"Words (Between The Lines Of Age)" as written by and Neil Young....
Someone and someone
Were down by the pond
Looking for something
To plant in the lawn
Out in the fields they
They were turning the soil
I'm sitting here hoping
This water will boil
When I look through the windows
And out on the road
They're bringing me presents
And saying hello

Singing words, words
Between the lines of age
Words, words
Between the lines of age

If I was a junkman
Selling you cars
Washing your windows
And shining your stars
Thinking your mind
Was my own in a dream
What would you wonder
And how would it seem?
Living in castles
A bit at a time
The King started laughing
And talking in rhyme

Singing words, words
Between the lines of age
Words, words
Between the lines of age

Lyrics submitted by H-bomb

"Words (Between the Lines of Age)" as written by Neil Young

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Songtrust Ave

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Words (Between The Lines Of Age) song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentA man is on theoutside looking in. This man is dreaming of things, hoping that his dreams will become a reality. Could be the lawn mowing guy workign at an expensive home, a car salesman sellign Ferraris, the wedding planner unlucky in love. Always within touch but out of reach.
    binghiskhanon April 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSounds like Neil wrote a philosophical song about himself on his own birthday. He's sitting in his kitchen inside his house watching workers through the window (they're down by the pond, looking for something to plant in the lawn). He sees guests coming up the road, bringing presents and then greeting him. He's wondering what they would think, how they would behave toward him, if he were someone different than who he is...someone who doesn't "live in castles, a bit at a time". The "king laughing and talking in rhymes" is himself; the words are his words, during his years on earth. On his birthday, he's feeling a little bitter...a little sad...a bit regretful...probably glad he's who he is - yet wondering who would he be, were he someone else.
    ma_namasteon August 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this song is about the depression and a man dreaming of a better life. the fact that the people bringing him presents and singing
    "words, words, between the lines of age"
    kind of shows that through our time people who have nothing will always have words. which i think comforts the man.
    i cant belive that so little amount of people have posted on this song. i would really like to hear what some other people have to say on this song
    juliano69on May 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI've always loved this song. I had the old white cassette tape with the ink rubbed off from overuse. When this song came on it was a instant shuffle for the volume knob to turn it all the way up.

    I think songs with words should not have one meaning. I think they should be heard as if they were instrumentals. And they should mean what ever the listener wants them to mean. With that said...

    My interpretation of this song is that the song itself is a melancholy toned symbolic and yet literal reflection of the artist's work and life. The first verse is the writer's explanation of how he feels about his work and life compared to others around him. He observes "Someone and someone" "looking for something to plant in the lawn" and others "turning the soil". When one plants something, they're setting, furnishing, establishing, introducing, depositing, and creating something. He witnesses people giving birth to things around him. Then he reflects on what he's doing and realizes what he is doing is worthless, and a lonely act "Sitting here hoping, this water will boil". He feels his work and life has no purpose, meaning or significance. But yet he is still admired and sought after. "They're bringing me presents and saying hello." I think he is puzzled by the fact that something he views as worthless is so valuable to so many.

    The chorus is the writers literal explanation of what he does. "Singin words between the lines of age."

    The second verse is a hypothetical question to those who value his pointless, unfruitful work. He's asking if I wasn't famous and a star ('if I was a junkman') but was still doing insignificant work ('selling you cars, washing your windows and shining your stars' though we rely on cars they are a burden; we lose money when we buy them new, they require gas, oil, water, maintenance, insurance, tires, they are a pain in the ass) would you still "bring me presents and say hello" "what would you wonder and how would it seem" how would you feel about me then?

    The last line in the second verse is the writer going somewhat crazy but staying on the path he has been on. Even though he feels uninspired by his work he "The King" is still "living in castles a bit at a time" meaning he is merely or hardly living. But yet he laughs and continues his worthless work "The king started laughing and talking in ryhme".

    I hope Neil was just having fun with words and my explanation is just bull. If one were to actually feel this way it would be HELL.

    Cheers, Duder.
    duderron August 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite song on the album, i cant get sick of it..

    it's a dreamer's song about how everything in his life goes slowly (the rythem of the song is also very slow, so this is reflected) he doesn't join in with what everyone else is doing, he just see's what, 'someone and someone' perhaps he wants someone, but he is perhaps shy? he doesnt want to go out and meet people,
    is he dreaming when he says 'they're bringing me presents and saying hello'

    they sing words between the lines of age, i dont know what this means, maybe they sing words of things that might happen, but as they get older, they know it wont happen, but they still think of it between the lines of age.

    he hopes 'this water will boil' there is no mention of fire or heat to warm the water, he is just hoping it will boil, like he hopes something else will happen, but he is too much of a dreamer to get out and make it happen.

    he thinks 'If I was a junkman selling you cars,
    Washing your windows and shining your stars' would that make 'you' happy, would that make something change?

