"Gethsemane" as written by Peter Duncan Liddle, Matthew Taylor, Scott Miller and Jonathan Warren....
It started with the moon
that turned an inexpensive room
into St Peters,
there's a parabolic story but it's boring
and it ends how you'd expect.

Forever dressing down them like a stranger
hanging round outside the kingdom hall,
I'd have carried your wedding shawl,
you could have said I was a school friend.

And you drag your holy horse cart
in the sky when I wake up,
they say it's just the sun
but I know that face.

Excavate down, you'd find the drowning
and the drowned and then there's us babe,
you could walk to our memorial
but it's pouring and it ends how you'd expect.

I dig your dresses out and
hang them round about the house,
and turn the lights down low,
now you're everywhere I go,
looking faintly disappointed.

And you drag your holy horse cart
in the sky when I wake up,
they say it's just the sun
but I know that face.

But the devils tricks just seem
to sit so light on you,
They'd never get the marionette
this tight on you.

In the parliamentary houses
there'll be talk of what this is,
with inexpert witnesses and evidence against us,

but I'll take my part of substance
from those insubstantial men,
whatever their arguments,
I'll prove your innocence.

Drag your holy horse cart
in the sky when I wake up, oh yeah.

Testify allegiance with more
puncture wounds than Jesus, oh yeah.

Every statue's weeping honey,
and it makes my psycho funny
cause I'm over sympathetic
and I can't control myself.

Leave that painful memory in the
garden of Gethsemane, oh yeah, oh yeah.


Lyrics submitted by garethma, edited by Contaminator, WhoNose

Gethsemane song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationI've never done this before but I just thought I'd put what I think this song means since it's incredible and I've found no other interpretations and I've been looking over the lyrics and listening to it for hours because I'm using it for my english class project. I've probably completely missed it's intended message / story, but I guess everyone can interpret songs different ways. Also, I love Dry the River.

    I think this song is telling the story from the point of view of a man at the wedding of the girl who he used to be in a relationship with and is still in love with. The 1st verse is in the present tense, so he is currently at the wedding but he does't appear to belong (Forever dressing down, I'm like a stranger hanging round outside the kingdom hall). He also says that his presence could be explained to people by saying he was a school friend, but he was truly her ex-lover (I'd have carried your wedding shawl, you could have said I was a school friend).

    I'm not sure what the 1st two lines of the chorus means, but I think the last two are saying that no one else knows the girl like he does (They say it's just the sun, but I know that face).

    By the second verse, I think the song becomes the guy's thoughts (the lyrics become words like "you'd" and "you could" and "I'd" - if that makes sense). He is still at the wedding, but he starts thinking of possibilities of him and the girl getting back together. I love the lines (excavating down you'd find the drowning and the drowned and then there's us babe). I think they mean that other people's relationships are either failing or have failed but theirs is different or still has hope, which is how a lot of people tend to feel about their own relationships. Anyways, in the next lines, he is thinking that 'you could look back at our relationship but it would be pointless because you already know how it ends' - they split up (you could walk to our memorial but it's pouring, and it ends how you'd expect). In the last 5 lines of the verse, it means something like he could pull out a bunch of reminders of the girl and display them in his house or something so it would be as if she was still there, but it wouldn't be the same (instead it would be super depressing ya know).

    I think the next part of the song is saying that even if he tried to get back with her, which would involve the girl cheating on her now-husband, it wouldn't work, because the "devil's tricks" wouldn't work on her (the devil's tricks just seem to sit so light on you). Also, she is not a person that people can control and her mind cannot be changed easily and she has a strong will (they'd never get the marionette that's tied on you).

    Next part: people would try to condemn their relationship, but they don't know or understand their full story (in the parliamentary houses there'll be talk of what this is, with inexpert witnesses and evidence against us). But the guy would justify their relationship (but I'll take my pound of substance from those insubstantial men, whatever their arguments, I'll prove your innocence).

    Ok, I'm iffy about my whole interpretation of the song, but even more so the lines (testify allegiance with more puncture wounds than Jesus) - but these lines are really powerful in my opinion. But I thiiiink that the girl and her to-be husband are saying their vows (the song is back in the present tense), and the guy is kind of being sarcastic or mocking their vows of allegiance or something. He thinks vows are really extreme.

    In the line where he says "I'm over-sympathetic", I think that over-sympathetic personality could be the reason he lost the girl. I read this article about how those type of people sacrifice their own happiness for others and it could apply to this.

    In the last line (leave that painful memory in the Garden of Gethsemane), I think he is saying that he is trying to forget the relationship and move on. Also, the Garden could be a symbol for human burden or something like that. I don't really know.

    Again, this is just what I think. I probably completely missed what the writers intended for it to mean, but to each their own (interpretation). I don't know if anyone will even ever see this, but I just want to know what other people think the song means.

    Dang this was long. Even though I left out a lot. Whoops.
    fishtail11on May 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is talking about a man in an affair. The line "I'd have carried your wedding shawl, you could have said I was a school friend" suggests that he is more than just a school friend to the woman who just got married. Instead of letting him take part in the ceremony, however, he was forced to be "outside the kingdom hall" "like a stranger." He has to act as if he doesn't know her, which suggests that any relationship between the two of them would be looked down on or forbidden, suggesting a separation of classes or social standings.
    The line about the holy horse cart and the sun is alluding to Greek mythology, where the sun was pulled across the sky with a chariot. This symbolizes the passing of time, but since he sees her face in the sun (and probably everywhere else), he can't move on or forget about her.
    When he talks about excavating down to find the two of them among the drowning and the drowned, that could mean two things. First, it could be saying that they are miserable because they can't be together, as miserable as the drowning. Second, and this seems more likely, the drowning could refer to the river Styx in Hades, furthering a common Greek mythology theme. He is saying that they are among those suffering in Hell because they are in a forbidden relationship and having an affair.
    He digs her dresses out because he feels that she has this whole new life without them and he's trying to hang on to what he has left and remember the times when it was just the two of them. He also sees her everywhere through the dresses, and then again in the sun. The dresses look disappointed because they're lifeless, hanging limply. This could also mean he feels guilty for something, perhaps for not preventing her from marrying someone else.
    When he speaks about the devil's tricks and the marionette, he's saying that even though she has become a part of this higher society, she isn't tied down and doesn't belong with them. She still exercises freedom to be with the one she loves.
    Next he talks about parliamentary houses, witnesses, and evidence. He is preparing for the time when they will be discovered and thus taken to court for their affair. He then says that he'll take his part and prove her innocence no matter what they say, meaning he is ready to take all the blame for their affair and let her continue to live her life without him.
    The next time he talke about the horse cart, it's more of a request. "Drag your holy horse cart in the sky when I wake up" is him accepting that once he is convicted, he won't be able to see her anymore, but he will still see her face in the sun. He doesn't want that to go away because that's all he'll have left of her.
    He compares himself to Christ two times. "Testify allegiance with more puncture wounds that Jesus" is him saying that even though she is married to someone else and doesn't necessarily deserve his undying loyalty, he has sworn allegiance to her. It doesn't matter how much she has hurt him ("puncture wounds"). Then, at the end he says to "leave that ainful memory in the garden of Gethsemane." He is comparing his sacrifice for her to the sacrifice of Christ to take on all the sins of the world. Even though he is doing all of this for her, he's still willing to forget the pain she caused him.
    Lemonryon May 30, 2016   Link

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