Take a little walk to the edge of town
and go across the tracks
Where the viaduct looms,
like a bird of doom
As it shifts and cracks
Where secrets lie in
the border fires well you know you're never comin back
the humming wires and
Past the square, past the bridge
past the mills, past the stacks
On a gathering storm comes
a tall handsome man
In a dusty black coat with
a red right hand

He'll wrap you in his arms and
tell you that you've been a good boy
He'll rekindle all of those dreams
it took you a lifetime to destroy
He'll reach deep into the hole,
heal your shrinking soul
And there won't be a single thing
That you can do
He's a god, he's a man,
he's a ghost, he's a guru
They're whispering his name
Across this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat
is a red right hand

You haven't got no money?
He'll get you some
If you haven't got no car,
He'll get you one
You've got no self-respect,
you feel like an insect
Well don't you worry buddy,
cause here he comes
Through the ghetto and the barrio
and the bowery and the slum
A shadow is cast wherever he stands
Stacks of green paper in his
red right hand

You'll see him in your nightmares,
you'll see him in your dreams
He'll appear out of nowhere but
he's not what he seems
You'll see him in your head and
on the TV screen
hey buddy, I'm warning
you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god,
he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog
in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by
his red right hand


Lyrics submitted by lingeron, edited by jameskidd

Red Right Hand (Nick Cave cover) song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe "Red Right Hand" is the hand of God, red on account of the way it strikes humans in punishing ways. Horace (23BC) wrote of the God Jupiter striking his own city and temple with his red right hand. Then, in 1667, in Milton's Paradise Lost, the fallen angel Baliol warns the other fallen angels not to go to war with God for fear of his "red right hand" striking them.

    In Nick Cave's version (1994), he depicts the contradictory nature of God, at once a ghost (holy), a guru (preacher), a man (Jesus) and yet still threatening us that with "red right hand" of punishment for our sins, even after promising to answer our prayers for money, self-respect, cars, etc.

    "God's plan," at once creating us all, and then punishing us all, is seen as bizarre and threatening: every human is merely "one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan Designed and directed by his red right hand."
    yhtrownuon March 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this cover. Not as haunting or powerful as the original but they weren't attempting to. Great cover of a great songg
    pmo1983on January 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsome mistakes

    the humming wires and
    the border fires well you know you're never comin back

    He's a god, he's a man,
    he's a ghost, he's a guru … first time

    You don't no money?

    and the bowery and the slums


    Love this song!
    cazoon September 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti suppose its about a powerful man but obviouslty theres more to it
    andfrazeron November 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIt is for real....Several months ago, about two o’clock in the morning, I saw the Right Red (wine colored) hand of God. On or about that evening I also saw a shadow, mid-20 female, walking into my bedroom and going into our master bath. Both appearances only lasted for some 5 seconds. Note: I have never seen a Big Foot, a flying saucer, men from another planet or a ghost. I have astral projected and experienced flying dreams. Some two months prior to the sighting of the Red Hand I wrote a 56 page dissertation on that Jesus, and the New Testament was only fabrications created and written by mere men. Shortly after the experience I tried putting together something on the Red Hand of God. All I found were two entries…Milton’s Paradise Lost and Cave’s lyrics “The Red Right Hand of God”. Please do not write back and say was I on drugs…no….it was simply a hallucination…no…or it was all in your head…no. Have any of you folks experienced similar happenings?
    WSMacDon December 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionin my opinion i think it is about the devil and all the 'good things' he can give you, he comes across handsome and well done. giving you all of the things you need. but he isnt the way that you thought. he is just doing what the devil does and turn you in the wrong direction.
    i dont know if this is really the meaning, i mean i have no idea if someone has actually heard it from the original singer or alex but to me this is what it is.
    idioticpplon March 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionin my opinion i think it is about the devil and all the 'good things' he can give you, he comes across handsome and well done. giving you all of the things you need. but he isnt the way that you thought. he is just doing what the devil does and turn you in the wrong direction.
    i dont know if this is really the meaning, i mean i have no idea if someone has actually heard it from the original singer or alex but to me this is what it is.
    idioticpplon March 21, 2013   Link

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