"12/17/12" as written by and Colin Meloy....
What a gift, what a gift you can give me
Here with my heart so whole,
While others may be grieving
Think of their grieving

And oh my boy
Don't you know you are dear to me
You are a breath of life
And a light upon the water
A light upon the water

And, oh my love
If you only knew how I long for you
How I waste my days wishing you would come around
Just to have you around

And what a dear
What a sweet little baby
This cannonball in the bosom of your belly
It's just a kick in your belly

And oh my god,
What a world you have made here
What a terrible world, what a beautiful world
What a world you have made here
What a world you have made here
What a world you have made here
What a world you have made here

Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher, edited by trustmeiknow

"12/17/12" as written by Colin Meloy


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12/17/12 song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationOn 12/14/2012, in Newtown, CT, the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings occurred. 20 school-children and 6 adult staff members were killed by a 20-year old named Adam. It is a truly frightening thing to read the details. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…)

    On 12/16/2012, President Obama delivered a speech at the interfaith vigil held in Newtown, in honor of the victims. The transcript is available online. (npr.org/2012/12/16/167412995/…)

    Here's a line from that speech: 'I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we've pulled our children tight.'

    This song is titled 12/17/12.

    In December, 2012, Colin's wife Carson was pregnant with their second child, who was born the following March, named Milo Cannonball.

    This song is a reflection on the excitement and wonder at bringing a new life into this world, along with feelings of worry and uncertainty regarding the kind of world this child will be living in. In this song, Colin is 'pulling his child tight' to himself, in an emotional response to what happened in Newtown.

    Obama's speech touches on biblical scripture a few times throughout. And right near the end he says, 'God has called them all home.'

    The last lines of this song say:

    - - -
    Oh my God, what a world you have made here
    What a terrible world, what a beautiful world
    What a world you have made here
    - - -

    This line is not formed as a question; it is a statement, directed at God. Listen to the way he sings 'And Oh my God'. That is not a happy note. It is a criticism, or perhaps, a thrown gauntlet. It invites God to respond, to offer up an answer, a reason. Why would God add such terrible things to such a beautiful world? Why would he 'call them all home' in such a dreadful way?

    But this statement, and the line from Obama's speech, presuppose that this is God's doing; part of his plan. According to the Bible, it is not. God created a beautiful world. Another person brought evil into it.


    God's stated purpose, since that time, has been to make it wholly beautiful again. It is why Jesus came to earth, and why he preached about the 'Kingdom' that was to come.

    DontEmailMeon January 21, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn response to DontEmailMe, I think your sentiment is spot on, however I think the over all message of the song is not a question of "why is there so much bad when the world is supposed to be good?" rather, it is like you said, a statement. I think what this song is remarking on is that what makes this world so incredible is that it can be both beautiful and terrible. When he says "what a world you have made here," it is not "what is world that you made?" it is "Wow, what a world."

    I think this song is part of Meloy's attempt to wrap his mind around the profundity of birth and death, like he did in 2006 with the birth of his first son Henry. The song he wrote about that occasion too (Like a Lion) is not so much one joy, but of contemplation.
    I do not mean to degrade the terrible effects of Sandy Hook, I only mean to suggest that the song is not so pessimistic, as it is, incredulous.

    I see the comparisons that between the events, but I am curious where, or how, you came across this conclusion: wether it is speculation or if you heard it somewhere.
    peter72395on January 22, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentColin talks about this song in an interview with Salon:


    One of the other centerpieces, the song which gives the album its title, is the Sandy Hook song, “12/17/12.” It sounds like a truly personal reaction, as if you wrote this as an emotional pouring-out, trying to make sense of this at a time when children were on your mind.

    Yeah. Hank was a first-grader, so he was the same age as those kids. And there was even one kid who was an autistic kid, and Hank is autistic. The closer you can map your own life onto these things -- is that what makes them real? There’s something really superficial about that.

    So I'm hesitant to say that this is any kind of centerpiece because I don't think it is. And in fact, I didn't initially want to put too much of a point on the fact that it was written about that incident because I didn't feel as if I could really communicate what was happening. I don't know that I have any place trying to write a song that’s directly about what happened. I don't think it’s in my powers. I don't think I’m good enough.

    I think that that was just what a lot of people did at that time, and I think it wasn’t until hearing the names read... It took several days to process. I feel like when the names were read at that press conference, suddenly I was able to start processing it in a way that I think was helpful, in that I think a lot of people were taking stock of their own surroundings in their own world. I was doing that and wanting to bring my family closer to me and bring in the protective embrace -- but then also feeling sort of unmoored from what that pain must be for someone else.
    Exodoron February 25, 2018   Link

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