"Temporary Ground" as written by and Jack White....
On a floating lily island
Moving over slowly sideways
Rested temper and the creatures
Spending all of their days

Praying for the floor to
Buckle down below their belts
Crashing into yet another
Drifting continental shelf

[Chorus x2:]
Moving without motion
Screaming without sound
Across an open ocean
Flying there on temporary ground

The old explorers had it easy
They discovered nothing new
But returned on home with answers
Of sad existent clues

All the creatures have it hard now
Nothing but god is left to know
And while he left us all here hanging
We're barely losing off our home

[Chorus x4]


Lyrics submitted by Qras

Temporary Ground song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentOn a floating lily island
    Moving over slowly sideways
    Rest the temporary creatures
    Spending all of their days

    Waiting for the floor to
    Buckle down below their belts
    Crashing into yet another
    Drifting continental shelf

    We're nothing more than temporary creatures inhabiting a constantly shifting and changing planet that could open up and eat us at any moment.

    Moving without motion
    Screaming without sound
    Across an open ocean
    Lying there on temporary ground

    This makes me think the song was written on an airplane. Just in general we're always moving, even when sitting still, in our natural functions and rhythms and planetary orbit.

    Temporary ground in this context makes me think of high and low tides and how ocean levels are changing.

    The old explorers had it easy
    They discovered nothing new
    But returned on home with answers
    Of sad existent clues

    All the creatures have it hard now
    Nothing but God is left to know
    And why he left us all here hanging
    With an illusion of a home.

    The dichotomy of the ease of the old explorers and difficulty of modern folks is playful because it's completely counterintuitive. We can hop on an airplane and go anywhere where they had to endure long ocean or land voyages into uncharted terrain. I know there's a lot more to discover in this world beyond religion, but he makes a good point.
    LoserNo1on June 15, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLoserNo1's version of the lyrics is more accurate than what is currently posted.

    Temporary Ground is about mortality and the ephemeral nature of reality. As Heraclitus said in ancient times, "You can never step in the same river twice." The universe is constantly in flux, which leaves us self-conscious creatures in a constant state of uncertainty and doubt. Yet at the same time, this perpetual change is the source of beauty, curiosity, surprise, artistry, invention, and all the things that give life meaning.

    The ending hints at a more cynical direction, stating that "the old explorers had it easy" because there was so much still to be discovered (although none of it truly "new" as there is nothing new under the sun). Now with all our science and technology we have nothing left to discover except the ultimate cause of reality itself, which may finally reveal our quaint notions of being at home in the universe as nothing more than an illusion.

    Powerful stuff.
    unbesorgton June 26, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne thing I know for sure is that Jack White was inspired to write this song by seeing huge lily pads, 6-feet or even more in diameter, in South America. I think the lyrics represent the fragile state our world is now in - and how fragile (and most probably well on the way to completely destroyed) our world *will* be in the coming years. For the life desperately clinging to it, that is. Hence, we are on temporary ground. This is just a quickie comment, I'll post more ideas I have about this when I have time!
    DelilahJoneson October 04, 2014   Link

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