Each time you'd pull down the driveway
I wasn't sure when I would see you again
Yours was a twisted blind sided highway
No matter which road you took then
Oh you set up your place in my thoughts
Moved in and made my thinking crowded
Now we're out in the back with the barking dogs
My heart the red sun
Your heart the moon clouded
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery

So what is love then is it dictated or chosen
(Handed down and made by hand)
Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years
Or is it just pop emotion
(Handed down and made by hand)
And if it ever was there and it left
Does it mean it was never true
And to exist it must elude
Is that why I think these things of you
I could go crazy on a night like tonight
When summer's beginning to give up her fight
And every thought's a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
May be an equal mystery

But you like the taste of danger
It shines like sugar on your lips
And you like to stand in the line of fire
Just to show you can shoot straight from you hip
There must be a 1000 things you would die for
I can hardly think of two
But not everything is better spoken aloud
Not when I'm talking to you

Oh the pirate gets the ship and the girl tonight
Breaks a bottle to christen her
Basking in the exploits of her thief
She's a very good listener
Maybe that's all that we need
Is to meet in the middle of impossibility
We're standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery
(Handed down and made by hand)

We're standing at opposite poles
Equal partners in a mystery


Lyrics submitted by manogrrlie

Mystery Lyrics as written by Emily Ann Saliers

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Mystery song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

7 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General Comment

    how could no one have commented on this song? this is by far my favorite indigo girls song. to me, it's about second guessing your love for somebody because you are just so different. it's such a strange dichotomy because it's the differences that keep you together, and also the differences that drive you apart. the singer seems to decide she'll let her lover stick around for a while "to meet in the middle of impossibility" unfortunately, in my own life, it didn't end that way

    yeahyouknowmeon October 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    what yeahyouknowme said!!!!

    Chamigaon December 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    God, I love this song... Why do you spend this time with me... Great stuff

    Schaeffieboyon December 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song reminds me of my best friend and me, because we started at opposite poles and ended up with an impossible bond. The line about love being "dictated or chosen" is the kind of thing he and I could work up into an utterly tasteless private joke...arrrgh, I miss him now that we live a continent apart. :-(

    Tuckeron October 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Ah, the whole part after "So what is love then", favorite lines of theirs, ever. Ever ever ever everrrrr

    flopcanopon May 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i think that handed down or made by hand means either taking how you were raised to heart or growing into your own thing. or not even youthful, maybe its like, having a relationship dictate your life...

    LondonSkylineon February 10, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    First off, the lyrics printed above are INcorrect! Instead of "(handed down and made by hand)" it should be "handed down OR made by hand" Someone needs to correct this since it changes the meaning of the song.

    In any case, here is my take on "Mystery" No doubt this is my favorite song by the Indigo Girls. The crux of the song poses the million dollar question about love: is love predestined or is it determined by our own doings?

    So what is love then is it dictated or chosen (Handed down or made by hand) Does it sing like the hymns of 1000 years Or is it just pop emotion (Handed down or made by hand)

    I read on the internet back in the 90's a different interpretation that was just as insightful. In their interpretation, it was about whether or not homosexuality was inherited or determined after birth.

    The song ends with the most bittersweet yet profound insight of all. For anyone who has been in a marriage or relationship, we often wonder how things work:

    "We're standing at opposite poles Equal partners in a mystery"

    TigerBalm88on October 22, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
The Night We Met
Lord Huron
This is a hauntingly beautiful song about introspection, specifically about looking back at a relationship that started bad and ended so poorly, that the narrator wants to go back to the very beginning and tell himself to not even travel down that road. I believe that the relationship started poorly because of the lines: "Take me back to the night we met:When the night was full of terrors: And your eyes were filled with tears: When you had not touched me yet" So, the first night was not a great start, but the narrator pursued the relationship and eventually both overcame the rough start to fall in love with each other: "I had all and then most of you" Like many relationships that turn sour, it was not a quick decline, but a gradual one where the narrator and their partner fall out of love and gradually grow apart "Some and now none of you" Losing someone who was once everything in your world, who you could confide in, tell your secrets to, share all the most intimate parts of your life, to being strangers with that person is probably one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. So Painful, the narrator wants to go back in time and tell himself to not even pursue the relationship. This was the perfect song for "13 Reasons Why"
Album art
Cajun Girl
Little Feat
Overall about difficult moments of disappointment and vulnerability. Having hope and longing, while remaining optimistic for the future. Encourages the belief that with each new morning there is a chance for things to improve. The chorus offers a glimmer of optimism and a chance at a resolution and redemption in the future. Captures the rollercoaster of emotions of feeling lost while loving someone who is not there for you, feeling let down and abandoned while waiting for a lover. Lost with no direction, "Now I'm up in the air with the rain in my hair, Nowhere to go, I can go anywhere" The bridge shows signs of longing and a plea for companionship. The Lyrics express a desire for authentic connection and the importance of Loving someone just as they are. "Just in passing, I'm not asking. That you be anyone but you”
Album art
Mountain Song
Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell gives Adam Reader some heartfelt insight into Jane’s Addiction's hard rock manifesto "Mountain Song", which was the second single from their revolutionary album Nothing's Shocking. Mountain song was first recorded in 1986 and appeared on the soundtrack to the film Dudes starring Jon Cryer. The version on Nothing's Shocking was re-recorded in 1988. "'Mountain Song' was actually about... I hate to say it but... drugs. Climbing this mountain and getting as high as you can, and then coming down that mountain," reveals Farrell. "What it feels to descend from the mountain top... not easy at all. The ascension is tough but exhilarating. Getting down is... it's a real bummer. Drugs is not for everybody obviously. For me, I wanted to experience the heights, and the lows come along with it." "There's a part - 'Cash in now honey, cash in Miss Smith.' Miss Smith is my Mother; our last name was Smith. Cashing in when she cashed in her life. So... she decided that, to her... at that time, she was desperate. Life wasn't worth it for her, that was her opinion. Some people think, never take your life, and some people find that their life isn't worth living. She was in love with my Dad, and my Dad was not faithful to her, and it broke her heart. She was very desperate and she did something that I know she regrets."
Album art
Punchline
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran sings about missing his former partner and learning important life lessons in the process on “Punchline.” This track tells a story of battling to get rid of emotions for a former lover, whom he now realized might not have loved him the same way. He’s now caught between accepting that fact and learning life lessons from it and going back to beg her for another chance.
Album art
Page
Ed Sheeran
There aren’t many things that’ll hurt more than giving love a chance against your better judgement only to have your heart crushed yet again. Ed Sheeran tells such a story on “Page.” On this track, he is devastated to have lost his lover and even more saddened by the feeling that he may never move on from this.