Just an ordinary day, I knew that autumn was on its way,
I could see by the gilt of the clouds, the burnish on the bay,
A ring of effusia settled on the city like a vision of the future
Before the scales fell away,
A vision of the future looking more than just okay,
A good feeling
Yes, just a good feeling
And it only happens now and then -
Out of the mouth of a black dog,
Out of the terrors of 3 am,
Out of the dark and whispering fen,
I was blind then I could see, now I'm blind again.

So I hollered up to Jill,
"Come down from the mountain, your ears are 'a burning,
My speech is a fountain, it's been another long year
But you know I'm not counting,
I dreamed you like you dreamed me,
O the bomb dreamed the fuse and the drowner dreamed the sea",
What a strange feeling...
Yes, it?s a strange feeling
And it only happens now and then -
Out of the mouth of a black dog,
Out of the terrors of 3 am,
Out of the dark and whispering fen,
I was blind then I could see, now I'm blind again.

Most of the Aegean Sea rushes into my bedroom and glitters for me,
The hills of Gallipoli all throw up their bones for my industry,
So I build from the charnel the ale house,
I build from the tomb a palace of dreams,
That old barren rockface got silver seams for a miner of middling means,
Singing poems of dissolution and schemes -
My penny whistles, lo!

Now I summon up Jack, sat up on the hill,
The wrong kind of music, the wrong kind of pill,
Impotent as a potato but still pleading "Give it up Mary,
But not by degrees..."

A portrait of Jack, a study in sin, well I knew of myself before I knew of him,
Now even I couldn't tell ya just who it is asking
"Give it up Mary, but not by degrees,
Give it up Mary, your virtue, please..."

Into the mouth of a black dog - I go
Into the terrors of 3 am - I go
Into the dark and whispering fen - I go
I was blind then blind again
Into the mouth of a black dog - I go
Into the terrors of 3 am - I go
Into the dark and whispering fen - I go
O what beast has my name on its snaggle tooth,
And eternal slobber for my finishing youth?
My penny whistles low.


Lyrics submitted by Loial

Pennywhistle song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentCannot believe there are not more comments on this song! I saw these guys live last week and they're amazing. This is one of my favourites although I have to say that I have no idea what it means. I'm sure that Glenn has put a deep and meaningful meaning in there somewhere but I'm not brainy enough to work it out!

    I think it's interesting how it progresses from "good feeling" to "strange feeling" and finally he goes into "the mouth of the black dog etc" as opposed to "out" of them.

    Maybe something to do with growing up? The references to the seasons and nursery rhymes? And the line about the beast with it's eternal slobber on my finishing youth...

    Anyone else, thoughts?
    sarahfayon November 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah I can't figure it out but i love it. I think you're on the right track tho sarahfay... the line about being blind then he could see now he is blind again reminds me of something Jesus said in the bible about how those who say they see see cannot because of their pride and those who are blind will be able to shown the truth. As a youth he is learning to see (blind) then as a young man he thinks he can see and he grows he realises that he doesn't really see much(blind again) kinda in depth and probably way off.... It's a great song full of wonderful imagery and lyrics.

    I think it's about making the most of what you have and playing the cards you are dealt
    mUzzon March 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is unbelievable. My brother played it at his wedding as he and his beautiful bride were walking out. I love it so much it reminds me so much of that I feel like I am back there every time I hear it. I wish there were more comments, but I am interested in whether other people have heard depression referred to as the "black dog"? I wish I was more insightful and could work out how this relates to this song x
    jeanny5on January 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, like many of GR's, seems to be about him and the song writing process.
    And yes, the black dog is depression, I don't think it's ever been used to mean anything else.

    Most of the Aegean Sea rushes into my bedroom and glitters for me,
    The hills of Gallipoli all throw up their bones for my industry,
    So I build from the charnel the ale house,
    I build from the tomb a palace of dreams,
    That old barren rockface got silver seams for a miner of middling means,
    Singing poems of dissolution and schemes -


    I can't interpret this song, and this verse in particular, as anything else but a description of GR's song writing process.

    As usual with GR, the song is full of gems, lines so beautiful they stick with you forever.

    Don't forget the whole album was called Watch Me Disappear, which seemed to be a direct reference to GR and the band. This song fits perfectly.
    hihohohumon June 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI don't want to pretend I know that much about Glenn or project anything onto him but I think this song is about Bi-Polar disorder.

    @hihohohum I think the verse you mentioned made it click for me. Basically when he is "up" the world is glittering brightness and colours and he has so much energy that he feels like he has an army at his disposal. These references are darkened when you look through to the next level: The Aegean sea was also the name of a Greek oil tanker that spilled 67,000 tonnes of oil ("most" of its cargo) off the coast of Spain. The bones thrown up from Gallipoli are obviously a dark and tragic army. He might be feeling good but it comes from a very dark and destructive mental illness and ultimately this time of being “high” only has bad consequences It will also eventually transition into a low and the cycle repeats.

    The song seems to start as he comes out of a low -

    “Out of the mouth of a black dog,
    Out of the terrors of 3 am,”

    and progresses through the first phases of a high, through to its disintegration and back to depression -

    “Into the mouth of a black dog - I go
    Into the terrors of 3 am - I go
    Into the dark and whispering fen - I go
    I was blind then blind again”

    And my favorite line:

    “That beast has my name on its snaggle tooth,
    And eternal slobber for my finishing youth”
    Condaon November 12, 2016   Link

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