Lifting the mask from a local clown
Feeling down like him
Seeing the light in a station bar and
Traveling far in sin
Sailing downstairs to the northern line
Watching the shine of the shoes
Hearing the trials of the people there
Who's to care if they lose?

Take a look you may see me on the ground
For I am the parasite of this town

Dancing a jig in a church with chimes
A sign of the times today
Hearing no bell from the steeple tall
People all in dismay
Falling so far on a silver spoon
Making the moon for fun
Changing a rope for a size too small
People all get hung

Take a look you may see me coming through
For I am the parasite who travels two by two

When I'm lifting the mask from a local clown
And feeling down like him
And I'm seeing the light in a station bar
And travelling far in sin
And I'm sailing downstairs to the northern line
Watching the shine of the shoes
And hearing the trials of the people there
Who's to care if they lose?

Take a look you may see me on the ground
For I am the parasite of this town

Take a look you may see me in the dirt
For I am the parasite who hangs from your skirt


Lyrics submitted by Sweet Blue Way, edited by fishere, SpirosAbatis

Parasite song meanings
Add your thoughts

15 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    Song MeaningTo begin with I interpreted this song as a reflection of Nick's depression. Believing he was in his own world of depression and even the happiest characters - "the local clown", was upset. Yet whilst everyone else around him in this "town" was upset he saw himself as a parasite you couldn't get rid of and was making everyone else around him sad. Maybe I'm just over analysing this song... Definitely my favourite of all Nick Drake's songs.
    But the more I read others opinions about him being shameful about being a musician and busking, the more I agree with them.
    casualfiveyon January 17, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song seems to be about the lonliness in this world. He doesn't belong anywhere, and there's no happiness in this "town" he sings of, which is really just the world in general.

    "When I'm lifting the mask from a local clown
    And feeling down like him "
    even the clown which is supposed to be happy and light-hearted is unhappy.
    everyone's stuck in that rut that they can't get out of...
    ItsAllIWanton February 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Sailing downstairs to the northern line"

    This is a reference to the Northern Line on the London Underground I reckons.

    I think at least partly this song is about busking on the underground and how the business people in shiny shoes look down on musicians there as parasites? Could be an element of homelessness too?
    _grumpyon April 08, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"People all get hung"
    milk_and_honeyon August 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbsolutely heartbreaking.
    aventurineon December 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTake a look you may see me coming through
    For I am the parasite who travels two by two



    is he speaking as if he desire? some ambiguous virtue?
    makeartnotmathon November 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentas if he is* desire
    makeartnotmathon November 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dont know ive never heard it
    saDTim78on February 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love Nick Drake
    LuckCharmon February 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta great, haunting song
    ilovealkalineon February 23, 2006   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain