"Angel's Harp" as written by and Mark/francis Linkous....
Pluckin' all day on my angel's harp
Pluckin' all day on my angel's harp

Shoutin' at the rising moon
Knowin' that I will soon stay
At the edge of the plain, on the top of the scarp

I'm pluckin' all day on my angel's harp

Though you made me a buffoon
You did not hear the words that I did croon

I'm pluckin' all day on my angel's harp

I knew you'd finally come around
Won't you please enjoy the sound
I didn't say clap, and I didn't stay sharp

I'm pluckin' all day on my angel's harp

And when I saw your eyes all brown
I pulled them boy, and lo I cut you down

At the edge of the plain, on the top of the scarp

This is where we all will fall
This is what we shall call kill

Pluckin' all day on our angel's harp
A resonator is sounding dark

Though you might be walkin' tall
Everybody gots a lot to grow

Pluckin' all day on my angel's harp
Pluckin' all day on my angel's harp

This is where I'm jumping off
This is where I sail aloft

Lyrics submitted by ohengine

"Angel's Harp" as written by Black (charles Thompson) Francis Mark Linkous

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Angel's Harp song meanings
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    General Commentdanger mouse i <3 you
    sbenon April 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWell, I haven't done ANY research for this one, but this interpretation may be interesting, and I'd like to hear other thoughts on it as well. This song to me says "death", or even "suicide" I mean, it IS on an album called Dark Night of the Soul, which is an old theological phrase denoting a period of deep depression and meaninglessness in life, the death of the ego, leading the wise or the willful to a state of being in their "true" self, noticing that death is just an illusion, a phase, and noticing the collective consciousness of all living beings. In a Borat voice I say "I digress!"

    So the main phrase that keeps getting repeated is "pluckin' all day on my angel's harp". So the narrator of the song either IS or simply likens himself to an angel. Depending on your own interpretation, this could be saying that he has died and now is like that cartoonish angel, complete with wings, halo, and harp. When I consider death as a theme in the album in general, it makes me think of the Grim Reaper (the angel of death), who is "plucking all day at his angel's harp", which for him, is his scythe. More generally, all day he is simply performing the function for which he was designed by God.

    He says "Shouting at the rising moon, knowing that I will soon stay at the edge of the plain, the top of the scarp"

    So the moon is rising, meaning night has come (figuratively speaking). If he is shouting, perhaps he is a person dying, and he is shouting either in resistance or defiance even. Without more to go on, it is hard to say which, if either, is more accurate. He knows that he "will soon stay at the edge of the plain, the top of the scarp". To me, this suggests he knows that night has fallen on his life, he is dying and that he will forever hence reside on the edge of the "plane" of existence (death being one plane and life being the other). If we're still considering the role of the angel of death here, which, as I go I'm starting to see less and less as the intention, but I'll indulge myself for a bit longer-- death sits at the edge of these two planes of existence, doing its duty. Death is at the top of the scarp (escarpment, a steep hill or bank, or ridge, or something similar), looking down over the field of souls to reap. If the narrator is just a dying man, he may be referring to the top of the scarp in a way meaning, as far as he can go, or an ascension of some kind, like an angel rising up from the body.

    "Though you made me a buffoon, you did not hear the words that I did croon"

    This one has me stumped. It has made a buffoon of me. HOWEVER if I HAVE to croon any guess, I'd say the narrator, which I think we can now assume is either a dying/dead man, or death incarnate (or maybe a simultaneous representation of both, who knows), is now addressing a third party. Maybe it's the dying man telling death or another person that by killing him, he/she/it, has made a buffoon of him, as he was foolish to think that death would not come to him (as we all tend to feel from time to time, especially when we're young). OR perhaps it is the reaper saying to the dying something like "You mocked me, but you didn't even hear me coming". This seems to make more sense to me now. It is starting to sound like a trade off between a human being and death, both saying their parts. Idk, this part was a stretch for me, so more ideas are welcomed and needed. Let's just move on.

