"Oats in the Water" as written by and Benjamin John Howard....
Go your way,
I'll take the long way 'round,
I'll find my own way down,
As I should.

And hold your gates
As croak in the midas touch
A joke in the way that we rust,
And breathe again.

And you'll find loss
And you'll fear what you found
When weather comes
Tear him down

There'll be oats in the water
There'll be birds on the ground
There'll be things you never asked her
Oh how they tear at you now

Go your way,
I'll take the long way 'round,
I'll find my own way down,
As I should.

And hold your gates
As croak in the midas touch
A joke in the way that we rust,
And breathe again.

And you'll find loss
And you'll fear what you found
When weather comes
Tear him down

There'll be oats in the water
There'll be birds on the ground
There'll be things you never asked her
Oh how they tear at you now


Lyrics submitted by M4TTY, edited by miss-r0ck, suky73, Riveriam, oneopinion, CLuther88, cwliias, YC21, rikblok, Shankley, jr81452

"Oats In the Water" as written by Benjamin John Howard

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Oats in the Water song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentCoke is a high carbon material derived from coal and used in the process of smelting iron ore to make steel. Midas was a king in Greek mythology who turned things to gold by his touch, this of course was a curse and not a blessing because even his food and drink turned to gold and he eventually died hungry despite his wealth. In gold smelting, coke is not normally used as it would be an impurity in the gold. "Coke in the Midas touch" is a metaphor possibly meaning that there is a cost to comfort and riches. This metalurgical metaphor is consistent with the next line which says "a joke in the way we rust." Again, rust destroys, just as coke would ruin the purity of gold. It is therefore, unlikely that the word "coke" refers to cocaine as the language of metaphor convincingly points to it referring to the coke used in smelting.
    slosh000on November 12, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is obviously a goodbye song. He was not on good terms with whoever he was saying goodbye to. As to who he was speaking to, I have no clue. I don't think this is a breakup song. His imagery gives lots of detail as to the intensity of the relationship. Oats in the water resembles things left with no conclusion. The birds on the ground means that those conclusions were eaten up and lost by time.
    I freakin love this song. I have a huge mancrush on Ben Howard!
    vex390on November 01, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My OpinionI think this is one of those songs that's meant to be interpreted by the listener, there is no definitive meaning. I do think that Mr. Howard aimed these lyrics at somebody in particular though, you can feel the animosity when you listen. It's a great song, the lyrics and the guitar compliment each other beautifully...
    PghHooliganon November 11, 2013   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationIn my opinion slosh is probably right... But to me I have had a friend die from shootin up stuff.

    I read this as he has also had a friend die of an overdose when he says
    "Go your way,
    I'll take the long way 'round,
    I'll find my own way down,
    As I should."
    He's basically saying you killed yourself with drugs and I'll live my life and die some what of his own volition.

    And the rest is basically talking about the lure of drugs and how they robbed his friend of what he could of had or done.
    cwliiason January 18, 2014   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI've read somewhere that this is a song about cocaine.
    Oats n' Barley = Charlie = cocaine
    "Oats in the water" is the preparation required to inject it.

    I believe the 2nd verse should start:

    And hold your gaze
    There's coke in the Midas touch
    DjangosCloudson December 12, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationA few people here have some very interesting ideas. That's what I love about music. The song may be about something completely different than you thought, and to every person it may carry another interpretation.

    Having experienced my first pregnancy and my first loss at 38 weeks last year, this song has a significant impact on me emotionally since this happened.

    The first verse speaks to me of the struggle he is having with coming to terms with being a father, and finding his way to acceptance.
    The second verse says to be patient with him for he is not perfect and although we are suffering, we persevere.
    The third verse reminds me how I felt when I found out I was pregnant and the fear of telling him for I might lose him, when the time came, I weathered the storm and brought him back to reality.
    The fourth verse talks about pregnancy and its risks, and the things that weight heavily on his mind, possibly not taking into consideration all the things I was feeling and dealing with on top of his struggles (especially now since the loss), or maybe his fears that his child is not his is another one that comes to mind.

    Anyways, that's my interpretation of it.
    motherofangelson March 11, 2015   Link

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