"Rocking Horse" as written by and Jack White Alison Mosshart....
I drank some dirty water
Shook evil hands
I've done some bad things
And they get easier to do

Then I wrote a nasty letter
And I sent it to the Lord
I said don't you dare come
And bother me no more

I had a good friend
I could only destroy
And lovers I loved less
Than anybody could afford

Yes but this old rocking horse
Just nods his head
And he's gonna rock back and forth
The way that he always did

Baby don't you bother
Tasting the water
And, baby don't you bother
Coming closer to me

Yes when you see my eyes?
They're half the size
And I'm not able
To look at you
No, no, oh oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh,
Oh, oh, oh oh


Lyrics submitted by SpaceMonkeyAu

"Rocking Horse" as written by Jack White Alison Mosshart

Lyrics © DOMINO PUBLISHING COMPANY

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Rocking Horse song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is about someone who hangs about with the wrong people, and gets involved with generally evil people ("I drank some dirty water / Shook evil hands"). They were hesitant about being persuaded to be evil themselves at first, but now, it's "easier to do".

    Then, they're shunning religion and God, and therefore being consumed entirely by evil. They don't want to be bothered by religion anymore, and the morals that is attached to religious beliefs, and so don't have tacknoledge the sins they've committed. ("Don't you dare / Come and bother me no more").

    Then, they say that before becoming 'bad', they had a friend that they were close to, but now that they're no longer 'good', they either ruin that relationship, or are a bad influence on that person, turning them rotton ("I could only destroy"). Basically, they're saying that they're not worth being cared about, because they'll just ruin you. ("Baby don't you bother / Tasting the water / Baby don't you bother / Coming closer to me").

    They're not the same person any more than they once were ("When you see my eyes / They're half the size"), and it's not the same. So, they don't want anyone to be close to them, for fear of hurting them.
    joniJEALOUSYon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow fucking sexy
    PomegranateWindowon February 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is an account on the loss of innocence and the detriment of bad decisions. The "I've done some bad things and they get easier to do" verse shows that it is a slippery descent into evil. The "...sent it to the Lord..." verse discusses loss of religion as a way to cope with your choices, because you don't want to believe in something that would personally damn you. The third verse discusses how hard it is to care for others once you don't care for yourself. The fourth verse discusses the teetering that occurs when you are given the ultimatum to quit the bad habits/evil deeds, and the difficult choice it can pose. The fifth verse discusses that once you decide you can't quit your actions because you have lost yourself in them, you will push the world you knew and everyone you cared about away. The final verse signifies the full division between the sinful and the innocent and how the sins consume and eventually define you, as the singer can no longer look at those with more pure souls.
    Wayward Seanon March 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE this song and I think Wayward Sean summed it up pretty good.
    WhiteMoon3on June 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think Wayward Sean is on the right path. But I would also like to say, although i always think it's cheap to say this about a song's meaning, this song is probably about drugs.

    Let me start by saying, and anyone who has ever done a serious drug would agree, that this song definitely has a drug feel just with the musical effects.
    ok.. here goes ...

    The first verse:
    "drank some dirty water" - flirted with drugs or something that frowned upon in society. "shook evil hands" - was affiliated with bad people (kinda speaks for itself). "i've done some bad things and they get easier to do" - it's easier to do things you would ordinarily do without having internal conflict with it (again, kinda speaks for itself).

    The second verse:
    this verse is about the conscience haunting you about the things described in the first verse. It may also be about rejecting a faith that would damn you, as Wayward Sean described, but i believe this to be at a lesser degree. "I wrote a nasty letter and I sent it to the Lord. I said don't you dare come and bother me no more" - i believe this to be more representative of a feeling of anger towards your conscience for haunting you about things you'd like to just forget about. This, as well as the entire song, is very typical for someone who does powerful drugs.

    The third verse:
    "i had a good friend i could only destroy" - this is either talking about how a good friend could be corrupted and turned into the same monster you've become, or that by being the monster you've pushed that friend away.
    "and lovers i loved less than anybody could afford" - this is the feeling, and aftermath, of mistreating people for aesthetic purposes. to have no love or emotional connection to anything or anyone, other than what makes you feel this way, is also very typical for people addicted to drugs.

    The fourth verse:
    This is a very symbolic and well representing point in the song that leads me to believe this song is about drugs. "yes but this old rocking horse" - "horse" is a well known slang term for heroin. "rocking" is also a very common occurrence for when someone is 'tripping' really hard. they'll usually fold their arms and "rock back and forth" as a way to cope. "Just nods his head" - says yes to you. tells you that you should keep on doing it. "he's gonna rock back and forth the way that he always did" - the drug is going to deliver it's craved powers the same way it always does. this is a very significant thing to say, because most people addicted to drug typically stay addicted to drugs for this reason.

    The fifth verse:
    this verse is pretty straight forward. don't "taste the water" - don't learn the feeling. don't come "close to me" - don't become me by learning my ways.

    The sixth verse:
    This verse speaks mostly about reaching a point of no return and how painful it is to look back. "can you see my eyes? they're half the size" - you're just not the same person you used to be. "and i'm not able to look at you" - it hurts to see the truth in your actions.

    ... of course, i could be completely wrong about everything i wrote here, and life as well for that matter, but those of us who have been to the other side will probably find that this interpretation hits home pretty hard.
    rh18noon July 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyric is mostly a narrative. It describes two characters. The first three (mostly the first two) are the narrator describing his/her self. The other character is the rocking horse. The interesting part is the third and fourth stanzas. Here the narrator describes the rocking horse. But in the last two stanzas there's an ambiguity in the presentation of the words. We don't really know which of the characters is speaking at this point. This is a key mechanic; and a rather popular one in both blues and rock music. Whenever multiple character traits start to cross the writer often times is drawing a comparison between them. The big blank space open for interpretation is what you think the rocking horse is supposed to represent. Honestly though, I think its pretty clear.
    funkitup4yaon August 26, 2011   Link

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