Why's it never light on my lawn
Why does it rain
And never say good-day to the new-born
On the big screen they showed us the sun
But not as bright in life as the real one
It's never quite the same as the real one

And tell me grey seal
How does it feel
To be so wise
To see through eyes
That only see what's real
Tell me grey seal

I never learned why meteors were formed
I only farmed in schools
That were so warn and torn
If anyone can cry then so can I
I read books and draw life from the eye
All my life is drawings from the eye

And tell me grey seal
How does it feel
To be so wise
To see through eyes
That only see what's real
Tell me grey seal

Your mission bells were wrought by ancient men
The roots were formed by twisted roots
Your roots were twisted then
I was re-born before all life could die
The Phoenix bird will leave this world to fly
If the Phoenix bird can fly then so can I

And tell me grey seal
How does it feel
To be so wise
To see through eyes
That only see what's real
Tell me grey seal


Lyrics submitted by toadtws, edited by loupgarous

Grey Seal Lyrics as written by Elton John Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Grey Seal song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment

    Bernie (writer) says: "I haven't a clue what I was writing about. It was just images."

    The lyrics seem to recall his poor education as a child: ("I never learned why meteors were formed/I only farmed in schools that were so worn and torn)

    The speaker concludes that education is obtained without schooling.

    The grey seal is representing of an animal who is an expert on the world.

    Lord Choc Iceon June 21, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Grey Seal is not an animal. It is a seal -- as in a symbol--like the seal of the United States.

    "On the big screen they showed us the sun But not as bright in life as the real one It's never quite the same as the real one."

    This sounds like Plato's Cave.....

    digitaliceon February 03, 2006   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    Bernie Taupin has always had a fascination with the occult and sacred/secret knowledge and has even published a book of his poems titled "The Devil At High Noon". The song is riddled with a number of Occult (Which Simply Means Hidden Meaning) allegories and symbolism.

    The Grey Seal is likely not a cute sea mammal but an Old (Grey) Seal (Symbol) and probably the Egyptian Eye Of Horus which is tens of thousands/millions of years old if not more. Students of occult knowledge use this symbol to meditate and ponder it's many meanings and the actual information it contains much like the back of the US dollar bill.

    There are many people who freak out or fear the prospect of going around established religions to seek God/The Creator for themselves which is actually what the word "Mystic" alludes to. This song appears to be one man's attempt to unlock the secrets of the universe for himself.

    Why's it never light on my lawn Why does it rain And never say good-day to the new-born On the big screen they showed us the sun But not as bright in life as the real one It's never quite the same as the real one (The light, awakening or realization of an expanded consciousness-- that state of consciousness in which illuminati refers to, is elusive and all the teachings and realizations of it haven't been as great to him as he feels they should be)

    And tell me grey seal How does it feel To be so wise To see through eyes That only see what's real Tell me grey seal (The goal of an expanded consciousness is to tap into the universal mind and know the TRUTH about everything you seek to know about. "To be so wise To only see what's real")

    I never learned why meteors were formed I only farmed in schools That were so warn and torn (He never learned about the true origins of the universe and only farmed/sought knowledge in schools that were old and useless when it comes to providing this type of information)

    If anyone can cry then so can I I read books and draw life from the eye All my life is drawings from the eye (The eye is the symbol of consciousness. The lyric may also mean if anyone can seek this knowledge for themselves--then so can I, and by exploring and meditating on the true meaning and information the Eye of Horace he believes he can find the knowledge he is searching for)

    And tell me grey seal How does it feel To be so wise To see through eyes That only see what's real Tell me grey seal (The great geniuses of the world all knew this knowledge and put it to use including Tesla, Henry Ford, All The Greatest Composers, And Great Conquerors as well that went wild with this ability and tried to take over the whole world by using it including Alexander the great, Napoleon, Hitler, etc. When you learn to draw from and listen to the universal mind you have can be incredibly creative as Bernie Taupin himself is. His attempts to become enlightened were likely more successful than he realized because is incredibly creative and he is one of the greatest lyricist of all time)

