"Surrounded" as written by and Kevin James La/moore Brie....
Morning comes too early ,
And night time falls too late.
And sometimes all I want to do is wait.
The shadow I've been hiding in
Has fled from me today.

I know it's easier
To walk away,
Than look it in the eye.
But I will raise a shelter to the sky
And here beneath this star tonight I'll lie
She will slowly yield the light
As I awaken from the longest night.

Dreams are shaking set sirens waking up tired eyes
With the light the memories all rush into his head.
By a candle stands a mirror of his heart and soul she dances
She was dancing through the night above his bed.
And walking to the window

He throws the shutters out against the wall
And from an ivory tower hears her call
"Let light surround you"

It's been a long, long time
He's had a while to think it over
In the end he only sees the change
Light to dark
Dark to light
Light to dark
Dark to light

Heaven must be more than this
When angels waken with a kiss
Sacred hearts won't take the pain
But mine will never be the same
He stands before the window
His shadow slowly fading from the wall
And from an ivory tower he hears her call
"Let the light surround you"

Once I was but I was found.
When I heard the stained glass
Shatter all around me.
She whispers words to clear my mind.
I once could see but now at last,
I'm blind.

I know it's easier
To walk away,
Than look it in the eye.
But I have given all that I could take.
And now I've only habits left to break.
Tonight I'll still be lying here surrounded
In all the light.


Lyrics submitted by Idan, edited by uncle11519

"Surrounded" as written by John Petrucci John Myung

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Surrounded song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationHI, I am Italian so may be my text will not be so perfect. Anyway, I've been looking for an interpretation of this song for a long time and at last I am glad my son let me know about this site. I love this song very much and I would like to try to do a female cover of it. In my opinion the most likely intepretation is the one related with addiction: may be addiction to alchohol, or drugs or may be simply be related to a a period of difficulties during which a person must make some choices and is afraid to takwe a positin. He lives in the darkness, sleep brings no relief. What he likes to do is wait --> wait because he has not the courage to face some critical situations. It is even easier to walk away than face the situation directly (no matter what it is). I do not understand why he has to raise a shelter to the sky, probably he would like to be still protected in his own solitude. However he decides to lay all the night below the weak light of a star --> probably this means that in his deepest consciousness he would like to open his mind and his attitutes to a possible change, bringing light and hope into his life. BTW I this that "she" refers to the star itself, amd not to a woman: it is a symbol of a new hope. HIs life is in darkeness but may be he is feeling that he is going to wake up from this unbeareable situation that reminds him the longest night. The night is not quiet at all: dreams are rushing into his head, sirens do not allow him to find peace in a deep sleep, and all the memories (of what we do not hnow, may be of his problematic situation) come out: typical phenomenon that occurs when one cannot sleep and is worried. Again the light of the star dances allthe time the above his bed. When he wathches out of the window, he hears the call coming from an ivory tower: again a symbol, the call comes from the star that invites him to let himself surrender to the light. And probably in his deeper thoughts this has always been his desire: but it is difficult to overcome the situation, and the changes from dark to light and dark to light probably represent the changes of his uncertain mind and attitude. The end of the tunnel once seems nearer once more far away. The reference to heaven probably reminds of a peaceful situation his heart is longing for, where mind is in peace, loeve surrounds everything and the sacred hearts will not be in pain. His heart will never be the same, because after a change, one is no longer similar to what he/she was before. The reference to the stained glass is difficult to interpret. The spirits probably are his own bad and fearful thoughts that he tries to send away. The only good spirit, that he will surrender to, is the star above him that is inspiring him words of wisdom: probably what he was thought to be the truth is no longer valid. In this sense his blindness is not a negative concept. Again he admits that is is easier to let things go on as usual, moreover he has done all that he could do, apart from taking the most difficult decision, that is break his habits and let the light surround him. Open his heart to a new life.
    luisyston October 19, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have a somewhat different take on this song than what has been written so far. It's a favorite of mine, and I've spent many nights pondering it's possible meanings. To me, it seems a story of a guy living in a self-imposed loneliness, who's wondering if he can/should leave it behind for the love of a woman (the "light"). There are many religious references as well, though I'm not sure I can explain them all. Here's my interpretation:

