrong veiws of God. (like the cat, peacock and girl in "a glass can only spill what it contains")
    any ideas of what type of person the lieutenant is representing?

    i think in this song he is characterizing beetles as humans, to compare how little we understand of God to how little beetles understand of fire. The fire represents the mysteries of God?
    kiplingscaton April 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA "Padparadscha" is a very rare type of sapphire. I love how every album forces me to look up even more random information. I don't know where Aaron gets this stuff...

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    mirrizinon April 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe beetle king makes a call to his community for those worthy to unlock the mystery that is the fire.
    First of all, the professor accepts the deed, believing he can seek the answer, yet unsuccessfully returning. I believe the professor is symbolic of pride and arrogance (just because he is professor he thinks he knows everything) - cardinal sins.

    Unable to find an answer, the King asks again. The fire is greater now and this time he offers a reward. The lieutenant accepts. I believe he also represents pride, and I also believe he may stand for envy as he implies he can do better than the professor. Once again returning without success, I believe the professor and lieutenant both represent the cardinal sins. The King now takes his turn.

    'his majesty's hourglass is drawn nigh' indicates that it is the King's time to die. He is a true leader, seeking answers and standing up for his people. I believe he represents the virtues. 'Distribute all we've known as wealth to the poor and alone' indicates he is charitable, and also implies that he is getting ready to go to heaven - we leave this life with no belongings. As the character of moral worth he must die.

    I believe the fire represents heaven. The fire is a powerful and glorifying thing, and it is the 'unknown'. The king's singed rising body is symbolic of his soul rising up to heaven. 'Our beloved's not dead', he is only living with God.

    peterdhon April 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe last line, "Why not be utterly changed into fire?", comes from one of the sayings of Abba Joseph in the Apophthegmata Patrum, or the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (much of which was translated from the original Coptic, a language of Egypt, into Greek).

    “Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said: ‘Father, to the limit of my ability, I keep my little rule (a monastic structure of prayer, silence, work, and contemplation), my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and to the limit of my ability, I work to cleanse my heart of thoughts, what more should I do?’ The elder rose up in reply, and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: ‘Why not be utterly changed into fire?’”
    (explanation in parentheses added by me)

    The Sayings were likely gathered together in approximately the 5th century following the death and resurrecion of Christ, gathered together from what until that point was largely an oral tradition (or sayings passed along by word of mouth from one monk to the next, or from one early Christian to the next). The Desert Fathers and Mothers were the first Christian monks, or monastics, predominately living in the deserts and wastelands of Egypt, Palestine, and Judea between the 2nd and 6th centuries. taking quite literally the commandment of the Gospels to 'sell all you have and give it to the poor' and leaving behind the trappings of wealth and society to withdraw into the sun and fire of the deserts in their pursuit of God. They went to these deserts in order that they might battle their own demons through prayer and humility, learning with utter honesty about who they were and, in the process, intimately coming to know the grace, love, and constant Presence of God. In many cases, these monks went so far as to seek to become almost one with God, taking on His attributes and characteristics to the point that the negative Passions (i.e. selfishness, pride, lust, anger, vainglory, etc.) were rendered null and void as they became as 'perfect' in love as possible.

    Christianity in the West struggles with some of these concepts, as much of them of are remain only found within Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Coptic Orthodox theology, practice, and thought.

    When I listen to this song, I feel the influence of the Desert Fathers and early monastic thought, particularly built around the last line and stemming backward into other parts of the song ("now distribute my scepter, my crown, and my throne; I'll leave all my wealth to the poor and alone;
    without further hesitation, without looking back home, the king flew headlong into the blazing unknown.", for instance). From what I can gather, both Weiss brothers have religious influence from both Judaism (through their father) and Sufism (through their mother, who reportedly converted to Sufi Islam from Episcopalianism, if Wikipedia is to be believed). This whole song shows ample influence from Sufi works like those of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi mystic and poet. In particular, this song's characters and lyrics are almost drawn directly from Muhaiyaddeen's story on pages 39 and 40 of his book entitled, 'The Divine Luminous Wisdom That Dispels Darkness' (which can be read online here: books.google.com/…).

    In short, this song seems to combine direct influence from Sufi mysticism and lesser, but equally poetic influence from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (which can be read online in partiality if you Google 'Sayings of the Desert Fathers', or purchased through Amazon in their entirety (in a translation edited by Benedicta Ward, an Anglican nun who is a famed expert in the field of early Christian spirituality - amazon.com/Sayings-Desert-Fathers-Cistercian-studies/dp/…).
    breathinghopeon May 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso brilliant. does anyone know when this album should be coming out?
    harloton December 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalbum is set to be out late spring/early summer 2009.

    i'm so excited... it'll be phenomenal.

    track listing, per en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…


    "Cattail Down"
    "The Fox, the Crow, & the Cookie"
    "A Stick, a Carrot, & a String"
    "Bullet to Binary (Pt. Two)"
    "Timothy Hay"
    "The Angel of Death Came to David's Room"
    "A Fig With a Belly Ache"
    "Goodbye, I"
    "The Beetle King on the Coconut Estate"
    "Every Blade of Grass"
    "Whatever Goes, Let it Go"
    harloton February 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favourite songs on the new album...so good.
    cmj_abon April 18, 2009   Link

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