There is a spring
Not far from here
The water runs
Both sweet and clear
Both sweet and clear
And cold
Could crack your bones
With veins of gold

I stood a-wagging
At the tap
Just a-waiting
On the lagging, rising sap
I held the cold
Tin ladle to my lip
At the shrine of the thousand arms
I lowered my eyes to sip

What a beautiful day
To catch my drift
Or be caught up
In it
You want your love, love?
Come and get your love
I only took it back
Because I thought you didn't

How my ears did ring
At the municipal pound
From that old hangdog
To which I was bound
Curled 'round the bottom rung
Doesn't anybody want you?
Well, come on, darlin'
I could use someone like you around

I am not like you
I ain't from this place
And I do reserve the right
To repeat all my same mistakes
And, in the night, like you
I certainly bite and chew
What I can find
And never seem to lose the taste

What a horrible face
I feel me make
For
Pete's sake!
What you have told me
I cannot erase
Though I keep on saying
And I do believe it is not too late

All day you're hassling me with trifles
Black nose of the dog
As cold as a rifle
Indicating, with a nudge
God, no god, god, no god
Sweet, appraising eye of the dog
Blink once if god
Twice if no god

My mama may be
Ashamed of me
With all of my
Finery
Carrying on, whooping it up
'Til the early morn
Lost and lorn
Among the madding revelry

Sure, I can pass
Honey, I can pass
Particularly when I start
To tip my glass
I'll be a sport and have a go
At that old song, singing unabashed
About "them city girls with their ribbon bows
and their fancy sash"

But though I get so sad
I could swear the night makes a motion to claim me
Around that second verse, I reckon I've felt worse
And still held fast
But later on when I am alone
Alone at last
Well, I take my god to task
I take my doggone god to task


Lyrics submitted by mutinyinheaven_x

Ribbon Bows song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe song that she's singing about; "them city girls with their ribbon bows and their fancy sash" is the song "Ribbon Bow" by Karen Dalton. It's truly a fantastic and very tragic song.



    winterisalloveryouon August 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe that “ribbon bows” is pretty straightforward. our narrator is lounging at a spring, thinking about her failed relationship: “you want your love, love? come and get your love. I only took it back because I thought you didn't.” I think that she knows he does not, in fact, want it.

    next, we have a scene in which she goes to a municipal pound, or animal shelter. she sees a lowly, unlovable looking dog, and bonds with it right away. I am willing to bet that a good deal of people can relate to looking into their dog's face and wondering what it was thinking. the narrator has been questioning god lately, and his plans for her if he does exist. after all, she's been through a lot. she is looking into that dog's sweet, loving face, and asking it questions about god.
    she knows that she is unlike her mother, and even a probable source of shame. the old song by karen dalton is referenced here: she goes out, gets drunk, and starts singing it. the song is tragic, and she starts feeling down, but no matter how depressed she gets she “reckon[s she's] felt worse and still held fast.”

    when she gets home, she continues questioning god. I believe that “kingfisher” is continuation of this line of questioning.

    ericaruthon September 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'd be grateful if anyone has any corrections.there are some verses i'm really not certain what the lyrics are.
    lady-con December 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have some corrections, but a note that I'm not entirely sure about them either (they're in caps):

    i held the COLD TIN LID up to my lip
    at the shrine of a thousand arms, MY LORD,
    my eyes DO SIT


    you want your love? LOVE,
    come and get your love
    i only took it
    back because i thought you DID

    how my ears did ring
    at the municipal pound
    AT that OLD HANGDOG
    toOoOoOoOoOoO WHICH I WAS BOUND
    CURL ROUND THE FIRE OF LOVE
    WHEN NOBODY WANTS YOU
    well come on darlin
    i could use someone like you around

    i am not like you
    i aint from this place
    and i do reserve the right to repeat
    ALL OF my same MISTAKES
    but in the night
    LIKE YOU
    I'LL CERTAINLY BITE AND CHEW
    well i can find
    i never seem to lose the taste

    what a horrible face
    I FEEL ME MAKE

    all day you hassle me
    with TRIFLES
    black nose of the dog
    as cold as a rifle
    INDICATING WITH A NUDGE
    GOD
    NO GOD
    GOD NO GOD
    sweet APPRAISING eye of the dog
    BLINK ONCE IF GOD
    TWICE IF NO GOD

    MY MOMMA MAY BE
    ashamed of me
    with all of my finery
    carrying on WHOOPING IT ON
    to the early morn
    lost alone among the maddening revelry
    SHOOT I CAN PASS
    honey i CAN pass
    particularly when i STOP TO TIP MY GLASS

    i'll be a sport and have a go
    at that old song
    SINGING UNABASHED
    about THE city girls with the ribbon bows

    well i take my god to task
    i take my DOGGONE god to task.

    Cheers!

    blueoftheskyon December 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks, i'll make some amendments.
    lady-con December 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't heard the music for this yet, anyone know if it's been released yet? But the lyrics are contemplative as ever!
    momoko243on January 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe title of this song is, indeed, Ribbon Bows and it's on her new album Have One on Me
    sprout13on February 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about me.
    sweetadeleiiineon July 29, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust been reading toni morrison's "song of solomon" and about halfway through chapter ten i came across the line "sane, appraising eyes of the dogs"--and i found myself singing it in my head. this song is why. i remember reading somewhere that joanna likes toni morrison. can't quite see any other connections to the book in this song, though.
    annieoveron August 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis, to me, is apparently likening Bill Callahan to an old hangdog.

    listen to "Faith/Void," from his new Album, and you will understand.
    ClairePiazza243on October 13, 2010   Link

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