"Little Bird" as written by and Imogen Jennifer Jane Heap....
Little bird, little bird, little bird
What do you hear?
The clink of morning cheers
Orange juice concentrate
Crossword puzzles start to grade
One across
Four letter word, it's just not sitting

Little bird, little bird, little bird
What do you see?
A picture perfect scene
Two toned lawns are manicured
The gardens wearing haute couture

It's hiding something
It's trying too hard
Hiding something
It's trying too hard

Little bird, little bird, little bird
Where are they now?
Day time TV lounge
A carriage clock, a mantle piece
A family wiped up, j cloth cleaned
Unsaid, festers in the throws of the sofa

Little bird, little bird, little bird
How are you feeling?
Like helping quarantine
Pearly whites, touch down smile
Haps and creases round the eyes

Tell tale, heart sail
We smell rats in the kitchen
Tell tale, heart sail
We smell rats in the kitchen

Little bird, little bird, little bird
What can we do?
A think tank think rescue
Simon says, etch a sketch
Send a golden message only he would get
Quickly now
'Cause this is not how it ends

Little bird, little bird, little bird
(Little bird, little bird, little bird)
Well I've got one more question
(Little bird, little bird, little bird)
And I swear I'll let it rest
Well I've just one more question
(Little bird, little bird, little bird)
And I swear I'll let it rest

One more question
I'll let it rest
I swear I'll let it rest
Got one more question
(And I swear I'll let it rest)
I've got one more question

Little bird, little bird, little bird
Where have you gone?


Lyrics submitted by g00dapple

"Little Bird" as written by Imogen Jennifer Jane Heap

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Little Bird song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningBefore I get to the meaning I just want to get to some prelude: Imogen Heap's parents separated when she was 12. One can infer that her parent's had been conflicted for years prior.


    In short, I feel that this song is from the perspective of Imogen Heap as a child; during the years prior to the divorce of her parents, when they were so conflicted.


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, what d'ya hear?
    The clink of morning cheers
    Orange juice, concentrate
    Crossword puzzles start to grate
    One across
    4 letter word it's just not sitting

    Imogen describes a typical morning in the Heap household. At the end of the verse Imogen mentions that a 4-letter word isn't fitting quite well. I may be going out on a ledge when I say this, but I think that the word she's referring to is the word "good," or something equal in length and meaning.


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, what do you see?
    A picture perfect scene
    Two tone lawns are manicured
    The garden's wearing haute couture
    It's hiding something
    It's trying too hard

    The first chorus shows that Imogen's surroundings are esthetically perfect. "May be too perfect!" as the connotes in the 5th and 6th lines. This indicates fishy behavior that isn't in accordance with the visuals in her life.


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, where are they now?
    Daytime TV. lounge
    A carriage clock, a mantelpiece
    A family wiped up j-cloth cleaned
    Unsaid, festers
    In the throws of the sofa


    Imogen is curious of her parent's whereabouts. Imogen continues to elaborate on the incredulous aesthetics. She states that the family photo is "clean", but, only because of the j-cloth that did so. Imogen becomes increasingly festered because she's being kept away from the problems that her parents are going through; she knows something is going on, but wishes she knew more!

    Little bird, little bird, little bird, how are you feeling?
    Like help in quarantine
    Pearly white touch down smile
    Absent creases round the eyes
    Tell tale, hard sell, we smell rats in the kitchen


    Imogen states that the "little bird" is helping her while she's in quarantine. Also, she iterates the fact that smiles(possible of the whole family) are faux, as they lack creases around the eyes of their displayers. (Look in the mirror, smile softly, notice the lack of creases, then, smile big and wide, to the point that your eyes have creases around them:) Later, Imogen asks her parents to inform her of what's going on, it's apparently a "hard sell". Her parents, in their benevolent attempt to shield their daughter, make-up the excuse, "WE SMELL RATS IN THE KITCHEN!" and run off to investigate the purported reason to run off from the inquisition.

    Little bird, little bird, little bird what can we do?
    Think tank, think rescue
    Simon says, Etch-a-Sketch
    Some encoded message only he would get
    Quickly now
    'Cause this is not how it ends!

    She continues conversing with the little bird, asking, what can be done? She considers failing completely or, being rescued. As she continues, one of her parents, amid a game of Simon says, has told her to draw something completely out of her knowledge with her etch-a-sketch(which Imogen loves to play with). Her parents just want to keep her busy and safeguarded from their arguments. At the end of the verse, Imogen grows increasing flustered by her unknowingness and the task which her father has told her to complete.




    As for the last verse, I really don't want to divulge my interpretation, because I feel it to be the most heartfelt and saddening verse. I would love for everyone to have their own meaning for it, and, their own explications of this song.



    Let me know what you think!




    AlexGuion August 31, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningComing from an abusive home, this song strongly indicates abuse emotionally,and most horrifically sexually.so called "four letter word" isn't the good, it's the "f" word denoted by that cross word puzzel starting to grate.. going on "we smell rats in the kitchen" indicates a family member knows about whats going on and does nothing... this is all clearly tipped off by the verse proceeding:

    Think tank, think rescue
    Simon says, Etch-a-Sketch
    Some encoded message only he would get
    Quickly now
    'Cause this is not how it ends"!

