Me and the puzzled travelers
We searched the ground for wealth
And scoured the dreaming valleys
On days where shadows melt
Digging for the blue and the green
Constant in opal or ultramarine
If you could only find yourself that way
And dust was my companion
And thirst caked all our words
Unearthing nearly nothing
We swarmed like carrion birds
Some for fortune, some for greed
Some for want, some for need
If you could only find yourself that way
In hearts suspicion flowers
In hands numb with jealousy
Sleepwalking lightning showers
Transform effortlessly
Thinking of all that I left behind
Down in the shaft when my mind was blind
But you couldn't even find yourself that way

Lyrics submitted by mrtrout

Constant In Opal song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe title of the song is a pun on the name of the city of Constantinople, and the lyrics reference one of its historic periods when this city, many times to many ancient and not-so-ancient people a place to see before one died, was utterly destroyed, and people dug through the ruins to rebuild or find salvageable items. I've studied up on this city myself, and I agree with the suggestion that if you read the Wikipedia article, it'll become much clearer. Kilbey has a great interest in historic times, religions, societies, ruins, and the like, and references to them are scattered throughout his work.

    Opals actually come in many color varieties and have been thought of as increasing awareness or having properties useful to scrying. This fits in with references to magic (as religion, technique, or both) and divination that everyone in the band has made at various times.

    This song is actually very introspective. I think it refers to an insight to his own personality or an event in his own life, perhaps even a relationship with someone (not necessarily romantic, although he wrote songs about the ending of such on the preceding albums). Even if it isn't actually about him, though, it's easy to see through the metaphors if you try. Kilbey even gives a hint with the entire third verse. He references hands (a very common symbol for works or what one produces with his efforts) numb with jealousy (fear of loss, not to be confused with envy) and the storms that "transform effortlessly" within them. If this vision leaves you feeling uneasy or disturbed, you're on the right track, because whatever event he's recalling, seemingly with resignation in the face of regret, ended badly, to say the least.

    I really feel that this is one of his best songs ever. He often strikes a balance between metaphor and vagueness, suggesting a story or a message without actually telling or conveying much of one, and sometimes without a point altogether beyond the images you invoke from what he gives you. The specifics are often irrelevant--would only take away from the fun, as well as serve to distract. Coupled with this is his constant theme of finding meaning. Both of these feature prominently in this song.
    maddpsyintyston March 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the first California Gold Rush of 1849.
    owennnnnnnnnnon January 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNO owennnnnnnnnn, its about Opal prospectors in the Australian outback.Gold certainly ISNT blue and green, but Opals most definitely ARE.
    Sozlukon April 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou both are void and without form

    feast your eyes:…
    laurelinwyntreon March 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlaurelinwyntre - the song is Constant In Opal, not Constantinople.

    From what I've read, Sozluk is right. This is arguably one of The Church's best. I love this song. Based on the lack of comments on this and the rest of their songs, not too many people remember or appreciate what a good band they are.
    monster36604on January 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually I'm pretty sure it is about actual opal mining in Australia:…
    FordTWynnon September 28, 2010   Link

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