Who can know
The thoughts of Mary jane
Why she flies
Or goes out in the rain
Where she's been
And who she's seen
In her journey to the stars.

Who can know
The reasons for her smile
What are her dreams
When they've journeyed for a mile
The way she sings
And her brightly coloured rings
Make her the princess of the sky.

Who can know
What happens in her mind
Did she come from a strange world
And leave her mind behind
Her long lost sighs
And her brightly coloured eyes
Tell her story to the wind.

Who can know
The thoughts of Mary Jane
Why she flies
Or goes out in the rain
Where she's been
And who she's seen
In her journey to the stars.


Lyrics submitted by lordofsandwiches

The Thoughts of Mary Jane song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI consider all of the interpretations valid; however I agree that this song was written to have a dual interpretation. There’s no legitimate way to rule out either interpretation anyways; it can’t be said that Nick was definitely referencing a girl and NOT marijuana and vice versa, that would be somewhat ignorant. For example,

    ‘Brightly colored rings’ can be interpreted…
    a)Brightly colored rings that his girl of interest wears
    b)The hazy effect that marijuana has on vision; sometimes lights can appear to have bright rings of light around them. Lights essentially appear brighter because of the heightened sensitivity to light itself. Overall visual enhancement; brighter colors.

    ‘Brightly colored eyes’ can signify
    a)Brightly colored eyes of a girl he’s interested in
    b)The glassy, glazed effect that marijuana has on eyes; often coloring the usually white part of the eye either red, or pink.

    ‘The way she sings’ can even mean
    a)The way a girl that he likes sings
    b)The heightened sensitivity to sound that encourages music to sound rather differently (better) when marijuana is used.

    ‘Who can know… the reason for her smile’ can infer both
    a)Nick’s curiosity; what does this girl he’s interested think/ what makes her smile?
    b)The curious effect of marijuana (in most cases) that causes people to laugh and smile at things that would not be normally considered funny sans influence.

    ‘What are her dreams… when they’ve journeyed for a mile’
    a)Drake’s curiosity for this woman’s dreams, what she thinks when she’s asleep... her subconscious desires.
    b)The heightened thought processes/ changes in short term memory associated with marijuana intake. This change can lead to sidetracking/ entertaining thought patterns (aka‘tripping’). These ‘trips’ are like small journeys. Depending on the amount of THC inhaled, these 'trips' can seem pretty long because the user loses some sense of time. What seems like a mile is usually significantly less than a mile.

    To say that Nick was a perfectionist and wouldn't include a song referencing marijuana seems like a stretch. Nick was an AVID supporter of pot. He loved it. Bakismaki and suclid003; do you really honestly think he would never write a song about smoking it? What would that even have to do with perfectionism? I suggest you two look into his song "Been Smokin' too Long"and re-examine what you think Nick would and would not reference.
    Allison~!@on August 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of the more upbeat songs on the five leaves left album. It's still sort of sad to me at least. It's basically a romantic song about a girl. Its sad to me at least because Nick Drake although incredibly brilliant had all kinds of trouble relating to others, and in this song he's talking about how he doesn't have any clue about what this beautiful girl thinks or feels.

    As for the weed thing. It's pretty obvious the song is actually about a woman. Plus drake was a perfectionist to the point of mania, I highly doubt he would have included a song about weed in his first album none the less.
    bakismakion May 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just discovered this site, and when I saw that no one had commented on this song I just had to register.

    This song, to me, is an argument for humility and a non-judgemental approach to other people. Our attitudes and beliefs are shaped by what we experience and the people that surround us, and to judge a person without knowing anything about their history is presumptuous to say the least. This is especially true when it comes to refugees from war-torn countries who have sometimes been witnesses to horrible sights. Things that people like me only see in their worst nightmares.

    This song coupled with "Man In A Shed" are important to me because they remind me of the fact that, even though I may be the most important person in MY life, I share this planet with six billion other people with different dreams and aspirations and different ways and means of realising them.
    bladeton March 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI wholeheartedly agree with you Bladet. Personally I've always thought the song was about the things you think of and how you see the world while high (thus the title 'thoughts of mary jane')
    HateSaikoon May 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, this song is about weed. :)
    plastic_zakon April 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI doubt that Nick Drake meant Mary Jane to be taken as marijuana. Maybe it was coincidence that it happened to be slang for marijuana? To me, being high has nothing to do with the song. It's just about the mysteries of people and how you can't know the secret thoughts, dreams, and aspirations of people you know, no matter how much you try or spend time around that person.
    suclid003on April 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the title of this song is derived from marijuana, but Drake uses it as more of a pun. I'm guessing the song is meant to have double meanings. Anyways, Nick Drake was known to smoke cannabis, so I don't see why it would be surprising for him to incorporate it into his lyrics.
    barbarianon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdon't kid yourselves: nick knew full well the implications of the name "mary jane." whether he intended a full-blown metaphor or simply a little nod to marijuana is debatable, but neither is a stretch. after all, the album itself is named after an inscription found on joint papers which served as a heads-up to let people know they were down to their last five.
    thequeenisdeadon December 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a tribute to Marijuana, the one true love of his life
    @nthonyon June 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of his most beautiful songs, really.
    Less melancholy than many of the others.
    TheThornBirdson April 18, 2009   Link

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