Sticky soul get a little lost on my own
Hey General, need a little love in that hole of yours
So one ways now on Saturdays now
And our kittens are wrapped in cement
From cradle to gumdrops
Got me running, girl, as fast as I can
And is it right,
Butterfly,
they like you better framed and dried?

Daddy dear, if I can kill one man why not two?
Well, nurses smile when you've got iron veins
You can't stain their pretty shoes
Pompons and cherry blondes
And these kittens still wrapped in cement
From God's saviours to gumdrops
Got me running, girl, as fast as I can
and is it right,
Butterfly,
they like you better framed and dried?

Got a pretty, pretty garden
pretty garden, yes.


Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce

Butterfly song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment"Daddy dear, if I can kill one man why not two?"

    I think this is an allusion to Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy," in which the speaker says "If I've killed one man, I've killed two"
    silburyhillon December 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhen I hear this song, I imagine a gay male soldier on the battlefield, captured in the death-filled trenches of WWI. Amos is painting a nihilistic picture of the tragedy and mourning one gets from bitter loneliness and unrequited love. This solider is told by society that he isn't a "real man" (because he's gay), but he paradoxically embodies the masculine archetype of a "real man" in being a real-life G.I. Joe. It's enough irony to drive him into an opportunistic madness.

    "Kittens wrapped in cement" is the grinding feeling one gets from having to hide in a cruel atmosphere of social oppression and stigma. In the homophobic military environment, the same cement that stops the bullets and preserves many lives also represents the material that makes up the walls of a society that crushes the individual will of the fragile person. The same thing can be said for the military. He is the child-like kitten, wrapped up bitterly in their ever-the-more boring, plain world of chunks of cement. It is the cement that will later form his tombstone, both materially and spiritually. Consider this song his eulogy, both on and off the battlefield.

    The symbol of the "butterfly" represents both the grace of the soul and its quest to be free. As beautiful and adorable as he is, he'll never be free. Society doesn't want him as he really is. Society instead likes its own version of him "framed and dried"... straight and put on display for others to see. I know too well that feeling one gets when people mistake you for heterosexual. But it's easier to hide under badges and a pressed uniform.

    "Hey General, need a little love in that hole of yours?"

    No, it's not just about gay sex, but it could easily be. Rather, it's an ironic quip. A sick joke on his part. If can entertain himself with the idea that his "superior" officer is a "another fag" just like he is, it might help to soothe the humiliation he endures daily from this man and those whom he encourages. Such moments of laughter bring some soothing stickiness to his brittle, still-open wounds.

    "From cradle to gumdrops"

    ...to bullets. You can never return that innocence that once was childhood. It was sweet like candy but is now forever gone. It was innocent...

    ...Back when it was like Eden... you know, back when you had that "pretty, pretty garden" and all things were hunkey-dorey and all boys liked girls... You used to think that you liked a girl but she had you moving faster than you were really ready... this only served to bring about further confusion of what you really liked... society's answer was only "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"...

    "Daddy dear, if I can kill one man why not two?"

    That other man is me. Or, is it you? Daddy dear, why don't you love me? Am I enough for you? Raised in a conservative Christian home (like Tori, btw) we were a part of "God's saviors" but you didn't want your precious son to be "sweet" like gumdrops. You didn't want him to be a cheerleader queer. You wanted me instead to be going after the cherry blondes.... Maybe now I'm "man enough" for you. Either way, I won't live to see it. You'll never know who I truly am. My whole life is wrapped in cement and framed and dried for your beloved niceness to see.
    grelingon March 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch an amazing song. No wonder why it's one of the most requested at her life shows. :']
    ameliorativeon October 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought there was a strong connection to Sylvia Plath in thiis song with so many alussions to her.
    "Daddy dear if I can kill one man why not two," alludes to Plaths poem "Daddy"

    "If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
    The vampire who said he was you
    And drank my blood for a year,
    Seven years, if you want to know.
    Daddy, you can lie back now."

    I also heard that "kittens all wrapped in cement" could be tied with Plaths poem "Lesbo"

    "Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear
    Why she is schizophrenic,
    Her face is red and white, a panic,
    You have stuck her kittens outside your window
    In a sort of cement well
    Where they crap and puke and cry and she can’t hear.
    You say you can’t stand her,
    The bastard’s a girl."

    "nurses smile when you've got iron veins" Also could be a loose connection to Sylvia Plaths novel "The Bell Jar" and even "And is it right, butterfly, they like you better framed and dried?" Can allude to Plath, I remember reading some where that there is a poem where Plath speaks of dried, framed butterflys.
    ironyonmytongueon August 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentah...this song is SO beautiful...toris voice is amazing. thats so perfect, "butterfly, they like you better framed and dried?"
    silverpuppiezon July 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh man.. this song really is hard to "decipher", but anyway, it still is an amazing and beautiful song.. one of my tori favorites!!
    ju_kornholioon May 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is talking about the corrpution taking place in the world/country ...."Daddy dear, if I can kill one man why not two?
    Well, nurses smile when you've got iron veins
    You can't stain their pretty shoes
    Pompons and cherry blondes
    And these kittens still wrapped in cement
    From God's saviours to gumdrops
    Got me running, girl, as fast as I can
    and is it right,
    Butterfly,
    they like you better framed and dried?" .... So complex, but beautiful
    liquiddiamondABon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch an amazing song. No wonder why it's one of the most requested at her live shows. :']
    ameliorativeon October 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Well, nurses smile when you've got iron veins"

    The girls like it when you act tough. Everyone likes a real G.I. Joe.


    "You can't stain their pretty shoes"

    Not heterosexual enough for you. You may have the same blood running through your veins as everyone else, but that's not enough to pass. You must instead "pass".
    grelingon March 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Well, nurses smile when you've got iron veins"

    The girls like it when you act tough. Everyone likes a real G.I. Joe.


    "You can't stain their pretty shoes"

    Not heterosexual enough for you. You may have the same blood running through your veins as everyone else, but that's not enough to pass. You must instead "pass".
    grelingon March 18, 2007   Link

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