"Fountain" as written by and Polly Jean Harvey....
Stand under
Cool skin
Washed clean
Wash him from me

Along comes the wind
A big bone shaker
Blows off my clothes
Completely naked, what to do?
When everything's
Left you


Out of the blue
It is he
Vision to me
Bearing leaves
Petals green
Covers me
In all my shame

Hand in hand
He's my big man, stays with me
Some forty days, no words
Then goes away
I cry again

On my hill I wait for wind
And on my hill I wait for wind
And on my hill I wait for wind
And on my hill I wait for wind
And on my hill I wait for wind
And on my hill I wait for wind

Lyrics submitted by shut

"Fountain" as written by Polly Harvey

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Fountain song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song seems to me to begin with someone the character loves leaving her. Perhaps the fountain is literal, or maybe it's a metaphor for her tears. (I say this because of the "I cry again" at the end of the song.)

    After the fountain comes the wind, which completely strips her of everything; part of the process of grieving the relationship that was lost.

    Then the "out of the blue, it is he" part... that could possibly be the beginning of a new relationship that she wasn't expecting in her vulnerable state... and it could be either with someone new, or with the man who left her before, indicating that the relationship is one of those that is a never-ending cycle of contentment and heartbreak.

    This new relationship seems to fix her, but ultimately doesn't end up working out, as he stays with her for 40 days and then goes away, leaving her alone with her "fountain" of tears again.

    The part at the end, "on my hill I wait for wind" (which I LOVE), seems to suggest that she's waiting for that next step in this cycle; the wind signifying her being laid bare yet again for another relationship to come along and fix.

    Overall, I feel like this is a song about someone stuck in a cycle of needing a relationship to feel complete, which is never healthy. It's one of my favorites from Dry, though; it's so passionate and heart-wrenching.
    kschapon April 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song seems to have religious undertones. Is that just me? Alot of references to nature remind me of Adam, esepcially "bearing leaves, petals green". When Eve was rejected from garden of eden, she was naked to feel shame, and then the male character "covers me in all my shame".
    amberbreathon January 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe end of this song is so rousing. PJ really knows how to get them out of their seats.
    eddiebon July 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree with @kschap for the most part, but in MY head (lol) I've always thought that at the point where she says "Out of the blue, it is he" it was like a hallucination, but a very vivid one, that lasted for forty days; maybe the vision was brought on by a fever of some sort, and the fever lifts, and he's gone, and she goes back to her waiting and yearning.

    I also agree with @amberbreath about the religious references. I think on a metaphorical level this could be about cleansing yourself of a deity, namely the Christian God in this one, with the references to "bearing leaves" to cover her shame, sort of the way the Bible tells us God did with Adam and Eve. This is what I love about PJ Harvey, among a few other artists: They're ambiguous, yes, but they still have a solidity to them that not very many other artists seem to be able to penetrate.
    ConfideXXXOon December 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems that after they sin, Eve realizes Adam isn't enough or enough for each other. God/Jesus is another man figure that comes in to provide meaning/protection/security. The "stays with me some forty days" is how long Moses waited on the mountain for 40 days and nights. So she waits for him to carry her off the mountain...
    Distilllthison August 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm thinking it's about Rebekah at the well. I've been doing this all night. Oh My Lover (either Rachel or Sarai), O Stella (Virgin Mary), Dress (?), Victory (Jael or Joan of Arc), Happy and Bleeding (Eve), Sheela-Na-Gig (Salome), Hair (Delilah), Joe (Mary Magdalene), Plants and Rags (Leah or Hagar), Fountain (Rebekah), Water (I read a story about a girl who walks out on ice, falls in, and gets decapitated but I can't remember her name and I can't find the story again for some reason)...I really didn't know the bible before tonight, but now I feel rather educated on it hahaha.
    SpadeKingon October 10, 2012   Link

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