"Sheela-Na-Gig" as written by and Polly Jean Harvey....
I've been trying to show you over and over

Look at these, my child-bearing hips
Look at these, my ruby red ruby lips
Look at these my work strong arms and
You've got to see my bottle full of charm
I lay it all at your feet
You turn around and say back to me, "he said"

Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Just like the first time, said he didn't care
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before, no more
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Turn the corner, another one there
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before, he said

Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Put money in your idle hole
Put money in your idle hole

Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Just like the first time, said he didn't care
Gonna wash that man right out of my hair
Heard it before, no more
Gonna take my hips to a man who cares
Turn the corner, another one there
Gonna take my hips to a man who cares
Heard it before, he said

Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist

Put money in your idle hole
Put money in your idle hole

He said "wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean"
He said "please take those dirty pillows away from me"
He said "wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean"
He said "please take those dirty pillows away from me"

He said "wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean"
He said "please take those dirty pillows away from me"
He said "wash your breasts, I don't want to be unclean"
He said "please take those dirty pillows away from me"


Lyrics submitted by shut

"Sheela-Na-Gig" as written by Polly Harvey

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Sheela-Na-Gig song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentSheela-Na-Gig was a Celtic fertility goddess who was portrayed in art with spread legs and prominent genitalia.
    Chloe le Fayon July 08, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe four things PJ lists at the beginning represent all the things men want from a woman. Children, sexuality, work (housework) and charm. But for this man, it isn't enough.

    I like the parody of the 50's song line "gonna wash that man right outta my hair".
    amberbreathon January 24, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti pretty sure that the meaning is right there in the lyrics. PJ is presenting her body to a possible lover, he calls her a "sheela-na-gig" and blatantly rejects her advances. Too bad for her, but oh so good for the rest of us.
    pumkinhedon January 26, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment'Dirty Pillows' is a reference to the book and film Carrie, it's what Mrs. White, a mad extremeist Christian, calls Carrie's breasts in one scene.
    Omnicideon March 19, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMaybe a comment on the degradation women have to go through to get noticed sexually, and how it's even more degrading when their rejected for that very degradation.
    lilswaggy93on August 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would like to add that to that chloe..It also deals with one night stands and feeling guilty about them afterwards.
    Riot Grrrlon March 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGotta love PJ Harvey.
    This was my favorite song from the album, with Dress right behind it.
    Somehow, songs of loss, and rejection seem to resonate with me.
    Major Valoron July 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Turn the corner; another one there." The protagonist of this tale, she wants a man. Now. There's THIS guy, but...he's not interested? Well, there are plenty of others around. (She's confident enough.)

    Wondering whether "put money in your idle hole" is some idiom I'm not familiar with. Also thinking: the meaning is obvious, and I'm sorta trying to avoid seeing it?
    foreverdroneon February 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust to add, in my head "put money in your idle hole" means put your money where your mouth is. Hole being literal for mouth. Idle drawing parallels to the phrase idle chatter.
    jacknimbleon December 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this is a song about the Christian perversion of sex- turning it from a natural celebration into something dirty and repulsive. Sheela Na Gig is an uninhibited pagan fertility Goddess. She is depicted as sitting spread eagle, using her hands to pull her vaginal lips apart; a welcoming enticement into carnal pleasure and the miraculous creation of life that results.

    It's not easy being a pagan fertility goddess in a culture of Puritan repression. It's pathetic that too many men have been taught to find such open sexuality as filthy and wrong.

    The song triumphantly declares she will not hide or conform- she will not let derision crush her spirit. She will boldly move on until she finds men who appreciate her.
    destiny100on August 17, 2014   Link

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