    "I knew you'd finally come around, won't you please enjoy the sound"

    Again, sounds like the dying man telling death, "I knew you'd take me one day, so enjoy as I play on my new harp" lol. Maybe.

    "I didn't say clap, and I didn't stay sharp"

    No idea about the "I didn't say clap" part. But the "I didn't stay sharp" part may be saying something like, "I didn't stay alert, on my toes, ready, and that's why death (or my human killer -- let's not rule out human on human homicide here) eventually got me.

    The next part is tricky too, so forgive me if it starts to seem like reaching, but I'm doing my best with a very cryptic piece.

    "When I saw your eyes all brown, I pulled em boy and lo I cut you down"

    I've seen the lyrics written this way a couple of times, but it really sounds more to me like "I pulled the bow and lo I cut you down". Like an archer pulling a bow, firing an arrow, and killing a person. These lyrics would make a lot more sense for the death themed theory this way. It would also give meaning to the "When I saw your eyes all brown" part, which could have been written that way partly for the rhyme scheme. Basically saying, I looked into your eyes as I killed you, or I killed you when you got close, or something like that. We also have that famous command by William Prescott from the American Revolution during the battle of Bunker Hill, "Don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes!" which was said because (as the story goes) the Continental Army was low on ammunition and couldn't waste shots (wah wah wee wah I digress!). Brown is also the most common human eye color in the world (here's where I start reaching). So in this instance we have the killer (be it the angel of death, or a person), saying I looked into your eyes and killed you. Could be person to person, or could be the angel of death speaking to mankind in general. I know, reaching, reaching... But it does seem more and more like there are at least TWO different "speakers" in this song. The one doing the dying, and the one doing the killing, IF the death theme holds any water. MOVING ON...

    "This is where we all will fall, this is what we shall call kill"

    Ok definitely talking about death. At least I'm onto something there. Specifically, word for word, the lyrics are cryptic in this order, but shorter fragments like "we all will fall" and just the word "kill" give credence to the death/killing theory of the meaning. Wait a second.. If the narrator is saying "this is what we shall call kill", could it be that whomever is doing the speaking is talking about the world's first murder (i.e., Cain killing Abel in the book of Genesis)? That makes sense if you think about the line "this is where we all will fall" too, because it's talking about the fall of man, original sin, expulsion from paradise, the fact that according to the Bible, humans all started out as immortal, but now because we broke God's law, we suffer a short life span? The title of the album being Dark Night of the Soul gives that a little weight as well, being a phrase from Christian theology. We may be closing in on a meaning for this one from this line alone.

    "A resonator is sounding dark"

    Since the song is called Angel's Harp, I think it's safe to assume that in this case, the "resonator" referred to is the part of the harp which produces sound when the string is plucked. It sounding dark signifies, maybe, that it's faint, or fading away. Perhaps just "dark" in the general sense of the word, mysterious, unknown, like death.

    "Though you might be walkin' tall, everybody gots a lot to grow"

    Well the first part makes sense in that no matter how big and bad you might be, death will take you eventually. If you got a lot to grow, that also means you have more development to undergo. As explained earlier, the Dark Night of the Soul is a metaphorical death, leading to a new rebirth. So maybe this line is talking about the death of the ego and the spiritual "growth" that follows the soul's "dark night". Sounds pretty good. Moving along. Almost done.

    "This is where I'm jumping off. This is where I sail aloft"

    Pretty obvious, it's the end of the song. It's almost like the same message as "This is where I'm signing off", like "I'm done", or "It's over", or "I'm dead". "Jumping off" sounds a little suicidal, but that doesn't really fit with the rest of the song when so much sounds like it's about being killed, or death in general. "This is where I sail aloft"... "Aloft" means "up" right, so he's now the angel, drifting upward into Heaven (..we hope).

    Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I hope more people comment on this obscure, but brilliantly produced piece of music. Proud to be the first.
    RockitZomboyon February 19, 2015   Link

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