"The Maker" as written by and Daniel Roland Lanois....
Oh, oh deep water, black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open,
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker

I could not see for the fog in my eyes
I could not feel for the fear in my life
And from across the great divide, In the distance I saw a light
Jean Baptiste's walking to me with the Maker

My body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep
I can't work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away
I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker

Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters
Standing there with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords
There over east of Eden

Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker

Oh, river rise from your sleep


Lyrics submitted by onewaronemore

"The Maker" as written by Daniel Lanois

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Maker song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningThis is a song about finding absolution for your sins.

    It has profound and deep Christian symbology, so knowing your bible is key to interpreting its meaning.

    The lyrics reflects on man's relationship with God, and the inherent frailty of the flesh and that of the spirit, and how we all must seek redemption, absolution, and salvation, when faced with God upon judgement day. "Deep water, black, and cold like the night", is a way of describing fear and lack of direction without God's influence in your life.

    He is ready to surrender with his arms wide open.

    "His twisted mile" are all the justifications he has made towards himself to avoid God's plan for his life. This world, wich is blocking his sight of God, is described as the fog in his eyes. He couldn't feel God in his life, out of the all the fear and confusion this world creates. The great divide in this context is the transition between life and death, thus the barrier between heaven and earth. The song as a whole is about living in awareness of God, but not committing to God as much as he desires, but ultimately his sins is washed away upon repentance and submission to God's will. He sees the maker and John the baptist coming towards him. The maker, as used in this instance, suggest Jesus Christ.

    Notice how he first appears to be a stranger in the eyes of the maker, in the first verse, meaning that the maker does not at first recognises his appearance, in all his sins. His spirit is then cleansed with the absolution, whereas God now knows him. In the second verse, he is no longer found to be a stranger in the hands of the maker.

    The homeless daughters, by my guess would be Eve, who was cast out of the Garden of Eden, and Mary Magdalena, a sinner, who was a prostitute, and saved by Jesus. To be a "Homeless woman" was used as a term for prostitutes in biblical times. The last verse refers to one cherub that guards the access to paradise with a flaming sword. This is the same sword that was used to guard the garden of Eden before Adam and Eve was cast out. After the Exodus, God put it at the gates of paradise, and in that moment the flame is reflected in the eyes of God himself.

    The holy spirit is the river wich is rising from its sleep, inside him.
    Therseuson November 26, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe idea of being a stranger in the eyes of the Maker refers to when Jesus told the crowd that those who had not taken care of the poor nor fed the hungry would be strangers to him at judgment.
    Alisandraon October 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere lyrics are incorrect....it should be

    "i have seen the flaming sword
    there, over east of eden"

    this is an AMAZING song....

    seems to me its about someone who has either lost their faith or doesn't believe in god but god believes in them regardless.....
    jingy23on March 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningYes, this is truly a brilliant, insightful and lively song with obvious deep personal meaning to both Lanois and anyone who has had to trod the path of sin and lived long enough to regret and try to address it.

    That said, a few of my interpretations:

    - I've run a twisted mile" refers to his own erroneous and lost life; could be the typical modern life of someone who mocks moral values, becomes involved in addiction, exploitation of others in relationships, etc.

    - how can "sleep" bend and break his body? Because the sleep he refers to is what I just wrote of in the first point: self-destruction resulting from the "sleep" of his blindness to all the self-indulgence in everything that was bad for him both physically and spiritually. The fog in his eyes, the fear in his life that kept him from feeling. I see people like him in the streets of my city every time I leave my home.

    - "working in the fields (Plains?) of Abraham," dovetails with other songs on the album, "O Marie" and "Jolie Louise," both about a man involved in a life of hard physical labour, in one case ending in alcoholism, spousal abuse, divorce and permanent solitude and bitterness. The plains of Abraham are of course in Quebec and while they might symbolize the loss of French sovereignty to some Quebecois, I think it is more relevant here to just mention the way it ties in with our other first-person narratives of the man working the tobacco fields etc. And there is redemption in the verse, because he can't turn his head away from the poverty and suffering of his fellow labourers - so whether or not he knew it at the time, he was not a stranger "in the HANDS" of the Maker - he was a useful tool in God's hands in acknowledging the value of other people.

    - In the final verse he is speaking to Jean-Baptiste - John the Baptist - directly, asking if he has seen the homeless daughters with their broken wings. Hearing this many years after release I was immediately reminded of the Salvation Army campaign to help prostitutes leave the streets. It may refer specifically to Eve and the Magdalene, I have no problem with that idea, but feel it is more general. Then we have Aaron Neville singing solo for the only time in the song, therefore representing John responding. He is a mystic and so gives a cryptic answer; instead of a direct response, he states that he has seen the flaming swords (placed by God along with the Cherubim to guard the way to the Tree of Life) "over East of Eden." I don't why everyone misses this, but East of Eden is where Cain and his family were banished to the land of Nod. So we have two concepts from Genesis tied together here, the flaming sword and the terrible sin of Cain and its punishment. John has answered the question about the homeless daughters by reminding the singer of the unavoidable painful consequences of a life immersed in error and blindness.

    At the end of the day it's a beautiful song no matter what Daniel Lanois intended. The one thing I'd have different is the unnecessary blues-based guitar noodling, it adds nothing to a lovely ballad that would be even prettier without it.
    PauletteDuboison September 12, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSorry - my first line "lively" should read "lovely!"
    PauletteDuboison September 12, 2016   Link

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