    To wrap it up, when she asks "little bird where have you gone"? this would be that she or someone she knew was liberated from the abuse and no longer needs an imaginary outlet to stop the festering tentions of on going abuse..


    This song is pretty self explanitory to those who have been abused, perfect song to help others know they aren't alone.
    deadpet876on November 28, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPersonally I felt the whole creepy child abuse feeling when I first heard the song...it's too sinister and strange to be simply talking about direct parent conflict (only). It's too layered.
    steelblue71on October 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe correct lyrics according to the album booklet:


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, what d'ya hear?
    The clink of morning cheers
    Orange juice, concentrate
    Crossword puzzles start to grate
    One across
    4 letter word it's just not sitting


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, what do you see?
    A picture perfect scene
    Two tone lawns are manicured
    The garden's wearing haute couture
    It's trying to hard

    Little bird, little bird, little bird, where are they now?
    Daytime TV. lounge
    A carriage clock, a mantelpiece
    A family wiped up j-cloth cleaned
    Unsaid, festers
    In the throws of the sofa


    Little bird, little bird, little bird, how are you feeling?
    Like help in quarantine
    Pearly white touch down smile
    Absent creases round the eyes
    Tell tale, hard sell, we smell rats in the kitchen



    Little bird, little bird, little bird what can we do?
    Think tank, think rescue
    Simon says, Etch-a-Sketch
    Some encoded message only he would get
    Quickly now
    'Cause this is not how it ends!



    Little bird, little bird, little bird
    Well I've got one more question
    And I swear I'll let it rest
    AlexGuion August 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about an abusive home. That's just the first thing that came to my mind.

    I think that it's telling the tale of this "little bird", which can actually be interpreted as Imogen, or a child that she is talking to about the situation, or just some other observer. The whole story is talking about how everything looks beautiful and fine on the outside of the home, but things are bad on the inside, eventually leading to the observer having to stop watching, or the child dying, or the family moving, etc..
    xxjaybirdon September 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWhile AlexGui is probably right about the real meaning...but for me it was always so different. I was always the little bird, and Imogen was always speaking to me. You see...I see the world like most people dont. I see the suffering that is and that was...and I see people..., and it just kills me inside. I don't stop seeing it...it's constant. Just walking among others...I can see the looks on their faces and when someone is going through something...you can see it in their face.

    It always helped me feel less alone in a sea of shallow teenagers. Like...maybe someone understands what it is to see the horror in the world...and to have to face it. I always wanted Imogen to see it...that's how I saw the song.
    KeiranSongDanceron May 14, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI get a cover-up to a murder out of the song..... I don't know what makes me think this but it also sounds like a message was trying to be sent because of guilt and the person didn't know how to send the message. It's a very nice sounding song that catches the ear.... listen to it with the thoughts of the meaning I put in and let me know what you think
    snapdragon78on May 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me it's like there's this "perfect" house of one of her friends (or perhaps her own), where everyone is not really a family, they don't share feelings or talk much if at all.
    They sit around watching TV or playing their own games rather than interacting with each other like a family should.
    The family is just too obsessed with being "perfect" that they don't wish to share problems wit each other to retain the illusion of perfection.
    Then someone in the family has a problem, and the lack of interaction prevents them from sharing it with the family and trying to overcome it, so they just leave all the emotions and problems inside.
    The person confides in Imogen and she tries to help, but still the family is excluded from the person's problems.
    Eventually the problems overwhelm the person and they commit suicide, completely and totally shattering the family's illusion.
    The "little bird" is Imogen's friend or whoever was having the problems, and when they commit suicide she tells the family why.

    That's what I got from it anyways :3
    mumukuiion June 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAfter I listened to this song a bunch of times in a row, because it's so beatiful, it started to remind me of this one time last year when my friend showed me this thing... it was a computer model of a musical instrument that was a combination of a bunch of different instruments and it played itself with little clockwork hands, with a little haunting melody. It was in a cluttered room and behind it there was a balcony that looked out onto a starry dark sky. We both agreed that it was really cool, but there was something inexplicably ominous about it too. I know this is strange, but that's the feeling this song gives me. It seems innocent at first listen, but then the intricate harmonies jump out at you with a strangely beautiful unsettlingness...
    rainintheroseson January 25, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI'm going to have to agree with the people who say this is about abuse. Heap wouldn't use a line like, "We smell rats in the kitchen" if it was just about family members making an excuse not to talk to a kid. It's too sinister for that. No, the line refers to the narrator of the song knowing about abuse, as her determination to help grows. Also, there's a reference to a cleaned j-cloth. A j-cloth is something you use to clean fluids off of furniture - I think it refers to the family hiding blood that was literally spilled onto a table or chair. There's no explanation for the line if the song is about Imogen's parents divorcing when she was a child.
    FAYZSurvivoron May 17, 2014   Link

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