"Barcarola (You Must Be a Christmas Tree)" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
Oh, no one else is happily, recklessly
Asking for more than what they may need
I can't say what I need

Oh, temper what you say if you've nothing nice to say
So my grandmother says to me
With her heart on her sleeve

So, sadly I left the door open
And I let the dog out in the snow
Oh where did she go?

Oh, father friend, will you punish me, punish me
With a look of contempt, with a look of contempt
I can't recall

Oh, I know you did right by me, right by me
Wagging your hands when you found me
With the bag of your things

Please, please don't be a stranger here
A stranger who takes from the world
Who takes from the world

You, you must be a Christmas tree, a Christmas tree
You light up the room, oh, you light up the room
Oh, you light up the room

So suddenly you kissed me
You tickled me in front of your mother, who looked away
With her hands on her face

Don't run away my friend
You won't be back again, you said you needed me
But I know that you needed yourself to be cleaned of me

Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
You said you needed me
But I know that you needed yourself to be cleaned of me

Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
You ran your hands through my hair, through the snow
Where the frost-blooded flows with the terrible ghost

Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
You said you needed me
But I know


Lyrics submitted by perpetualwolfe, edited by dronechip

"Barcarola (You Must Be a Christmas Tree)" as written by Sufjan Stevens

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Barcarola (You Must Be a Christmas Tree) song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI can't believe no one has commented yet on how beautiful this song is. One of his best Christmas song IMO.

    very minor corrections on the lyrics. All and all great job.


    Oh, no one else is happily, recklessly
    Asking for more than what they may need
    I can't say what I need

    Oh, temper what you say if you've nothing nice to say
    So my grandmother says to me
    With her heart on her sleeve

    So, sadly I left the door open
    And I left the dog out in the snow
    Oh where did she go?

    Oh, father friend, will you punish me, punish me
    With a look of content, with a look of content
    I can't recall

    Oh, I know you did right by me, right by me
    Wagging your hands when you found me
    With the bag of your things

    Please, please don’t be a stranger here
    A stranger who takes from the world
    Who takes from the world

    You, you must be a Christmas tree, a Christmas tree
    You light up the room, oh, you light up the room
    Oh, you light up the room

    Please, solemnly you kissed me
    You tickled me in front of your mother, who looked away
    With her hands on her face

    Don't run away my friend
    You won't be back again, you said you needed me
    But I know that you needed yourself to be cleaned of me

    Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
    You said you needed me
    But I know that you needed yourself to be cleaned of me

    Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
    You ran your hands through my hair, through the snow
    Where the frost-blooded flows with the terrible ghost

    Don't run away my friend, you won't be back again
    You said you needed me
    But I know
    Spatula2on February 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song ComparisonDoes anyone else think the "Don't run away my friend/You won't be back again" sounds like an interpolation of the chorus of Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me"? That's the first thing I thought of when I heard this song. Great track.
    jdh0827on November 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a beautiful song. I wonder if this song has thematic links Sufjan's "Predatory Wasp of the Palisades." Both songs speak of a relationship with a friend that seems emotional or romantic (with the friend and him kissing), in which the friend "runs away."

    The friend in "Palisades" seems male, and I can't find anything in this song suggesting otherwise (nothing is overtly female about the friend). It may be that the "friend" who kissed him in this song the same "father friend" he mentions a few lines before (kinda unsettling, but who knows). Or maybe he's referring to a number of different characters as friends?

    I suppose the dog he left out in the snow could be the friend as well. It may seem silly, but I've seen similar interpretations that "Palisades" was about a dog (c.f. "I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed").
    aylamaraxon December 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this might be another song about Robyn, Sufjan's highschool girlfriend, who is also the subject of The Dress Looks Nice On You and Size Too Small.
    phlipon September 07, 2013   Link

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