"Siberian Khatru" as written by Jon Anderson, Steve James Howe and Rick Wakeman....
Sing, bird of prey;
Beauty begins at the foot of you. Do you believe the manner?
Gold stainless nail,
Torn through the distance of man
As they regard the summit.

Even Siberia goes through the motions.
Hold out and hold up;
Hold down the window.
Outbound, river,
Hold out the morning that comes into view.
Bluetail, tailfly.
River running right on over my head.

How does she sing?
Who holds the ring? And ring and you will find me coming.
Cold reigning king,
Hold all the secrets from you
As they produce the movement.

Even Siberia goes through the motions.
Hold out and hold up;
Hold down the window.
Outbound, river,
Hold out the morning that comes into view.
Bluetail, tailfly.
River running right over the outboard, river,
Bluetail, tailfly,
Luther, in time.
dude'ndoodit, dah, d't-d't-dah.

Hold down the window;
Hold out the morning that comes into view.
Warm side, the tower;
Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru.

Gold stainless nail,
Torn through the distance of man as they regard the summit.
Cold reigning king,
Shelter the women that sing
As they produce the movement.
River running right on over,
Then over my head.
Outboard, river.

Bluetail, tailfly,
Luther, in time,
Suntower, asking,
Cover, lover,
June cast, moon fast,
As one changes,
Heart gold, leaver,
Soul mark, mover,
Christian, changer,
Called out, saviour,
Moon gate, climber,
Turn round, glider.


Lyrics submitted by yesfan86

"Siberian Khatru" as written by Jon Anderson, Steve James Howe, Rick Wakeman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Siberian Khatru song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentLots of interesting comments, although I have no more of a clue what these lyrics mean NOW than I did before I read them. LOL

    I would like to take exception to what ColdCat said: "progressive rock tunes largely have no meanings. That is sort of one of the defining rules of progressive rock."

    That's a crock, dude! Just because YOU don't understand the meaning, does NOT mean that they have no meaning! (Know what I mean?)

    I'm working on my first prog CD right now. And I'm here to tell you that MY friggin lyrics mean something! So do the lyrics of the music I listen to and consider as influential (Band like Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd, ELP, and Porcupine Tree.) The lyrics may be obscure and difficult to unravel sometimes (Hence, the reason for websites such as this one.) But they DO have meaning.
    Phx4stringeron October 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of the greatest songs about nothing ever written. Totally impressionist work that only succeeds if you don't think about it and just feel it.
    tooloudon October 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the notion that the lyrics to Siberian Khatru are impressionistic and not literal. (IMHO, Jon Anderson's lyrics are almost always that way -- and range from gorgeous gibberish to self-indulgent babble -- or worse; I find it generally best to think of his voice as an instrument, and his words as tones and musical phrases, rather than language.

    I also agree that it's unfortunate when some Christians (or atheists, Freemasons, Paul-is-dead freaks, etc. ...) ind contrived "evidence" of sympathy for their beliefs/lifestyles/theories in works of art , music, poetry, or literature. (There's plenty of art that IS sympathetic to particular beliefs/constituencies, and that's great; I'm referring only to efforts to conjure sensibilities that don't, or couldn't, exist. (A nonmusical example is the notion that Superman, the creation of two first-generation Jewish immigrants, is a Christ figure.)

    Unfortunately, opaque poetry like Anderson's, lacking as it is in intrinsic meaning, leaves itself wide open to projected interpretations of all stripes.

    Having said all that, however, it's hard to dispute some kind of Christian spin in Siberian Khatru, particularly since it contains the word "Christian," along with "Luther" and "saviour". I don't think it translates into a literal parable, but Christ (or Christianity) must have been among the ideas bobbing along Anderson's stream of consciousness when he worked out the lyrics to "Siberian Khatru."
    jimakinon July 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgreat song... that's right, my favourite of YES. I have to hear it at least 3 times. and the bass line... man! the last solo... incredible feeling.
    The lyrics always mean something in progressive music... always. And always can have several interpretations. Here is one good of it:

    yesfans.com/forum/…

    A masterpiece. Thank you YES
    gorianon October 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment---==========[ MY INTERPRETATION ]===========---

    This is what the song means TO ME (and only to me because it was a time when I had problems accepting that I was a sexual female animal instead of an autistic broken robot), the words are about a girl who lives isolated in a tower who wants to continue to believe that life is sad and depressing, because her parents (Cold reigning king that holds all the secrets from you) told her sex was "animalistic". Sex was the secret. In my case it was my mom. The cold, feelings-are-evil king "shelters the women that sing" ...or want to sing, if they weren't trapped in the ivory tower of intellect.

