"Shiver Me Timbers" as written by and Tom Waits....
I'm leavin' my fam'ly
And leavin' my friends
My body's at home
But my heart's in the wind
Where the clouds are like headlines
On a new front page sky
My tears are salt water
And the moon's full and high

And I know Martin Eden's
Gonna be proud of me
And many before me
Who've been called by the sea
To be up in the crow's nest
And singin' my say
Shiver me Timbers
Cause I'm a-sailin' away

The fog's liftin'
And the sand's shiftin'
And I'm driftin' on out
And Ol' Captain Ahab
He ain't got nothin' on me.
So come on and swallow me, don't follow me
I'm trav'lin' alone
Blue water's my daughter
'N I'm gonna skip like a stone

So please call my missus
Tell her not to cry
Cause my goodbye is written
By the moon in the sky
And nobody knows me
I can't fathom my stayin'
Shiver me timbers
I'm a-sailin' away

And the fog's liftin'
And the sand's shiftin'
I'm driftin' on out
Ol' Captain Ahab
He ain't got nothin' on me
So come on and swallow me, don't follow me
I'm trav'lin' alone
Blue water's my daughter
'N I'm gonna skip like a stone

And I'm leavin' my family
Leavin' my friends
My body's at home
But my heart's in the wind
Where the clouds are like headlines
On a new front page sky
And shiver me timbers
I'm a-sailin' away


Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"Shiver Me Timbers" as written by Tom Waits

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Shiver Me Timbers song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is a beautiful song, and to me is about Tom trying to be set free from the problems and pain that other people bring, even family and friends, and instead tries to seek peace and solitude. listening to this song is a great release for me when im angry, i just sort of float away...
    HeartAttack_andVinEon December 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always saw it as a metaphore for the transcendence of daath.

    My body's at home
    But my heart's in the wind

    Both Ahab and Martin Eden were religigously and philosophically conflicted characters that died at sea that only death could bring peace to.
    frogfaceon January 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song means a lot to me.. im in the merchant marine and ill be going out to sea soon, so this is kind of that perfect goodbye song....
    hoydenon September 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my favorite Tom Waits songs..I always interpreted it as being about suicide.
    "nobody knows me can't fathom my stayin" then there's the mention of Martin Eden and Captain Ahab who both died at sea..I could be wrong
    noodles79on May 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI also have interperted this as being about Suicide
    "Clouds are like headlines on a new front page sky" I.E the headlines that would appear were he to actually go through with it.
    "tears are like saltwater" is pretty self-explainitory I think.

    Also one of my favourites.
    creepfeatureson May 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPlay it at my funeral.
    carolinaloveron April 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think this is about suicide except in the most metaphorical of ways. The Martin Eden reference would seem to suggest so, but when he invokes Ahab later that complicates matters. What ties them together is that the both destroyed themselves by failing to settle down, while manically striving for something always just out of reach.

    To me, the character in this song is some who always has his foot halfway out the door. His human connections are superficial because he never stays in one place long enough to build them, and that's a vicious cycle that gives him one more reason to move on ("nobody knows me/I can't fathom my stayin'"). Being in motion (or at sea) is the only time he feels like he's someplace familiar ("the clouds are like headlines/in a new frontpage sky"--he can read them like the morning paper--"tears are saltwater"--any emotional connections he builds are eventually reduced to the very stuff of the ocean).

    So I read the Eden/Ahab references not as invoking death or suicide, per se, but as the narrator's recognition that, although the peripatetic life is all he knows, it has the potential to ruin him.
    greensubmarineon March 30, 2013   Link

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