    Your mission bells were wrought by ancient men The roots were formed by twisted roots Your roots were twisted then I was re-born before all life could die The Phoenix bird will leave this world to fly If the Phoenix bird can fly then so can I (This ancient way of seeking and finding the way to inner genius/creativity is millions of years old and requires certain steps before you can get there. First you have to lose all your previous beliefs and teachings of a lifetime and become mentally reborn with the new way of thinking not just some of the time but all of the time. This is an alchemist teaching and the real allegory meaning of the phoenix bird rising from the ashes)

    And tell me grey seal How does it feel To be so wise To see through eyes That only see what's real Tell me grey seal (So tell me great ancient symbol how to obtain this great higher consciousness I have heard about)

    It is likely Bernie knew exactly what he was writing about even if he never admitted it to himself. We all are born free and have the right to know the great secrets of the universe but it takes a burning desire to actually comprehend and ever become truly knowledgeable. This song is loaded with meaning but Lyrics often tell a story so condensed down to a minute amount of words to conform to music and to be pleasing to the ear. And many words are changed to rhyme with others so what you end up with is sometimes difficult to understand and leaves the meaning open to interpretation.

    Who would have thought a song about a furry little sea creature was really about becoming personally acquainted with God and the Universe. (GREY SEAL = ANCIENT SYMBOL)

    joey108650on March 01, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Where does the Phoenix come in?

    Thunderbolton October 06, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Wow, this is not going to be easy, especially because (as someone else here noted) Bernie himself said he wasn't sure what it was about, and that it was just a bunch of images.

    In my opinion, this is a declaration of independance, whether he knew it or not.

    The thought JUST HIT ME NOW that the Grey Seal is Elton. How does he do it (making the music match the words, and making it so right, making it JUST right!?!) to be so wise in the ways of songwriting. To be able to see what the song will be like when its done (to see through eyes that only see what is real). Repeating the line adds insistence and emphasis, but even more, seems to indicate that this would be the only place the writer can find the answers to his questions. TEH_ELL MEE GREY SEALL!!!

    Okay so a declaration of independance from formal education, why write about things you learn in books or from reading books or going to school.. .. ... After all, real experience (if anyone can cry then so can i) is the only thing worth writing about. In through the eyes you can read and see and draw experience. And you can't write without them (the eyes). All his life is drawings from the eye! Its what he has on his side. Elton spends a lot of time on music, well Bernie WRITES!! (Like the terminator, its what he does -- its ALL HE DOES!) and so its his life so its his strength. And now he is not just asking grey seal, but setting his course to learn from anyone he can. Learning to ~see~ and ~write~, and be wise and talented depend on seeing what's real, having eyes that only see what's real, picturing the end product right from the beginning, carving away what does not belong and being a wordsmith.

    He rejects organized religion (Your mission bells were wrought by ancient man.... formed from twisted roots; your roots were twisted then), and "reborn before all life could die" means he has discovered his role, his purpose and meaning before the world killed his desire to grow. And if -- after thinking that he could go nowhere, and thinking that the words were not as important as the music -- now IF he can rise from the ashes .... no, WHEN he rises from the ashes, then he will fly. It is now inevitable.

    So the chorus again this time, but not so far away, maybe over a cup of tea. Maybe even looking ahead to someday when someone else asks him how to grow and be wise and talented. He is that good and needs to accept it and realize it and believe in himself.

    Good song!

    txnuke1201on February 16, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    The theme seems to be that school can't teach everything.

    DerCapon February 26, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    Elton John's Grey Seal - Gracie my nearly 100 year old cousin.

    goshawkon March 12, 2017   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    I always saw this as taking place in a futuristic (post-apocalyptic?) world… “On the big screen they showed us the sun, but not as bright in life as the real one”…maybe a meteor hit the earth and sent up a dust-cloud that obscured the sun, and all they have left are old films on the “big screen.” The world around him is worn and torn, the beautiful things exist mostly in memory or picture books, "drawings from the eye." Picture the world in the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Old Man in the Cave.”

    rich24on November 09, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think Bernie said he didnt even like the lyrics to this one anyway

    lizard_kingon November 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    sure, but why a seal? assuming the seal is an actual "ark-ark-ark" seal.

    pumkinhedon December 12, 2004   Link

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