"Don't Carry It All" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Here we come to a turning of the season
Witness to the arc towards the sun
The neighbors blessed burden within reason
Becomes a burden borne of all in one
And nobody, nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don't carry it all don't carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
But meet this bold and brilliant sun
But this I swear to all

A monument to build beneath the arbors
Upon a cliff that towers towards the trees
But every vessel pitching hard to starboard
Lay it's head on summer's freckled knees
And nobody, nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don't carry it all don't carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
This I swear to all, this I swear to all

And there a wreath of trillium and ivy
Laid upon the body of the boy
Lazy will the long come from it's hiding
Return his quiet certitude to the soil
So raise a glass to turnings of the season
And watch it as it arcs towards the sun
And you must bear your neighbors burden within reason
And your labors will be borne when all is done, and nobody nobody knows
Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don't carry it all don't carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun

And this I swear to all
And this I swear to all
And this I swear to all

To all
To all
To all


Lyrics submitted by MarcelLionheart, edited by pfv, Salvar

"Don't Carry It All" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Don't Carry It All song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment@ treant - A great observation, and although a child's death certainly plays a part in this song, I think it's about the autumn season. A celebration of the fruits of labor, a unified community (the chorus), a homecoming, and death all in one.

    "A neighbor's blessed burden within reason", I believe, refers to a harvest of some sort. I picture fields of wheat needing sowing and a community coming together in helping ("becomes a burden borne of one and all").

    I've chuckled to myself thinking of this song as a sort of communist anthem. The tune itself certainly has a sense of a marching of sorts.

    "A monument to build beneath the arbors" has me thinking of a wedding. A couple standing underneath an arbor committing themselves to one another certainly is a building of something monumental. Sorry. That's totally cheesy, I know.

    "Let every vessel pitching hard towards starboard, Lay it's head on summer's freckled knees." The homecoming toward the end of a long summer travel season. I love the lyric about summer having freckled knees. So brilliant.

    Along with the wonders of a great harvest, a celebration in marriage and homecoming, death also falls upon this autumn season. "Lazy will the loam come from its hiding" is an amazing way of telling of the earth claiming this deceased child.

    And the last verse brings it all back, "So raise a glass to turnings of the season, And watch it as it arcs towards the sun."


    tomher90on April 01, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIf you follow the verses, it seems like it might be about a child dying and the community's reaction to the event. The "turning of the season" is the death - a time of change. The phrase "neighbors' blessed burden" could perhaps refer to the child when it was still alive - the "blessed burden" being the task of caring for the child - which, through death, is "borne of all and one" as the whole community mourns. The chorus seems to exhort the parents to not carry the whole burden of the death themselves but to share their sadness with their friends and neighbors. The next verse describes a monument to be built that perhaps will provide a place of peace and rest where "every vessel pitching" in the metaphorical ocean of life can "lay its head on summer's freckled knees". The following verse adds more detail, describing how at the monument the boy will be buried and return to the soil. The last verse ties back to the first verse but with a more reflective tone, describing how as the community members help the parents to accept their loss, they will one day also be supported by the community in their own times of trouble.
    treanton January 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that Meloy said that the "turning of the seasons" was reference to the album's change in sound in an interview somewhere.
    Ziharkon January 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionCouple things that popped out to me, third verse, I think he is saying "hiding" not "high beam".

    First chorus it sounds like he says "but" not "and" on the last line.

    Also, I think in this context it would be spelled "borne" not "born".


    Other then that, this sounds like a perfect interpretation. Also a great song.
    RobertELeeton December 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song screams Arcade Fire's "Wake Up." Still great, though.
    pnw13on January 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfrom their website:

    Lazy will the loam come from its hiding
    And return this quiet searcher to the soil
    danafr4on March 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about the band coming back to who they really are, a change from the direction they were going with their previous albums.
    TomeOneon November 09, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAt face value, I first thought this song was about the Mayflower and the pilgrims, which it very well could be.

    I think this song is about a relationship/marriage. A neighbor is someone who is next to you, as in standing at the altar or standing next to you in life. I think "bear your neighbor's burden within reason" (my favorite lyrics of the song) is sharing your partner's woes and troubles, and not letting them shoulder all the responsibility in the relationship. The monument is the home, or center of the new life, and the "vessels pitching hard to starboard" could be like "troubles in the waters" or relationship issues. The "body of the boy" could be a miscarriage or death of an infant son.

    "Raising a glass to the turning of the seasons" is knowing that time goes on and you can get through problems. "Arc towards the sun" is that everything gets better.

    The chorus and title "don't carry it all" means to share in the relationship, don't carry all the stress, talk about it with your partner and "share the burden". Letting the "yolk fall from our shoulders" is just to relax sometimes, take a break from life and just be.
    Vytasbon February 14, 2015   Link

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