"Mary" as written by Joanna Walton, Robert Fripp and Daryl David Hall....
Mary walks
Down to the water's edge
And there she hangs her head
To find herself faded
A shadow of what she once was
She said "How long have I been sleeping
And why do I feel so old
Why do I feel so cold
My heart is saying one thing but my body won't let go"
With trembling hands she reaches up
A stranger's flesh is offered
And I would be the last to know
I would be the last the let it show
I would be the last to go
Take her hand
She will lead you through the fire
Give you back hope
And hope that you won't take too much
Respecting what is left
She cradled us
She held us in her arms
Unselfish in her suffering she could not understand
That no one seemed to have the time
To cherish what was given
And I would be the last to know
And I would be the last to let it show
I would be the last to go...
Mary walks


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Mary" as written by Leo Kottke

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Mary song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI can't believe nobody has commented on this song. It is so awesome and the vioces are just amazing. I think it's about a woman who is just realizing she has been dead and she is in transition of earth and heaven
    kristinrobertson April 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNow and then I stop and *really* listen to this song and realise how much it touches my heart. I do believe it's something to do with THAT Mary, though here's an alternative perspective...

    I see Mary as a subtle, compassionate and nurturing face of the goddess, and I see that many people identify with her for those qualities, with or without reference to her as "The Virgin" or "The Holy Mother". Try thinking of the mother of Christ as a simple woman, but a deeply enlightened one who, after her great purpose in bearing the messiah was over, she was perhaps forgotten and pushed aside. It's only later that we can begin to appreciate her for herself, as a selfless and loving mother.

    But this song strikes a chord in me that says, What if Mary were to come back to the world today, or in any of the ages of man, to look at us and what we've done with the world, and feel confusion and despair? How many people would get past our modern cynicism to see her goodness mirrored in ourselves, to be selfless and compassionate as she was?
    Heliamphoraon August 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMary = Mother Earth

    fumblers.ca/faq/

    not necessarily fact, but it makes sense... especially the "and hope that you won't take too much, respecting what is left" and "she could not understand that no one seemed to have the time to cherish what was given" parts.
    diphthongon March 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt could be sung from the perspective of someone who hasn't cherished the gift of their child. The child grows up without knowing the love and attention from their mother/father as if in an unremembered dream, to wake up and realize they're alone. They are offered caring and attention from "strangers" or ones not knowing Mary as their child and may not be what she needs to be happy. And the parent would be the last to know and the last to accept the horror of missing their childs childhood ( now that they realize it as a horror ) and let it show.

    Seems reasonable since the rest of the album has a lot to do with family relationships and appreciating what seems to be granted.
    radiotropeon October 25, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can understand how it would sound that way, but why would she write a song about that? I just think the idea is a bit far off. I can't help but think that this song is in reference to the virgin mary, especially in the lines:

    Take her hand
    she will lead you through the fire
    give you back hope
    and hope that you won't take too much
    respecting what is left
    she cradled us
    she held us in her arms
    unselfish in her suffering she could not understand
    that no one seemed to have the time
    to cherish what was given

    And if it is indeed about the Virgin, the first line is expressing the struggle of the difficulty of bearing the son of God. I know this might sound nuts, but that's always what i've thought of this song.
    butterflydreamson May 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is watching someone you love struggle and heart and aching that they cannot see the gift they bring to those whom they meet.


    but that's just my take on it.
    oh.pinknesson March 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs I'm currently on a Mary Magdalene kick, I relate it more to how no one really appreciated Magdalene... Jesus taught some things only to her, and the male apostles felt threatened that Jesus would choose a woman over them...

    "unselfish in her suffering she could not understand
    that no one seemed to have the time
    to cherish what was given"

    I dunno, just my interpretation.
    scrawledepitaphon April 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about Mary Magdalene. A mother to all....loving, kind, compassionate, and forgiving. She lived a very simple life...
    JohariPainRoom2on March 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me it is a story of awakening. It has nothing to do with Mary Magdoline other than to make reference to her as the representation of the divine feminine spirit perhaps.

    Mary - this is her name identity, her flesh. She realizes her life has not gone as she hoped and she hangs her head - classic body language for sadness, defeat etc.

    "To find herself faded a shadow of what she once was"
    Perhaps a shadow of her childhood self (because kids are so full of light and close to source) or it may even go deeper spiritually to reference how she is in her shadow-self and is not the light of spirit she came in as. .

    "How long have I been sleeping and why do I feel so old"
    A reference to time passing and her aging body, and perhaps also because when you are in a depressed state you really feel weighed down and old, tired, sad all the time.

    "My heart is saying one thing but my body won't let go"
    This is the struggle during the time of awakening, to try and follow your heart and how the body and mind have built up so much resistance to that idea that it is really hard to let go.

    "She reaches up a stranger's flesh is offered"
    This is about looking up to find yourself in moments of depression and crisis, the "stranger" is simply her spirit touching her and in that moment spirit is a stranger.

    All the last to know reference stuff, to me, is about her body and physical self not yet understanding how her spirit is already there....she is just the last to know about it, to realize it, to appreciate it.

    Now the tone changes. "Take her hand she will lead you through the fire" - this is about how the spirit will guide a person back to who they truly are, through all the BS that has piled on them through life.

    "Hope you won't take too much, respecting what is left, she cradled us", again a tone change and I believe this speaks to mother earth itself as a massively creative life form that has given and given only to be abused and uncherished by humanity. Yet mother earth is still unselfish in her suffering and ever loving - there to heal us from the damage we have caused ourselves and to her. She has unconditional love for us.

    So with all this EPIC stuff going on around Mary and her awakening, she is the last to know. Her mind, her physical self, is the last to let it all go and trust.

    "Mary Walks" - she is now an embodiment of the divine feminine and she walks this earth...

    This is a story of divine feminine awakening my friends, much more akin to Sarah McLachlan.
    JGardenon June 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThere's one line that gives it away. "A stranger's flesh is offered." This song inspired the book entitled "The Forest of Hands and Teeth". There's been a Zombie apocalypse. Mary is the hero in the book. Mary's become infected with the Zombie virus and doesn't know that she's turned into a Zombie. For the most part the world has been destroyed. That's why she asks about how long she's slept, why she feels so cold and why with trembling hands she reaches up for the offering of a stranger's flesh It is a song about what's been done to the earth, how few appreciate the wonderful gift we have. Now there's not much left of it's bounties. Zombies eat people and she doesn't want to eat her friends.. She was the protector of her friends and led them through the fire while the earth was burning. They were the last to know she'd become infected and the last to let it show to her they knew, and the last ones to become zombies too. .
    dmar239on December 24, 2014   Link

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