"Barnacled Warship" as written by and John Patrick Vivian Flynn....
Gotta get out, gotta shout, gotta sing
Gotta dance, gotta jump, gotta run
Think I'll fight a war, I don't know what for
But I'll learn when I get my gun

Well, I left home three days ago
I feel like going to bed
Open the courts and a new religion
Burning through my head
Burning through my head

Made my way with the fusiliers
I even fought my way back home
But the front line shifted and my rifle got lifted
Had to fight the war on my own

Well, I left home three days ago
I feel like going to bed
Walking downtown gave me cold, cold fingers
And my feet were made of lead
My feet were made of lead

I'll just eat fruit on your doorstep
I'll just drink pailfuls of rain
I'm but a barnacled warship
Singing the fighter's refrain
Singing the fighter's

Made my way with the Salvation Army
Take them on with a tambourine
I'll strike down sinners like the old gunslingers
Smooth 'em out like margarine

Well, I left home three days ago
I feel like going to bed
Open the courts and a new religion
Burning through my head
Burning through my head

Went to the gambling shop today
They had me five to one
Heard a voice behind me say
Put down the Bible and pick up your gun

Well, I left home three days ago
I feel like going to bed
Water downtown gave me cold, cold fingers
And my feet were made of lead
My feet were made of lead

I'll just eat fruit on your doorstep
I'll just drink pailful's of rain
I'm but a barnacled warship
Singing the fighter's refrain
Singing the fighter's


Lyrics submitted by Macphisto12

"Barnacled Warship" as written by John Patrick Vivian Flynn

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Barnacled Warship song meanings
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  • +2
    Song MeaningThe lyrics of this song are very profound and at the same time cynical and tragic I think.

    As far as I understand it, the "I" of this song, the "barnacled warship", is a person that lives his life looking out for groups or "armys" he can join. He doesn´t care about the contents or the purposes, but he just wants to get active in fighting and it´s enough for him to know he belongs to a special collective: "think I´ll fight a war I don´t know what for". And so he joins the real Army and afterwards also a christian group (the Salvation Army), that doesn´t make any difference to him. And again afterwards he puts down his Bible and picks up the real gun again. And we can imagine that he still is going to change his "membership" many many times, regardless of belief or ideology.

    What I find most sinister about it is this quality "barnacled". Like an unintelligent burr he sticks to his "army", not as a thinking human being. He´s satisfied to stay on the doorsteps and eat some fruit and have "pillfuls of rain" like an animal. And he´s suffering ("cold fingers", "feet made of lead").
    He´s left his home,he permanently leaves his home and in spite of feeling fresh and eager he feels "like going to bed", an expression for the numb und dull mood he is in.

    And Johnny´s bitter-naive tone as well as the mechanical stamping and pacing of the cello and also the shrill and piercing violins display this whole attitude hauntingly.
    It´s really art, a real masterpiece.



    BirdonaBirchon May 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt's about a young man going to war. Initially he is restless and eager for glory, but he quickly realises the folly of war, becoming a cynical 'barnacled warship'. I think the chorus is about him feeling isolated from society when he returns from war, hence he has to eat on the 'doorsteps' of his previous countrymen.
    callum828on June 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionI think it's "But I'll learn when I've got my gun" - only a slight difference, but not completely trivial!
    dassindgeschichtenon June 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCould it be... "the water downtown gave me cold cold fingers" ...?
    NooneofConsequenceon July 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWhat a beautiful song, you can take the martial lexus literally or metaphorically and still get the same feeling.

    For me personally the 'barnacled warship' is a man fighting to survive and becoming host to many ideologies and experiences giving new life and placing new scars on his vessel. Rung especailly true to me of the inner battles we fight as we try to find our own way after we leave home. You want to feel as alive as possible while fighting for a noble cause, you dont know what but you hope to find new strengths which will point you the right way. Im probably being biased seeing as im mid-travels and just out the door myself, but his lyrics resonate certain notions to me. Putting new philosophies on trial,not wanting to be a burden, knowing home and your sense of place and duty (frontline) will change as soon as you return. Most of the time finding , wherever you end up, you have to put aside all your philosophies and principles, new or old, and just take your chances.


    arthurvon July 21, 2011   Link

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