The sun above me and a concrete floor below
Scratch at the chain links maybe bare my teeth for show
Fed twice a day I don't go hungry anymore
Feel in my bones just what the future has in store
I pace in circles so the camera will see
Look hard at my stripes, there'll be no more after me

Laze by the shoreline while the sailors disembark
Scratch out a place to sit and rest down in the dark
Smell something burning downwind just a little ways
They set up camp and sing and sweat and work for days
I have no fear of anyone I'm dumb and wild and free
I am a flightless bird and there'll be no more after me

In Costa Rica in a burrow underground
Climb to the surface, blink my eyes and look around
I'm all alone here as I try my tiny song
Claim my place beneath the sky but i won't be here for long
I sang all night the moon shone on me through the trees
No brothers left and there'll be no more after me


Lyrics submitted by mdon06

Deuteronomy 2:10 song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +5
    Song Meaningat the screening of Rian Johnson's The Life of the World to Come film in NYC, John said that the animals--in verse order--are the Tasmanian Wolf, the dodo, and the golden toad.

    he also said this is one of many songs that is an autobiographical kernel hidden beneath layers of figurative language (my words, not his).

    like much of the album, it's sad and gorgeous.
    toastnuanceson October 06, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis is the song you'd write when you decide you aren't going to have children.
    MsMollyon April 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim."

    I think the key point in the verse is "formerly", commenting on how humans have extinguished these species which used to be plentiful and incredible
    reagankon October 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI really, really have taken to this song, because I have always been very seriously, personally moved by the same footage of the last tasmanian tiger. I am just so grateful that it is John Darnielle who has written the song. I tear up as I write of it.

    this is the last one:
    youtube.com/…
    Salty Kevinon October 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentalso, I think this song is indeed what toastnuances quoted Darnielle is saying, and that I wish more people on here would keep in mind that those layers of figurative language are in many Mountain Goats songs and that they're often not exclusively literal. It would take so much effort to analyze and explain what this song is trying to express, why bother, when you can just feel it in lines like "I have no fear of anyone, I'm dumb and wild and free"
    Salty Kevinon October 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree, it's largely figurative, so feel what you will when you hear it. For me, it's mostly about loneliness and not feeling understood - feeling distant to people. Some of the lyrics definitely seem to refer to his role as a musician though.
    vicioussatsumaon October 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfor the longest time i never really thought about the literal meaning of this song, i always thought the first verse was about a person in prison for life and his "stripes" were tattoos, the second verse about a wandering person who can't seem to find a place in the world and the third verse was about a hermit. Whether it be about animals or people this song is definitely about extinction, maybe even thinking about how you'll always be alone and never find a "mate" to further your own "species"

    also i can totally see what MsMolly says, especially in the last lines of each verse
    ImInYourBasementLolon June 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst part: Tasmanian tiger?
    Second: Dodo
    Third: ?
    mindsaleon October 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEach self is an endangered species.

    It's no mistake that he takes the first person to refer to each of the three extinct animals, rather than referring to them as a collective of a species.
    ThePythonon November 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel like this has to do with dealing with one's own failings, being a shadow of one's former self, etcetera.
    austinnormancoreon May 08, 2011   Link

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