    "Morning comes too early and nighttime falls too late
    And sometimes all I want to do is wait"

    {Time is passing slowly, but neither sleeping nor waking bring any relief}

    "The shadow I've been hiding in has fled from me today"

    {The usual denial of his situation isn't working anymore}

    "I know it's easier to walk away than look it in the eye
    But I will raise a shelter to the sky
    And here beneath this star tonight I'll lie"

    {He's willing to let a little of the "light" fall on him}

    "She will slowly yield the light as I awaken from the longest night"

    {The woman will ease him into a new sense of love, after being along for a long time}

    "Dreams are shaking
    Set sirens waking up tired eyes
    WIth the light the memories all rush into his head"

    {He is letting himself fall for her}

    "By a candle stands a mirror
    Of his heart and soul she dances
    She was dancing through the night above his bed"

    {Self-explanatory}

    "And walking to the window he throws the shutters out against the wall
    And from an ivory tower hears her call
    "Let light surround you"

    {He opens himself fully to her love}

    "It's been a long, long time
    He's had a while to think it over
    In the end he only sees the change
    Light to dark
    Dark to light
    Light to dark
    Dark to light"

    {The meaningless passing of days}

    "Heaven must be more than this
    When angels waken with a kiss
    Sacred hearts won't take the pain
    But mine will never be the same"

    {Not sure I can say what this means. It seems to contradict what has already happened}

    "He stands before the window
    His shadow slowly fading from the wall
    And from an ivory tower he hears her call
    "Let the light surround you"

    {Once more, she asks him to let her in}

    "Once lost but I was found
    When I heard the stained glass shatter all around me"

    {My favorite lines. Overtly religious. The breaking of stained glass suggests the disappearance of religious influence from his life}

    "I sent the spirits tumbling down the hill"

    {The voluntary rejection of religion?}

    "But I will hold this one on high above me still"

    {He will hold on to the one "angel" who is real to him}

    "She whispers words to clear my mind
    I once could see but now at last I'm blind"

    {Her admonitions to let love ("light") in are obeyed, and now he is struck "blind" by love. Love is blind, etc.}

    "I know it's easier to walk away than look it in the eye
    But I had given all I could take
    And now I've only habits left to break
    Tonight I'll still be lying here
    Surrounded in all the light"

    {This last stanza is hard to fit. It makes me wonder if we are meant to believe he only imagined that he let love in, then came to realize he'd only been imagining or dreaming it. The tempo change at this point in the song might mean that he had awakened to his old plodding existence.}

    I really like this song, so I would like to understand what it does mean or can mean. Even so, having tried to write lyrics myself, I know that the consistency of the story will suffer when you need to make words rhyme or otherwise "fit." These lyrics might be mainly a stream of consciousness by Moore, without a consistent or cohesive story to go with them. It's still very cool.

    Anyway, that's my take.
    dave11on April 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationRealization. Overdue enlightenment on a transcendental level. It's about that feeling where you've been in one state of mind, and then you suddenly warp into a new, preferred state. Paradigm shift, and the aura it brings. This sounds like the anthem of a person who has been under a very negative or burdening influence for a long period of time, and now they've finally broken away from that force which has kept him or her binded. It sounds like he could have been the one at fault for his initial condition being so bad, but now he's fixed things up and has gotten himself out of what was going on. Possibly, he is learning to love life and could have possibly rejected religion (which is what I believe is the burdening force [it is supported within the metaphors]). One of the more beautifully cryptic examples of Dream Theater lyricism.
    Anilandon May 22, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI'm agreeing with a lot of people here; I think it's about a realisation of some sort, an awakening to a higher consciousness or meaning. Whether this is love, which I like to think it is, or something else, it is absolutely beautiful, and gives me hope since I am going through the same sort of phase.
    My interpretation: this man is in love, but he is either afraid of it or simply does nothing about it, but he ends up spending all his time thinking about it. Sleep brings no relief; he sees her in his dreams, and when he wakes up to escape her in his dreams, he begins to think about her again. During the course of this song, he decides that he's fed up with the way things are, and battles with himself over whether to confront his fears and give in to the light (love), or continue bottling it up. In the depths of his confusion, he turns to religion for guidance, but it fails him, and she remains the only thing that he can think about. Eventually, he begins to realise that, although it is easier just to ignore his feelings, he doesn't want to hide anymore, and makes up his mind to allow himself to be surrounded by the light. The line ''I once could see but now at last I'm blind" reminds me of the proverb about trying to fill an already-full cup; to embrace the light, he must first let go of everything, let go of his fear and doubt, otherwise he'll never truly be able. Finally, he confronts his fears and feelings, and now he just has to ignore the urges to take the easy route, because he knows that, if he perseveres, everything will work out.
    Lexoduson September 06, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI've always felt this was about a relationship.
    Kevin Moore, the lyricist, definitely had things going on, listen to album prior, with Light Fuse and Get Away, and then the next, with Space Dye Vest.

