"Pilate" as written by and Jeff Ament....
Talk of circles and punching out
Looking in drawing circles down
Falling up the south marking ground
Talking out of turn drawing circles down

Like Pilate I have a dog
{Obeys listens kisses loves}

Walks me out of town
Still one's a crowd
Making angels in the dirt
Looking up looking all around

Like Pilate I have a dog
{Obeys listens kisses loves}

Stunned by my own reflection
It's looking back, sees me too clearly
And I swore I'd never go there again
Not unlike a friend that politely drags you down, you down, you down

Like Pilate, I have a dog
{Obeys, listens, kisses, loves}

Lyrics submitted by Trent

"Pilate" as written by Jeff Ament

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pilate song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentJeff Ament read Mikhail Bulgakov's book "The Master and Margarita." The book is about a man named Pilate who stands on a mountain with only his guitar and dog. His dog is his only companion and it "obeys listens kisses loves" Pilate, but what Pilate really wants is to have a partner to love him. He doesn't want to be alone any longer. Instead, Pilate grows old with his dog who "obeys listens kisses loves."
    Shadowboxer19on September 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPilate wasn't a jail guard, he was the roman ruler of the area of jerusalem during the time of christ. His name was Pontius Pilate, and he was not jewish. When the chief priests and elders of the law brough Jesus to Pilate, he found no reason to crucify him, so he sent him to Herod, the Jewish king of the day. Herod just wanted Jesus to perform some miracle, but Jesus did nothing, so Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate. Pilate then appealed to the crowd, offering to either free barabbas (a serial killer, and all-around crazy guy) or Jesus, but the crowd wanted barabbas. So Pilate washed his hands of Jesus' death, and handed him over to be crucified.

    I don't know if that has anything to do with this song, but at least you now have your story straight.
    adam1986on May 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat's definately not the premise of the book.

    but you are right, the song is supposedly about the book, which is very good. it was also sighted as the inspiration for Sympathy For The Devil.
    nothingheadon May 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just finished the book (eh) and I see the Pilate/dog connection, but the rest of the lyrics mystify me. Anyone (nudge, nudge, nothinghead) draw any other connections, or have any idea what the hell Jeff is trying to say here?
    Nasuson June 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti guess to say it's ABOUT the book is wrong. rather, it references the book.

    the song and the verses in and of itself seems to be jeff writing about someone who is close to him. and then verse simply makes reference to that person being very similar to pilate's dog in the story.

    the verses are kind of sketchy as to literal meaning.
    nothingheadon July 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentokay now some people may hate me for this idea, but i'm just throwing it out there because I'm not sure what this song means. Pilate was also the jail guard when Jesus what imprisoned, so do you think that this song is about Christ? It makes sense a little bit because the first verse is about the hoopla surrounding people questioning faith today, then the chorus is about Pilate having something/someone like a dog who obeys, listens, kisses, and loves. (Christ put up with all the punishment, and still loved the people.) I've never read the pilate book everyone else has mentioned, so I could be so wrong.
    tamary1216on April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Apparently bassist Ament wrote the song after hearing a legend about how Pilate sat on a hill with his dog after Christ died, wishing he had finished his last conversation with him. The picture in the sleeve below the lyrics is of Ament standing on top of a snow-covered mountain, hands raised, looking up to the sky with an expression of wonder. Interesting...."
    kelaron September 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thinks its about our daily work cycle. How everything is so much about time and $ that its truly meaningless.
    "Talk of circles, and punching out.
    Looking in, drawing circles down." pictures some guy at work bored killing time by doodling and drawing circles, can't wait till its time to leave.

    The rest of the lyrics also support this. "Like Pilate I have a dog". Pilate is eerily close to "Pilot". So its like a Pilot who needs a sog to lead him walk the streets and through the regular walks of life.

    Maybe its just me. What do u guys think ?
    shassounehon February 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHeh, I used to think he was saying "But Pilate, what have they done?" and consequently thought it was about Christ's Crucifixion. Oh, and for the record, priests went thrrough the crowd "convincing" (probably more like coercing) them to choose Barabbas.

    Frankly, I'm kind of disappointed that it's just about some dude sitting with his dog on a cliff. Oh well.
    macamaticon June 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that the song is mainly nonsense really. The first verse is the character thinkings about work, and kind of drifting in and out of the activities of everyone else.
    The chorus (after alot of thought) ive decided that its the character day dreaming about Pontius Pilate, and associated the only thing that he had in common with Pilate, having a dog.
    The 2nd verse I think has to do with jesus getting hung, and the "Stunned by my own reflection" is the character realizing that its all a dream, and being dragged back into the real world.
    Input please
    Intruderon August 26, 2006   Link

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