    She sees the summit in the distance (the summit of existence: opening up to boys, doing it, culminating in orgasm).

    When puberty happens, she tries desperately to hold down the window to keep out the morning (happiness and enthusiasm and life) that come into view.

    It is something that doesn't have a name, but you can call it by a meaningless name, "the khatru". It's the same thing the black monolith represented in 2001: a space odyssey. The "khatru" comes to rescue you when you're in a cold place, even Siberia, and it makes the side of the tower warm as it approaches.

    Sex is like a river that she sees coming, a flood that she can't stop, and it runs right over her head, drowning her in it's joy. (Cover, lover). As she feels all of her fear and resistance melt away, she suddenly sees herself climbing the summit, the mountain.

    As one changes...

    Sex feelings touch her and leave their golden mark on her soul, transforming her into being happy (Heart gold, leaver, Soul mark, mover, changer)

    Free of the ivory tower, she is now climbing the mountain summit herself, and as she nears the top, wondering what awaits her there, she feels a burst of hot light from behind her, and she can see its brightness on her hands and the rock she is climbing.

    She slowly turns around to face it. She is completely overwhelmed. She steps off the mountaintop, which turns out not to be where her destiny is, but only a place to meet it. Instead of falling, she soars into the sky to meet the light.

    Turn round, glider.

    The rest of the song is instrumental, and its repeating cycles of happiness and joy are her being fucked for the first time, getting closer and closer to orgasm--the ultimate experience, the peak and the meaning of life. The two-second guitar riff at the very end where three notes repeat very fast is her cumming, when she is absorbed into Eternity, losing her identity as an individual.

    Anyone on the ground who is still sad would say that she died (presumably from old age), because we are animals and death is the flip side of sex.

    See, before sex evolved, everything lived forever (as very simple animals like jellyfish). They got bigger end bigger and then split into two halves which became two individuals. But shortly after sex evolved, death did too: We have to die so we don't compete for food with our children after they too achieve puberty.

    See, I knew this when I was a kid, and I didn't want to feel sex because I didn't want to be part of the cycle and die.

    But really, by having sex (and eventually, children), when you lose your individual identity (during orgasm, and then death) you become part of the brilliant, white-hot infinity of never-ending life, which here is called "the heart-spoken, Siberian Khatru".

    ---================---

    ...I observe that even after all these years, thinking about the words of Siberian Khatru still makes me cry.

    This song's impact on me can not possibly be understated. The images and feelings it engendered made me dedicate my life to preventing other kids, particularly smart ones who think too much, from fearing sex because it's something animals do–like dying.

    Yes really.

    tiny url dot com slash kanecave

    -- faye kane homeless brain
    FayeKaneon June 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat point. I don't think it really has a meaning, but is more of something to just feel and forget about your problems and things like that.
    YES_Fanon November 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'v e researched this a bit. This song has a very profound meaning. Khatru supposedly means "Your will be done" in Yemeni. I haven't found that.
    It is a word used for a feminist writing group from the 50s - 70s. Anderson is talking about the life of Christ and
    how the message goes all over the world, reaching even the most remote places like Siberia. It talks about how it has changed over time (gold stainless nail, torn through the distance of man) and even includes references to Islam (moongate climber). He's talking about how it was nurtured and kept alive by women under the nose of the cold hearted king. And, with the help of the apostles (Shelter the women who sing, as they produce the movement).
    Sure, some of the lyrics are impenetrable, but the metaphor is the same. Please, actually read the lyrics.
    Beach Bumon February 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBibll Bruford asked, during the sessions "Jon. please explain, what IS a khatru?" He got no satisfying answer and, tight upon finishing the album, left for King Crimson.
    The lyrics are on the obscure side (and frankly I don't give a damn about much of Yes' lyrics!) - One could catch a polarity between male and female forces, the male being connected with kingship, violence and war, the female with culture, rebirth and renewal. The dim lyrics don't take anything away from the power and drama of the music.
    tinderboxon March 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat about 'bluetail' and 'tail fly'? i always picture insects hovering in the morning air.

    hmm.. honestly i had no clear idea what the song was about. Bech Bum might be right for all i know, a better explanation than i could think of.
    findsomepeaceon December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, its the second best on CTTE( after CTTE) the lyrics are very dark and hard to tell what they are about. But i hate how ppl like beach bum try to find jesus and God in every song. Get over it .
    They are not everywhere.
    _alex_on January 10, 2006   Link

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