Your skin is cold,
but the sun shines within your hold
Your hair is gold,
but you see through a goldfish bowl
I feel old, sick and tired
We walk the streets,
gently staring, wondering what to do
The sun in sheets,
pouring down those streets to eyes green and blue

And a ship with eight sails could come 'round the bend
Or a herd of bulls charging stop lights red
I'd be blind

You broke my heart Danny Boy
Not your fault Danny Boy
I was hanged at the doorstep, played like a two to a fourset
Had like poor Job in the bible by God

Day comes I wake,
I wake with a hard heartache
I go down to your place
We sit and chat,
chat about New York and trips to the bayou
My smile a trick,
tricking me and trying not to scare you

And a ship with eight sails could come 'round the bend
Or a herd of bulls charging stop lights red
I'd be blind

You broke my heart Danny Boy
Not your fault Danny Boy
I was hanged at the doorstep, played like a two to a fourset
Had like poor Job in the bible by God


Lyrics submitted by ang, edited by azbibliote, TheBluestCrowe

Danny Boy song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favourite Rufus songs. It's very pretty.
    tamzinroseon August 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about a guy he had a crush on named Danny who he made out with at a party or something
    TheRaptureon December 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOkay, so. This song is about a guy that Rufus was in love with back around 1998, named Danny. (You can see his image in the lyric booklet of "Rufus Wainwright", overtop the second page of lyrics for "Sally Ann", if you're curious.)

    So, anyway, Rufus was in love with Danny, but unfortunately for him, Danny was straight (and possibly a drug addict, but that's unrelated). However, Rufus has said that they still made out for hours, but never went further than that.
    theleslieon July 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEMOTIONAL: "My smile a trick, tricking me and trying not to scare you"
    You smile at her/him trying to look pleasant but not too eager so that she/he could feel annoyed. This is everyday bread for homosexual (again, sorry, too many gay artists I know bla bla) people. You go from being "friendly" to be "detestable". You have to bleed to know.

    FORMAL: "The sun in sheets, pouring down those streets to eyes green and blue."
    This line is so brilliant that one can wait for really
    -HUGE- verses in the future.

    FORMAL: "The sun in sheets, pouring down those streets to eyes green and blue."
    This line is so brilliant that one can wait for really
    -HUGE- verses in the future.
    le fer et le feuon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is a song about unrequited love. As other commenters have said, it concerns a crush that Rufus had on a boy named Danny in his youth. But I think anyone that has ever experienced unreciprocated feelings for someone else can relate to it.


    Your skin is cold, but
    the sun shines within your hold
    ---> In the fashion of classical sonnets on unrequited love, Rufus uses contrast and paradox to emphasise the intensity of his love. The cold skin symbolises the lack of affection on the part of "Danny" towards the persona. However, through the rose coloured glasses of love, the sun literally shines from the object of his desire.

    Your hair is gold, but you see through a goldfish bowl
    ---->The gold could symbolise something that is coveted and treasured, precious, as well as giving Danny saintly connotations (think halo). If he sees through a goldfish bowl, it could mean that he is quite ignorant of outside things (such as the persona's crush), but everyone else on the outside can see straight in to his emotions and thoughts.

    I feel old, sick and tired
    ---->Pretty self-explanatory for anyone who's ever experienced unrequited love!

    We walk the streets, gently staring, wondering what to do
    ------->This scenario comes across as very realistic and thus engaging, and you can see it actually happening between Rufus and Danny. It's all suggestive of aimlessness, not knowing where to take things, and afraid of moving forward by declaring your feelings.

    The sun in sheets, pouring down those streets to eyes green and blue
    ------>As someone commented, this is a really beautiful and poetic image. The blue and green eyes belong to the two men. The fact that he separates them is indicative of how apart they really are, as opposed to having a mutual attracting. Also, the colours may be symbolic - the green eyes of the persona suggest jealousy and desire, while the blue eyes of Danny connote innocence and purity- ignorance to the persona's feelings

    And a ship with eight sails could come 'round the bend
    Or a herd of bulls charging stop lights red
    I'd be blind (to both)
    -----> I put in brackets what I hear at the end of this line, though I know it's not in the lyrics from the cd booklet. Either way it doesn't really change the meaning too much. He uses the hyperbolic images of the herd of bulls and the ship to stress just how enraptured he is by Danny. When you're in the company of someone that you obsess over, they become the centre of your universe. On a deeper level, the sailing ship could symbolise missed opportunities, and the bulls charging red lights seems to suggest ignorance of warning signs, such as those that might tell you when someone isn't interested. But of course, fools in love only see what they want to, and are thus "blind".

    You broke my heart Danny Boy
    Not your fault Danny Boy
    ---->These lines are pretty important to the tone of the song, because it shows that he is not bitter towards Danny for not feeling the same way. In context, I believe the reason it didn't work out between Danny and Rufus was because Danny was, more or less, straight. So telling someone that it isn't their fault is more or less a recognition and acceptance that we can't choose our sexuality, or even who we like. It's a really mature or insightful line, and tinged with more than a hint of wistfullness.
    The fact that he calls him "Danny Boy" could have further significance, because of the famous folk song, but I don't really know the context or lyrics of that song so I can't really speculate. "Boy" comes across as condescending, but also reinforces the idea that Danny is a character who is innocent, blissfully ignorant.

    I was hanged at the doorstep, played like a two to a fourset
    Had like poor Job in the bible by God
    ---->This is the persona lamenting about being caught in love's cruel grasp. Hanged at the doorstep, hyperbolic way of saying he was hooked from the moment he embarked upon his attraction, and also doomed to failure. The story of Job in the bible from what I can remember was about a man whose love God tested by taking everything away from him, including his possessions his wife his children and his health. This and the idea of being "played" shows the persona's belief that he is being dragged about against his will by some higher power of fate - we as humans are all powerless in the face of love.

    Day comes I wake, I wake with a hard heartache
    --->haha, maybe a tongue in cheek reference to the more carnal aspects of a crush? Waking up with a hard...heartache =P All the talk about waking up with sinking feelings shows how the persona is always thinking/dreaming of Danny - even in his sleep he is not free.

    I go down to your place
    We sit and chat, chat about New York
    and trips to the bayou
    ---->Again, one of those scenarios that you can just see happening between Rufus and Danny. On a more analytical level, when combined with the following lines it illustrates the facade of the relationship between the two men, compared to the sexual and emotional undercurrents. They talk of trivial platonic things, when secretly the persona is longing to express his love.

    My smile a trick, tricking me and trying not to scare you
    -------->Again, the smile is a front for the true feelings of the protagonist. A smile is a symbol of happiness and contentment, but by referring to it as a "trick" Rufus shows that this is a false reality, one that the persona must dupe himself into believing in order to live with his unrequited feelings. The "trying not to scare you part" emphasises how much manipulation and forethought goes into all of the persona's actions. He doesn't want to ruin the contact that he has by revealing his confrontational feelings, hence the facade of the smile. It also further illustrates the naivety and fragility of Danny. He becomes less of a person and more of an object or ideal that must be protected from anything challenging or frightening entering his bubble of a world.

    Just on the music it's all relatively upbeat, major key stuff, complimenting the lyrics that describe the facade of the persona masking the deeper, unhappier feelings beneath, which come through in the minor sections. The 6/8 rhythmn is rollicky, ambling and meandering, highlighting the movement of the protagonist's thoughts as he contemplates and reflects upon his disastrous predicament. The notes in the melody are long, suggestive of wistfullness and lament.
    musicmaxon November 22, 2008   Link

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