"Donkeys" as written by and Bradfield/edwards/jones/moore....
Put some lipstick on
At least your lies will be pretty
A shadow on my face
And us donkeys wake up weary
Sweating and sickly
Donkey's don't allow their tears
No emotion never feel
And drown themselves in whatever
Find some meaning
Donkeys weight cracking a spire
Sweetness bent double
Whole days making polite
Never moving out of turn
Or ever trying to be natural
Those with silence inside
Eyes bare piss holes in the snow
Drained and burnt yellow
And sunk in self-pity
Jerusalem saw off
Donkeys are only left with lies
Are only left with lies


Lyrics submitted by ShiverForMe

"Donkeys" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Donkeys song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThe most beautiful song ever written.
    'put some lipstick on
    at least your lies will be pretty'
    is such a great opening. Us donkeys are those who hide their troubles and still help other people, yet still knowing that all this is so destructive.
    littlelostmeon June 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy absolute favourite manics song. just so so beautiful. x
    narcissaon April 14, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, it sounds like someone becoming aware of their disillustionment with life. "Find some meaning, weight cracking a spine." Bury yourself in your work, maybe you'll forget about your doubts. "Sweetness bent double, whole days making polite." Carrying on a front while feeling empty. Jesus rode into Jeusalem on a donkey and said he was the way to heaven. The promise of an idyllic afterlife deludes people into a life of wage slavery, believing the more they sacrifice, the more they will someday be rewarded.
    tikbalangon December 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti'm possibl wondering if this isn't closer in content to some of the Manics more political leanings. Donkeys as unskiled labour, perhaps? The notion of working your days away, before trying to drink the night away solely to find some solace, unsure as to the point of existance...that's what I see, anyway.
    Anrocaon May 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionEssentially, all the donkeys do is work for their masters. That is their whole life, they're left with no sense of self, room for emotion or objection. They have no choices or say in their situation - they're born into drudgery with no way out. They don't see the 'bigger picture', don't know what they're doing (in the small-scale or the large-scale). They know no real truths.

    Donkeys could be compared to the working class I suppose, as in other Manics songs where they have indulged in the 'working class anthem'. Most notably Design For Life. There are actually some related lines in both songs. 'No emotion never feel / And drown themselves in whatever' versus 'We don't talk about love / We only wanna get drunk'. The discussion of the subject's lack of dignity, cleanliness, truth, or respect. The plight of the donkey and working class labourer could be comparable - but the song could also apply to disenfranchised others.

    Almost reminiscent of a particular poem the band cited a few times; Tennessee Williams' 'Lament For The Moths'. The difference being that the moths are written as fragile, beautiful creatures that drop dead seemingly without cause - whereas the donkeys are hardened, submissive and not so elegant. All the same, there are parallels. Donkeys too seems to adopt the tone of a 'lament', for the beautiful or gentle or those taken advantage of / for granted, treated badly or suffering despite all they do.

    The metaphor of the donkeys has some degree of versatility, I can't say for sure what it's supposed to represent. But that's what I think.
    chalkedon May 30, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General Commentto me its a song about man and there role in society
    the ones lying and putting on lipstick are women
    and only there presence "a shadow on my face" is able to move tender feelings in us donkeys
    "sweating sickly donkeys don't allow their tears
    no emotion never feel and drown themselves in whatever" - all male features, whatever beeing, drugs, work, manic activity
    "find some meaning" the male process of individuation demands more indipendent distinction between the social environment
    "donkeys weight cracking a spire" - the weight of burdens of the male role being so big, that some men fail, get damaged trying to fulfill it
    "sweetness bent double" - the male relationship to his love and sexuality
    "whole days making polite" - more than women men have to force themselves to be "polite"
    "never moving out of turn or ever trying to be natural" - being natural for a man most often would be inapropriate
    "those with silence inside eyes bare piss holes in the snow
    drained and burnt yellow and sunk in self-pity" - introverted, weak, sensitive men often fail in society, not fitting in the role and get frustrated
    "jerusalem saw off donkeys are only left with lies" ... ?
    uoaeicnkon April 08, 2011   Link

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