I had to go back to that house one more time
To see if the camellias were in bloom
For so many reasons its been on my mind
The house on Belmont Avenue

Built up on cinder blocks off the ground
What with the rain and the soft swampy land
By the sweet honeysuckle that grew all around
Were switches when we were bad

I took a bus to Baton Rouge
I took a bus to Baton Rouge

All the front rooms were kept closed off
I never liked to go in there much
Sometimes the doors they'd be locked 'cause
There were precious things that I couldn't touch

The company couch covered in plastic
Little books about being sved
The dining room table nobody ate at
The piano nobody played


There was this beautiful lamp I always loved
A seashore was painted on the shade
It would turn around when you switched on the bulb
And gently rock the waves

The driveway was covered with
Tiny white seashells
A fig tree stood in the backyard
There are other things I remember as well
But to tell them would just be too hard

Ghosts in the wind that blow through my life
Follow me wherever I go
I'll never be free from these chains inside
Hide deep deep down in my soul


Lyrics submitted by lunargirl

"Bus to Baton Rouge" as written by Lucinda Williams

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Bus To Baton Rouge song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentGood God this song is sad as hell. I can't believe I am the first to comment.

    Okay... "Bus". Buses are the most lonely mode of transportation there is. Even though you are among other living beings, you most often don't speak to each other in any meaningful way. You might make polite eye contact, but after that you try not to look at the other people. You might sneak a look in here or there and then you just completely wonder about the pain they have in their lives. If you do decide to speak, it is always small talk. Buses conjure up sheer pain and isolation to me. So, she took the loneliest ride possible to the most vulnerable part of her soul.

    She took the bus to Baton Rouge. To the "house" she grew up in. To me the house symbolizes a part of her heart and soul where she kept hopes and dreams. In terms of growing up, a big part of her was cultivated during the time she spent in this place. She had to go back one more time because "for so many reasons" it had been weighing heavy on her mind.

    She has memories of it that are so beautiful, the camellias, the lamp with the seashore painted on the shade, the driveway with the tiny white seashells. But, she also remembers the sweet honeysuckle, something so gorgeous, and how it was used to hurt her.

    She talks of the "company couch covered in plastic", and rooms that were closed off or the doors were locked. This symbolizes the parts of our souls that are not accessible to others. Parts of us that we don't even share with our family. How we guard certain emotions.

    The "dining room table nobody ate at" and "the piano that nobody played" reminds me of how we have some parts of ourselves that are just for "show" and how sad that is.

    She sings about the beautiful and painful memories of this place. The time she spent there obviously changed her and shaped her. At the end she says there are more things she remembers about the experience, but to tell them would "just be too hard".

    The part that always gets me is when she says,

    "Ghosts in the wind that blow
    Through my life
    Follow me wherever I go
    I'll never be free from these
    Chains inside
    Hidden deep down in my soul"

    I only had a few minutes to write, and I do believe much more can be said about this song in far more elegant prose.

    sugarbegoniaon August 13, 2009   Link

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