    All the lyrics in my head point to it, denying that she's gone.
    And then at the end, coming to terms.

    This little bit hits hardest to the meaning.

    "It's been a long, long time
    He's had awhile to think it over
    In the end he only sees the change
    Light to dark
    Dark to light
    Light to dark
    Dark to light"
    RunOfTheMillon October 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like how the song comes full circle.

    I love Dream Theater too.

    BTW, I have noticed that YtseJam has submitted most of these lyrics. Great job!
    AnotherBrickon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is incredible...so emotional.

    I believe this song is about a man with alcoholism who wakes up one morning deciding to change after too many memories of his earlier life and happiness along with too many regrets of the poison dragging him down, and steeling his dignity, he sees the light and wants more than what he has.

    I'm willing to admit that with further analysis a less simplistic conclusion could be come upon, but I think what I have contributed makes sense.
    havana4saleon November 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Dave on this one, except for the ending - if anything it's a happy ending. He knows it's easier to run away, but he's been doing that for so long, he's sick and tired of it, "he's given it all he could take." He's willing to let her into his life, the "habits left to break" are the ones where he got so used to being alone. The return to the slower pace of the music can mean that he's done trying to fight it and is accepting it now.

    So now as he listened to her call from the ivory tower, he's now "Surrounded in all the light".
    wasp2020on August 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me the song is all a big metaphor for recovering from alcoholism/another addiction; and spiritual enlightenment from doing so. The main reason fot this belief is 'now I've only habits left to break' - his addiction.

    The refrain ' I know it's easier to walk away, than look it in the eye' - i think he may be saying, it's easier to avoid the problem of addiction than to admit the problem and deal with it. He says 'The shadow I've been hiding in has fled from me today' - he is coming to the realisation of his problem, his mind is no longer in the dark to it.

    He says 'but I will raise a shelter to the sky, and here beneath this star tonight I'll lie' - to me , this means that he will allow his mind to think over his problem so that he may deal with it.

    I believe all the angel/dancing/light imagery is all to do with the feelings of enlightenment he is experiencing as he recovers from his addiction. However, he has not yet fully recovered, as shown by 'I've only habits left to break... tonight I'll stil be lying here surrounded in all the light'

    and I think the 'I know it's easier to walk away, than look it in the eye... but I had given all that I can take' bit may be about, he's tired of ignoring the problem, and giving away his life - perhaps, this means his happiness, perhaps his family, who knows; and now he is going to face the problem and work on it.

