Driven through by her own sword
Summer died last night, alone
Even the ghosts huddled up for warmth
Autumn has come to my hometown

Friendly voices, dead and gone
Singing, Star of the country down
(Even the ghosts help raise the barn
Here now in my hometown)

When out of the massing
that bodes and bides,In the cold West
Flew a waxwing who froze and died against my breast
And all the while, rain, like a weed in the tide, swans and lisps
Down on the gossiping lawns, saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk"

I may have changed
It's hard to gauge
Time won't account for how I've aged
Would I could tie your lying tongue
Who says that leaving keeps you young

And I have got no control
Over my heart, over my mind
Over the hills, the rainclouds roll
I'll winter here, wait for a sign

To cast myself out over the water
Riven like a wishbone
You'd hardly guess
I was my own mother's daughter
I ain't naturally given to roam.
And I lay low when I return
And I move like a gurney whose wheels are squeaking
Alone in a home
And I laugh when you speak
Of my pleasure-seekin'

Among the tall pines
Along the ley lines
Here, where the loon keens.
There, where the moon leans
where I know my violent love lays down,
in a row of silent dove-grey days
Here in a row of silent dove-grey days

Wherever I go, I am snow-bound
By thoughts of him whom I would shun
I love them all, one by one
Cannot gain ground
Cannot outrun
But time marches along
You can't always stick around
But when the final count is done
I will be in my hometown
I will be in my hometown


Lyrics submitted by kitteh, edited by chrisbo1c7, forsqueak

Autumn song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentCorrected lyrics and better formatting [accoeding to cb book, of course]:

    Driven through by her own sword
    Summer died last night, alone.
    Even the ghosts
    huddle up for warmth.
    Autumn has come to my hometown

    Friendly voices, dead and gone,
    singing, Star of the country down...
    (even the ghosts help raise the barn,
    here, now, in my hometown)

    -when, out of the massing
    that bodes and bides, in the cold west,
    flew a waxwing, who froze
    and died against my breast!
    And all the while, rain,
    like a weed in the tide,
    swans and lists, down
    on the gossiping lawn,
    saying, "tsk, tsk, tsk".

    I may have changed. It's hard to gauge.
    Time won't account for how I've aged.
    Would I could tie your lying tongue,
    who says that leaving keeps you young.

    I have got no control
    over my heart, over my mind.
    Over the hills, the rainclouds roll.
    I'll winter here, wait for a sign.

    To cast myself
    out, over the water,
    riven like a wishbone.
    You'd hardly guess
    I was my own mother's daughter;
    I ain't naturally given to roam.
    I lay low, when I return,
    and I move
    like a gurney
    whose wheels are squeaking,
    alone, here in my home,
    and I laugh,
    when you speak of my
    pleasure-seeking
    among the tall pines,
    along the lay-lines.
    Here, where the loon keens.
    There, where the moon leans.
    There,
    where I know my violent love lays down,
    in a row of silent, dove-gray days.
    Here, in a row of silent, dove-gray days.

    Wherever I go, I am snowbound
    by thoughts of him
    whom I would sun.
    I loved them all,
    one by one.
    Cannot gain ground,
    cannot outrun;
    but time marches along.
    You can't always stick around.
    But, when the final count is done,
    I will be in my hometown.
    I will be in my hometown.
    Juanjo25on March 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is a fairly straight-forward song concerning her as a person, not the musician.
    She's consistent in stating that she is not a roamer and finds touring and world-travel unlike her.
    She'd prefer to stay in her home, collecting antiques, playing harp and sleeping into the evening.
    I remember an early interview with JN in 2004 when she said that if the music didn't work out her dream job would be somewhere close to her hometown in a doo-dad or antique shoppe.

    I believe when you begin interacting with other people (in this situation, romantically) people drum up ideas of you. "I laugh when you speak of my pleasure-seeking ways." Many people who come into contact with you may think you are something different than you are. Oh, so you are a harpist/songwriter who tours the world. You must love that. But, I don't think it's that cut and dry.
    She loves making music and sharing it, I guess. But I think people can begin to mistake you for seeking out that sort of gypsy life for yourself and bending you into a caricature. Later, in 'Ribbon Bows' she specifies that she is not like that - but she can pass. Honey, she sure can pass.

    That's all I think 'Autumn' is about, really. Tho I do think it's a bit of an elegy of sorts.



    fishbellyfaceon August 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShe paints such a beautiful portrait of returning to Nevada City and being overwhelmed by the changes there and in her own life - as if her hometown was a mirror into her soul. I think Good Intentions alludes to some of the same emotions - as does In California and perhaps Occident.

    This verse says it best:

    I may have changed. It's hard to gauge.
    Time won't account for how I've aged.
    Would I could tie your lying tongue,
    who says that leaving keeps you young.
    lostatlimboon March 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI find the fact that she weaves birds into a lot of her poetry very romantic... it's not so much a 'lovey dovey' kind of romantic... no it's more of a 'the pictures she paints are painfully beautiful' kind of thing
    spiders, birch, bones, and birds.. lovely lovely lovely
    Breananon May 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment Lovely song although I was a bit confused when she said "Friendly voices, dead and gone,
    singing, Star of the country down." as Down is actually a county in Ireland. But apparently you can say star of the country down aswell
    SOTSon July 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI did some intense research (went to the Wikipedia page on waxwings...) and found this little couplet from the book "Pale Fire" by Nabokov:

    I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
    By the false azure in the windowpane

    Joanna has talked about being a big Nabokov fan in several interviews, so I don't think it's too big of a stretch to say this (plus the whole "bird flies into window" section of "Only Skin") might be related to the book.
    catweazleon August 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song could just as easily be narrated by joanna herself. it's incredibly beautiful, although I think that, as one of the more understated songs on the album, it will tend to go unnoticed on the first few listens. once the song sets in and you really begin to appreciate it, however, it is incredibly haunting and lovely.

    i'm going to stick with the interpretation of the album as one whole story, and assume that it's the same narrator telling this one, and not joanna. her description of her hometown shows that she perceives it as both a dismal ghost-town and strangely beautiful at once. she reminisces about her relationship: “would I could tie your lying tongue...”

    this is also one of two songs in the album in which the narrator stresses how unlike her mother she is. perhaps this is why being home makes her uncomfortable. as seen in “ribbon bows”, her mother does not approve of her and her life choices.
    ericaruthon September 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe 'By thoughts of him, whom I would shun.' (who or whom, can't really tell, guess it's a question of grammar). took a few listens to figure out that she wasn't talking about runes or shine or sun :-)
    whalehearton April 04, 2011   Link

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