Talking, what's it good for?
Absolutely nothing.
Wrestle, let's wrestle.
You can pin me to anything.

Thought I saw you in my tea leaves.
Thought I saw you in a forest flame.
I'll fill up the silence with the sound of your holy name.

Knowledge of the sea-ways, knowledge of how the water flows.
Whoever coined the phrase has never had to brave the snow.
I climbed the shroud to the top-sail and I peeked through the glass.
The curvature bisected by the wintry mizzen mast.

The scar upon my stomach, I call it my Flying V.
And every time I show it, I can feel your eyes on me.
How many islands will surrender to the blunderbuss?
And, how long must we sail before you show your face to us?

Followed him out to the end of the pier.
"Don't come any closer," he cried, "I am afraid
Of the man I'll become if I lay my
Life down for a people that I don't even care for."
Face to his face, I put my
Hand into his and I tried to tell him, "No,
I've seen his work upon the panes of cathedrals,
In the sweat of the workers and the flight of the seagulls."

My words were drowned out by the sound
Of the motors and rowers, the ship as it ran aground
And from the trees came a thousand soldiers.
I went down on my knees with a spear in my shoulder.
About face, about face, I swam back
To the Victoria. I shiver with the
Memory, memory of the island dwellers
And the indifferences of the Storyteller.


Lyrics submitted by TheForceOfTragedy, edited by legislacerator

The Great Elsewhere song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    My OpinionThis is the most beautiful song ever written.
    lastgoodbyeon October 31, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is probably my favorite song on this album so far. I agree with proposals. This is the song where Lewis loses his faith in his creator Owen and begins his journey to kill him. I really feel like this song is the turning point in the cd. Up until this point, Lewis has been blindly following Owen's commands, until this song when he shows himself to be an indifferent and somewhat cruel god.
    yarrowton April 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionIt's "Thought I saw you in my TEA LEAVES/ thought I saw you in a forest flame," not what's written. If you listen to the Export version of the song with Shara Worden, it becomes apparent. Link to SoundCloud here (it's track three):
    soundcloud.com/owen-pallett/sets/…
    UbiquitousColouron February 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis article leads me to believe the creator is Owen himself: pitchfork.com/news/36644-final-fantasy-reveals-iheartlandi-details-its-a-concept-album/
    Asieoon December 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^that's an interesting interpretation of the song, I can definitely see that working for the song. However, I took the song to be from a crew member's backstory to Ferdinand Magellan's voyage. The stress of what they were trying to do and losing heart. since he mentions the ship, 'victoria'. The end of the song talks about what happened to them before he died, I believe they were ambushed by the natives and he was killed.

    thinking about it now, it could be a mix of the two. either way, one of my favorites from him.
    Delphinaron December 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLewis loses his faith in Owen.
    proposalson January 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat role is lewis playing in this song though? Is he the person telling the person on the pier 'no' or is it the other way around? or something else entirely?
    Delphinaron January 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionAccording to the cd booklet, the second verse starts with: "Thought I saw you in my tea leaves."
    kmereon February 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy impression is that Lewis here is trying to take his own life - surely, the ultimate betrayal to a creator - but is stopped by a Heartlander who is still a believer. He doesn't succeed in his attempt but his resentment towards Owen the creator grows, and this leads him towards a path of retribution rather than resignation as the song that follows is Oh Heartland, Up Yours. Not all of the lyrics match, but that's how I saw the story panning out in this song.
    jadedgypsyon January 09, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIt's clearly a religiously-themed song, but it's sort of ambiguous whether he's in favor or not. I think he wants to be, but can't bring himself to. In the lines:

    Face to his face, I put my
    Hand into his and I tried to tell him, "No,
    I've seen his work upon the panes of cathedrals,
    In the sweat of the workers and the flight of the seagulls."

    ...I think he's trying to affirm, or prove even, his belief in a higher power, but that higher power shows itself to be cruel in the last verse. Even though I am a religious person, I love this kind of song, because I love tragedies and it seems like the saddest thing in the world to me, to want to find your God and fail through the fault of circumstance. Beautiful.
    Quazalleon December 06, 2009   Link

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