    All down to interpretation of course but after thinking about it, these are my ideas!
    oyasuminasaixon May 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love Dream Theater! I think they are absolutely great! And from the moment I heard this song I fell in love with it. But only after a long time I read the lyrics to completely understand it.
    From the moment I read the lyrics I knew that this is a love song. I read the comments and with some of them I agree and some not. So I analyzed the song myself. Of course everything can be understood in more than one way but I analyzed it the way it made sense to me and so it would fit to the meaning of the song
    ENJOY :)

    Morning comes too early and nighttime falls too late
    And sometimes all I want to do is wait
    The shadow I've been hiding in has fled from me today

    ***the time passes slowly and he doesnt get much peace of mind - doesnt get much sleep
    he hopes that if he will wait and ignore long enough he wont notice it anymore
    he's beein hiding in a shadow(= darkness) of isolation and lonliness cause he didnt want anything to do with romance***

    I know it's easier to walk away than look it in the eye
    But I will raise a shelter to the sky
    And here beneath this star tonight I'll lie
    She will slowly yeild the light as I awaken from the longest night

    ***its always easier to run away from problems ot fears than to face them
    but he decides to be brave
    he will lie underneath the weak light of a star (its still weak cause he didnt open up completely but only starts to)
    and she will produce more light cause he will let her cause he is awaking from his sleep of lonliness and is coming out of the drak***

    Dreams are shaking
    Set sirens waking up tired eyes
    WIth the light the memories all rush into his head

    ***he dreams of her a lot
    and when he wakes up he remembers it all
    (he thinks of her more and more)***

    By a candle stands a mirror
    Of his heart and soul she dances
    She was dancing through the night above his bed

    ***not sure axactly but maybe -- mirror = reflection
    the reflection of his heart and soul is the girl that he loves and she dances - this action reflects his feelings of happiness
    and since he dreams of her all night long, he feels the happiness she reflects for him***

    And walking to the window he throws the shutters out against the wall
    And from an ivory tower hears her call
    "Let light surround you"

    ***he throws the remains of his past away - moving fowarnd her = falling for her
    and hears her call him to let het her light(= warmth and love) surround him ***

    It's been a long, long time
    He's had a while to think it over
    In the end he only sees the change
    Light to dark
    Dark to light
    Light to dark
    Dark to light

    ***here i think we get at gilmpse at the past
    he was hurt and alone for a long time
    so he took the time to get over it and closed himself up
    but in the end he couldnt make himself get out of this situation
    and this lack of feelings at all made him so numb that he only saw the days go by him without the possibility to do anything about it***

    Heaven must be more than this
    When angels waken with a kiss
    Sacred hearts won't take the painBut mine will never be the same

    ***he cant believe that this could be real cause it feels like heaven
    waking up by her side and kissing her every morning so he says that heaven must be more than what he already has in real life
    no other angels even real onces couldnt have taken the pain he had away (only she could)
    and his pain wont be the same - or because its not there anymore / his heart wont be the same cause he loves her now***

    He stands before the window
    His shadow slowly fading from the wall
    And from an ivory tower he hears her call
    "Let the light surround you"

    ***his shadow slowly fading - the darkness is leaving him more and more
    cause she continues to be there for him and "light" him***


    Once lost but I was found
    When I heard the stained glass shatter all around me
    I sent the spirits tumbling down the hill
    But I will hold this one on high above me still
    She whispers words to clear my mind
    I once could see but now at last I'm blind

    ***he was lost - when you're alone its feels a lot of times like you're lost
    cause you're walking along the way alone and no one by your side to confirm that you're walking in the right way
    - but now he has her as if she found him when he was lost
    and he realized that when he heard his glass box of isolation shattered - she broke it and got passed it in and reached him
    spirits - could be evil spirits - so he got rid of them / or just took all of them down cause he doesnt want anyone else to light him besides her
    and he will keep her above him so she will be the only one to light him
    she talks to him to help him be calm and reasonable
    when you're not in love you are able to think with reason and clearly and the metaphore is to see clearly - when you're in love you are blind cause you cant think with reason
    so even when she tries to make him to think with reason = to see, he cant cause he is so in love = so blind***

    I know it's easier to walk away than look it in the eye
    But I had given all I could take
    And now I've only habits left to break
    Tonight I'll still be lying here
    Surrounded in all the light

    ***again - its easier to run away than to face your fears or to be honest and open
    but she gave him everything - everything he could ever want or need
    and now he only have to stop being afraid and fight his impulse to run away (cause its easier)
    cause he made his choise to stay with her
    and to continue be happy under her warm loving light***
    HellNon July 20, 2010   Link

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