Burn bright through the night two pockets lead the way
Two doors to go between the wall was raised today
Two doors remain before your others and your own
Keep these books well stocked away and take your happy home

My carpenter's out and running about talking to the street
My pockets are out and running about
Barking in the street to tell what I have hidden there

Burn bright through the night, two pockets lead the way
Two doors to go between the wall was raised today
Raise the walls and shout its flaws, a carpenter should rest
So that when you tire of one side the other serves you best

My carpenter's out and running about, talking to the street
My pockets are out and running about
Barking in the street to tell what I have hidden there

The hills ringing hear the words in time
Listen to the holler, listen to my walls within my tongue
Can't you see you made my ears go tin?
The air quicken tension building inference suddenly
Life and how to live it

Raise the walls and shout its flaws, a carpenter should rest
So that when you tire of one side the other serves you best
Read about the wisdom lost, a knock, a knock, a knock
A secret knock one hammer's locked the other wisdom lost

My carpenter's out and running about, talking to the street
My pockets are out and running about
Barking in the street to tell what I have hidden there
My carpenter's out and running about
Barking in the, listen to the holler
My pockets are out and running about
Barking in the street to tell what I have hidden there

Listen, listen to the holler
I will write a book, it will be called
"Life and How to Live It"


Lyrics submitted by sportcarder

Life And How To Live It Lyrics as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Life And How To Live It song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Comment

    [At] the LA Universal Amphitheatre 9-86 show [...] Michael just told this story [...]: "A man had a house, he built a wall down the middle of it, he had an apartment on this side, he had an apartment on this side. [To a screaming person in the audience:] Shut up. In this apartment he had furniture, clothes, food, books... a cat. In this apartment he had different food, different clothes, different furniture, different books. And a gerbil. ...No that's not true. He would live over on this side for a while, until he got tired of it, then he would take off his clothes and put his books down on the counter, and he'd move over to this side for a while until he got tired of it and then move back over to this side and he flip-flopped back and forth until he died. When he died they went into the house and they crawled back in the back apartment, back in this closet, over here... And the whole closet was filled, floor to ceiling, with [someone in the crowd yells 'Gerbils!'] -- this is my story, c'mon you guys... This is true, by the way, this is incidentally a true story. Peter can confirm it for you [Peter Buck, wryly: 'This is indeed true.'] Must be getting old.... When he died they went back in this part over here and in the closet they found these books piled up, from the floor to the ceiling, packed in, and it was this book that he wrote and every single copy of the book that was ever printed was in there, he never gave one away or showed it to anybody so nobody ever knew that he wrote it. He just kept it there. And the name of the book was 'Life and How to Live It.'" [Furious guitar intro to song.]

    REMFIELDon October 14, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    ya the guy's name was Brivs Mekis, he was a disturbed athens resident whose story was found interesting by the band.

    ralph2869on June 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Wee Yin, you are the most pathetic user I've seen on any internet forum ever. People like you makes me deeply ashamed of human beings. Grow up and get some sense. We don't people with such attitude towards others.

    Low Feedbackon July 06, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    How do I get my hands on one of those books!?!?! Richard Meegs was it? Wrote them all by hand? Freaky dude.

    sportcarderon May 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is ironic because in the song they guy creates a sese of chaos and having no clue of what is going on, but still thinks that he can advise other people on how to live their lives.

    rockmanon January 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i think each occurence is actually "two doors" nitpick

    incredible song, his singing is perfect (he deliberately sang in a particular stairwell in order to get the sound right), just one of those chaotic breakneck old REM songs you wish they'd pump out more of these days (blees their hearts in any case). it all sounds like (beautiful) gibberish to me but somehow stipey makes it make sense... kind of how all the "insane" feel they're true geniuses and entirely logical...

    i do need to read up more on this. most underrated REM song EVER.

    ripelivejamon March 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I so want to live like that guy lived. When I tire of one side, the other'll serve me best. What a bizarre life that must have been. what must the carpenters who built the house have thought? Good song by REM. Michael Stipe could help the song a lot by singing more clearly though.

    Major Valoron April 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think the way that Michael sings (or mumbles if you like) in this song is part of what makes it so great. I always get the feeling of nostalgia when I listen to this, but I've no idea why.

    netchewzon April 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    if you can, really try to listen to the live version of the song off of the "And i feel fine" compilation. Stipe does a spoken-word intro thats moving, to say the least.

    Snakebite05on October 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Great song.

    mbrachmanon July 30, 2010   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!