    'thinking your mind was my own' he dreams about what 'you' would think if 'you' were him'

    you would dream of living in castles, abit at a time' the dreams would build up a bit at a time, then you would realize that it would never happen, as as soon as you try to make it happen, ''the king started laughin'' at what you wanted, and confusing the matter by ' talking in rhyme'
    you would then understand why he cant face going out and leaving his dreams.

    so like the others, as he gets older and ages more, he sings words of what could happen but sadly never will.

    such a hard song to understand, i wonder what neil really meant.
    xheyohxon August 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know it's dumb to assume songs are about drugs, but this one might have a couple references. "Something to plant in the lawn" meaning "grass" and "junkman" referring to junk or heroin. I don't think it's about drugs at all but perhaps informed by a deep reflectiveness that goes along with some drug states. This was part of the times, so I don't think it's too much of a stretch, especially since people in that time period generally started looking for drug references in nonsensical lyrics.

    That conjecture aside, the lyrics are definitely about a type of isolation, about not ever really knowing others. "Someone and someone" suggests everyone is a "no one", that people are kind of faceless and nameless, going through dull motions: looking, turning, sitting, waiting. Also, the idea of "thinking your mind was my own" seems to be about losing track of who one is inside and needing to connect with someone on the deepest possible level.

    "Windows" come up twice. To me, this is about being the observer, sitting back and watching others going through mundane, repetitive motions in their lives, but always from behind glass. It's his job to sing about what he sees and to speak with some depth, but also he's saying that the meanings can never be fully communicated, just briefly glimpsed between the lines.

    There is a surreal, illogical quality that invites multiple meanings. The impossibility of making a coherent story out of this is really exactly what the lyrics are about. He starts like he's going to tell you a story, but the story goes missing. By the end it has an uneasy, surreal fairy tale quality. The King is an archetypal image, but even the king veers off into nonsensical rhymes. I don't think this song is about a hopeless loneliness; it starts from that but it's also about the power of words and song to reach across the gaps and "shine the stars" of our being. I think this song is meant to be deep and existential. "Lines of age" refers the weight of the years we feel from the loneliness, as if time itself has etched deep lines into our soul's landscape.

    bigmike7on September 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've been listening to this song since i was about 6, and up until i was about 12 or 13 i took the literal meaning from the song as it being about a birthday and only that, now while i agree with Ma_Namste's post almost thouroughly, i would like to add some other input.I think that aside from him being himself and if he were someonee else, i think alot of the song is about plattitudes in general, someone and someone who i agree are noones, what i'd really like to offer is that Neil never claims to be from a certain time period(as far as his music goes) and also that in this world hes in at the moment that the king is infact a jester, where noone is anyone, what are dreams like? how do people act? and do people get the true meaning of things?
    Xerronon February 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen he asys "I'm sitting here hoping this water will boil", I think he is referring to the old saying "A watched pot of water never boils". This might mean that he is feeling anxious.
    whitefalconon April 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt is very difficult to interpretate the meaning of a song, or a poetry. But as the language is a social product is possible to to create different meanings from the author point of view. In the case of this song, besides of being difficult to understand Neil's thoughts, as I am not american, the language barrier itself became the task more difficult.

    Anyway I see two parts in the song. In the first part, I see an old couple living together for years, but still able to produce things together, like the plant they are planting. The lines of age would be the getting older process. The boiling water would be the result of the plantation, I mean, flowers or new plants.

    The second part would be a reflection from the viewer that sees the the couple of old people. The song itself would be result of the king's reflection. The king, the viewer, would be Neil.

    That is what I feel.

    Best regards

    geovaneon July 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI just have to post an opinion on the first part

    Someone and someone
    were down by the pond
    Looking for something
    to plant in the lawn.
    Out in the fields they
    were turning the soil
    I'm sitting here hoping
    this water will boil
    When I look through the windows
    and out on the road
    They're bringing me presents
    and saying hello.

    Maybe Neil's childhood memory: His mother and father burying his pet somewhere in the field, and then coming back and trying to cheer him up. Maybe simple explanation, but I picture it that way.
    Shushukaboon March 17, 2013   Link

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