"For Beginners" as written by and M. Ward....
When you're absolute beginners
It's a panoramic view
From her majesty Mount Zion
And the kingdom is for you
Uh huh, uh huh

When you tumble upon that valley
Shark or sparrow line the stairs
When the arrows start descending
Then they scatter everywhere

On a bookshelf in Caledonia
Sits a map of passageways
Best to stumble upon Mount Zion
To behold the natural gates
Uh huh, uh huh

They say the original sinners
Never felt a drop of pain
Until that second in the garden
Then they felt it each and every day

So draw back your bows you hunters
Who have never felt that plain
All the absolute beginners
They are safe in the shade for today
Uh huh, uh huh

When you're absolute beginners
It's a panoramic view
From her majesty Mount Zion
And the kingdom is for you
Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh

Lyrics submitted by smileforthecamera

"For Beginners" as written by M. Ward


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  • 0
    General Commentpretty sure its:

    "On a bookshelf in Caledonia"

    as in scotland, not california
    dylan1966on March 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationHow has no one else commented on this song yet?! I heard this the other day and I can't stop listening to it. It's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and it's impossible for me to listen to this without smiling. I was hoping someone had some idea as to what it's about, because I'm not good at interpreting lyrics. But I'll give it a shot.

    This song is based on metaphors and it all seems kinda vague to me, so I think interpretations will vary a lot based on the listener.

    "When you're absolute beginners
    Its a panoramic view"

    This is basically saying that when you're young, you look at the future and there are so many possibilities. You feel like you can do anything you want and it's exciting.

    "From her majesty Mt. Zion
    And the kingdom is for You"

    A very brief Google search revealed to me (and these facts could be incorrect, so feel free to fix them) that Mt. Zion is considered to be a holy place in Judeo-Christian beliefs. Christians believe it is the place where Jesus will appear on Judgment Day. So, as far as the song goes, I think Mt. Zion would either represent some great, long-term dream/goal or the end of one's life. The second line is continuing off the idea presented in the first two lines, that all these possibilities are yours and you can do whatever you want on the way to your personal Mt. Zion, whatever that may represent to you.

    "When you tumble upon that valley
    Shock of sparrow Line the stairs
    When the arrows Start descending
    Then they scatter everywhere"

    I don't understand the second line. But the first line mentions a valley, which makes me think of a low point in one's life. Seeing the arrows descend and scatter everywhere could be a metaphor for beginning to see the bad things in life and realizing that maybe it's not all you thought it would be.

    "On a bookshelf in Caledonia
    Sits the map of passageways
    Best to stumble upon Mt. Zion
    To behold the natural gate"

    These lines make me think of someone young finding some maps and just going on an adventure, not knowing what to expect. That could be literally, or figuratively, in which case it would just represent setting out to begin your life. The last two lines tell of the ultimate destination, either a particular goal or death or something else, as I stated above.

    "They say the original sinners
    Never felt a drop of pain
    Until that second in the garden
    Then they felt it each and every day"

    I think these people that are in pain are people who are older, have experience, and have seen bad things happen. They know that life is difficult, and thus they feel pain. If you believe the Mt. Zion in this song represents death, then these people could be angels. The garden being heaven or whatever else comes after death.

    "So draw back your bows you hunters
    Who have never felt that flame
    But the absolute beginners
    They are safe in the shade for today..."

    I love this stanza. It's beautiful. The hunters are drawing back their bows, so they are fighting. Yet the beginners are safe. I think that's because the hunters are protecting the beginners (young, naïve people). Again, depending on what Mt. Zion means to you, this stanza could mean different things. If you think of Mt. Zion as an objective in life, and you see the hunters as older people with experience, then it's simply about the elders protecting young people. It is the people who have already experience life that become parents, raise children, educate younger people, etc. And I think as the "beginners" are sitting in the shade, they are seeing the "hunters" fight and are learning to "fight," which represents them learning how to get through life, defeat obstacles, an accomplish great things.If you think of Mt. Zion as death and the gateway to heaven, then these hunters represent angels watching over the people on Earth. Either way, it's a beautiful song.

    I doubt my interpretation is anything like what M. Ward intended the song to be about, but I think that's the beauty of music. It means something different to everyone. But I am eager to hear other people's thoughts on what this is about!
    Sons & Daughterson March 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is more about Adam and Eve than ordinary young people.
    "The second in the garden" refers to when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

    I can't figure out what the hunter part is about. Probably where M. Ward really puts his own spin on things, instead of referring to things in the Bible.
    holbytlaon April 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationHolby-- you're reading too directly.

    "They say the original sinners"-- That's where we jump into Adam and Eve. Original Sin is the fruit thing, so says Catholicism.

    From some quick research, Mount Zion refers to two places-- a hill just outside of Jerusalem, and what is now the area called Temple Mount, where Jesus chased out the Money Changers.

    The interesting thing is, if you think of it from a Jewish perspective, which this song seems to be doing (Never mentions anything from the New Testament) and look into it there, the Temple Mount is believed to have the "Foundation Stone," which is the exact spot where the world was created, and it expanded from there. Mt. Zion is a clear reference the "the beginning." Also, as Sons & Daughters commented, it is believed that a signifigant temple will be built there right before the second coming of Christ.

    I don't think the "hunters" part is exactly in tune with the rest of the [biblical] metaphor. It seems that arrows (in the beginning) are used to refer to danger, though I'm guessing there, and then later he uses the word "hunters" to refer to people; however, while it's a metaphor, he refers to it literally; what do hunters use, bows.
    nathanmholdenon April 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"On a bookshelf in Caledonia, sits a map of passageways; best to stumble upon Mt. Zion, to behold the natural gates..."

    This simply means that you can take the educated path to finding this "Mt. Zion." You can study the blueprints to get there, but it's best to seek it inside yourself. Mt. Zion is the place of peace. You can go to some exotic place and search for it all your life, but never find it. I think Ward is saying Mt. Zion is inside of you.
    dinkertonon October 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDinkerton has that part down most accurately. Holden and Holby have points and are more knowledgeable than S&D seems, but are far too concerned with staying in line with historical text. Ward comes from a background of old Christian hymns, but he says that he draws on this type of thing to CREATE more than he does to set out strict interpretations of old faiths.

    I think that I figured the problem with this part:

    "So draw back your bows you hunters
    who have never felt that flame..."

    Then it is misquoted on this page, but it actually says in the song:

    "All the absolute beginners
    they are safe in shade FROM today."

    These four lines are regarding Adam and Eve as the absolute beginners (as mentioned in the stanza before). It is a remark about how easy it is for humanity to look back on the fall of man (Adam and Eve's choice to disobey God) and be critical of them- thus drawing back their bows of condemnation.

    "Draw back your bows you hunters"

    However, Ward is saying that we never knew any feeling apart from the sinful world we were born into, and thus never felt the flame of unabridged companionship with God (as described in Genesis).

    "Who have never felt that flame."

    But the absolute beginners (Adam and Eve) being the mortals that they were have long since left this earth and are safe in the shade (afterlife) FROM the criticism of today.

    "All the absolute beginners
    They are safe in the shade from today..."

    I made the same mistake and said "for" when recording the cover of this song also, mistakes happen.
    If you wanna hear a chick sing it, here's the link:


    jamiefamieon October 17, 2010   Link

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