"The Sword and the Pen" as written by and Regina Spektor....
Don't let me get out of this kiss
Don't let me say what I say
The things that scare us today
what if they happen someday
Don't let me out of your arms
For now

What if the sword kills the pen
What if the god kills the man
And if he does it with love
Well then it's death from above
And death from above is still a death

I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live
I don't want to live
Without you


For those who still can recall
The desperate colors of fall
The sweet caresses of May
Only in poems remain
No one recites them these days
For the shame

So what if nothing is safe
So what if no one is saved
No matter how sweet
No matter how brave
What if each to his own lonely grave

I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live without you
I don't want to live
I don't want to live
Without you


Lyrics submitted by incurable_humanist

The Sword and the Pen song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think she is referring to the fact that THIS life, your life, the life we speak of right now, can only be lived once.

    She's trying to logically say religion is controlling too much of us, although if there hadn't been that religion to begin with, we'd all be living as savage. To me, the song is kind of like meeting an equilibrium with your own self and your religion, or something along those lines; seeing the universal truths inside yourself which contradict some if not all of the points of your religion.

    The music is so tragic, as well; so tragic and dark. She did an incredible job. I don't know why this wasn't on the actaul album itself.

    One of my favorites.
    *reSpekt for always.
    AlecsPenon July 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment@raephe: i don't think she's directly condemning religion or anything, she's just saying, "once you're dead, you're dead." even if there is an afterlife or anything, your body remains empty.

    i think this song is (partly) about lost writing/poetry. the saying goes that "the pen is mightier than the sword." but here, she's wondering "what if the sword kills the pen?" what if violence and cruelty and physicality overcome the ancient words that have survived so many generations? i especially love:
    "For those who still can recall
    The desperate colors of fall"
    because only a writer sees colors as "desperate," only a poet can capture the feeling you get from a season. if the sword does kill the pen, then that description and that way of looking at life is lost.

    but yeah, i also felt that it was "russian" although i can't say i know much about russian music. it's "the flowers"-esque, though.
    flamingo304on July 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think she is referring to the fact that THIS life, your life, the life we speak of right now, can only be lived once.

    She's trying to logically say religion is controlling too much of us, although if there hadn't been that religion to begin with, we'd all be living as savage. To me, the song is kind of like meeting an equilibrium with your own self and your religion, or something along those lines; seeing the universal truths inside yourself which contradict some if not all of the points of your religion.

    The music is so tragic, as well; so tragic and dark. She did an incredible job. I don't know why this wasn't on the actaul album itself.

    One of my favorites.
    *reSpekt for always.
    AlecsPenon July 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionJust a little lyrics correction:

    "Don't let me out of this kiss"
    (and not: "Don't let me GET out of this kiss"

    Like saying: "This is a meaningful kiss, art (everything I believe in) can be defeated, but you're my shelter, so please BE in this kiss"

    -sorry for my bad english
    IHappenToBeon October 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the Regina Spektor I love. This is proof that she hasn't lost her touch from Soviet Kitsch. She can put out really great music that's not all bubbly pop and juvenile.
    acoustic429on June 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song gives off a really strong feeling of harsh criticism of society and religion. by saying "I don't wanna live without you", and that "death from above is still a death", she's directly defying judeo-christianity. she chooses her secular love over love for a god. she also condemns society as losing its touch with romanticism, instead becoming cynical and sarcastic. the line "What if to each his own lonely grave" hit me the most. we've lost the ability to love beyond life by putting it all into faith in a higher power.

    i also love that this song really sounds "russian" if that makes any sense with the "hey!"'s thrown in with the tambourine shake.
    raepheon June 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone else hear the licks she's borrowed from Phantom of the Opera?
    HibbingismyHolyLandon July 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song may be the best on Far. A little sad, I think.
    YairGon July 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I do like this song a lot but like many other Regina songs I don't always understand the metaphors she uses to describe her thoughts. I agree with the other comments about the conflict between poetry (art) and violence, people are forgetting the arts, the romance, the little details that make life beautiful, so maybe she's concerned about the loss of principles in our modern society.

    I think it's the 2nd best song in the album Far.
    colomoon September 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHibbingismyHolyLand: Sure! Just keep in mind that chord sucession is one of the biggest common places in music (I, IV, VII, III) in this case in C minor (Cm, Fm, Bb, Eb) and you can't make a melody over those chords without sounding like a hundred existing songs. So you could say the Phantom of the Opera borrowed it from many other, who borrowed from others, 'till you arrive to early Barroque (1600) when that sucession was invented/discovered.

    (sorry for my bad english)
    IHappenToBeon October 12, 2009   Link

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