"Kathleen" as written by and David Gray....
Lay down my head by the wayside
My worn out shoes
Quite why she went I can't decide
Yeah but I sure could use
One plate of food steaming and hot
Clean linen ironed
On a fresh made bed but I ain't got
One salty dime, one salty dime

Just close your eyes it won't take long
It won't hurt a bit
Telling myself I could be strong
Or some such brave bullshit
Trucks are roaring by I'm a red ghost
In their tail light gleam
I'm a tumbleweed, I'm a spit roast
Just turning in your flame
Oh my darlin' Kathleen
Oh my darlin' Kathleen

Cars they sound like waves that are breaking
On some distant shore
I gazed so hard into the great aching sky
It seemed that I, I wasn't here no more
That my rushing blood was a river
My eyes two stars
My blowing hair all a quiver
A whispering field of grass
That murmurs as you pass
Oh my darlin' Kathleen
That whispers out your name
Oh my darlin' Kathleen
Oh my darlin' Kathleen


Lyrics submitted by th3gh05t

"Kathleen" as written by David Gray

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Kathleen song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationFor me this song is about someone who's lover "Kathleen" has died. He has lost everything and is now wandering aimlessly through life.

    The first verse is more literal, with him homeless laying down beside the road penniless; having either loss all his money caring for the dying Kathleen or due to his meltdown after her death.

    He is now just waiting/hoping to die as the cars drive by him.
    david77699on February 19, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"That my rushing blood was a river
    My eyes two stars "
    That line sends a tingle down my spine
    georjefreeon October 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalthough there is not a 'That..' at the start of the line!
    georjefreeon October 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite song on the new album. The simple, beautiful piano and his voice just give me chills.
    deadstarsxxon October 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat tune... I'm not sure wot it means but I think Kathleen is s babe he is head over heels for and she's left him. His whole world has changed since she's been gone.
    boypluon November 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDeadstarsxx - Couldn't agree with you more. Jolie Holland's backing vocals are amazing, I checked her solo stuff out and it's Norah Jones-esque, prefer her backing on D Gray. I think this is a song about someone who has feelings for someone else, but they aren't recognized. "Telling myself I could be strong Or some such brave bullshit" Best lines of the song.
    Runner13on August 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTrucks are roaring by I'm a red ghost
    In their tail light gleam
    I'm a tumbleweed, I'm a spit roast
    Just turning in your flame
    -- omg how awesome is this... real jewel of a poet
    pandyamon September 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuite why she went I can�t decide
    Yeah but I sure could use
    One plate of food steaming and hot
    Clean linen ironed
    On a fresh made bed but I ain�t got
    One salty dime, one salty dime

    clearly, the person he's lost is his housekeeper! he really misses his housekeeper Kathleen, but he can't afford her or another cleaner anymore and that's why he misses having food and a clean bed.

    in the next two verses he seems to have gone for a walk along the highway, basically to nowhere because he's lost without his girlfriend. the "red ghost" line is clever.

    Just close your eyes it won�t take long
    It won�t hurt a bit

    no idea what he's talking about here. WHAT won't hurt a bit? maybe it's just the act of getting out of the house in such a miserable state that hurts, but it's not really clear from the song.

    enjoy David Gray's music. his use of the piano adds a subtlety to the lyrics that a heavier instrumental would drown out. the same song lyrics (any song) by another band would sound more contrived than Gray allows.
    game05on May 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuite why she went I can�t decide
    Yeah but I sure could use
    One plate of food steaming and hot
    Clean linen ironed
    On a fresh made bed but I ain�t got
    One salty dime, one salty dime

    clearly, the person he's lost is his housekeeper! he really misses his housekeeper Kathleen, but he can't afford her or another cleaner anymore and that's why he misses having food and a clean bed.

    in the next two verses he seems to have gone for a walk along the highway, basically to nowhere because he's lost without his girlfriend. the "red ghost" line is clever.

    Just close your eyes it won�t take long
    It won�t hurt a bit

    no idea what he's talking about here. WHAT won't hurt a bit? maybe it's just the act of getting out of the house in such a miserable state that hurts, but it's not really clear from the song.

    enjoy David Gray's music. his use of the piano adds a subtlety to the lyrics that a heavier instrumental would drown out. the same song lyrics (any song) by another band would sound more contrived than Gray allows.
    game05on May 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great love song. Poetry. This is what love is.
    rustykenhason June 03, 2017   Link

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