I may know the word
But not say it
I may know the truth
But not face it
I may hear a sound
A whisper sacred and profound
But turn my head
Indifferent

I may know the word
But not say it
I may love the fruit
But not taste it
I may know the way
To comfort and to soothe
A worried face
But fold my hands
Indifferent

If I'm on my knees
I'm begging now
If I'm on my knees
Groping in the dark
I'd be paying for deliverance
From the night into day

But it's all grey here
It's all grey to me

I may know the word
But not say it
This may be the time
But I might waste it
This may be the hour
Something move me
Someone prove me wrong
Before the night comes
With indifference

If I'm on my knees
I'm begging now
If I'm on my knees
Groping in the dark
I'd be praying for deliverance
From the night into the day

But it's all grey here
But it's all grey to me

I recognize the walls inside me
I recognize them all
I've paced between them
Chasing demons down
Until they fall
In fitful sleep
Enough to keep their strength
Enough to crawl
Into my head
With tangled threads
They riddle me to solve

Again and again and again


Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by mdrick, Keys00

I May Know the Word Lyrics as written by Natalie A Merchant

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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I May Know The Word song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +2
    My Interpretation

    This song is about not being able to open up because of insecurities. She used a few metaphors to get the point across. Grey is used as a representative of the space between the night (black, darkness) and the day (white, light) Those two colors mixed or as it relates to the mood of the song are meshed together, which form gray.

    neversaycant1on September 12, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    The lyrics speak of knowing the right thing to do but failing to do it - due to indifference, fear, and maybe depression as many have noted. She is able to cheer up someone, or say the much needed word - but doesn't do it. The gray is, I believe, that cloudy uncertainty which we all live in at time, which prevents us from acting, "facing the truth", listening to the soft voice of spirituality, or even making decisions, even though we know what should be done. That's my take on it. I think it's much bigger than just falling in love with someone.

    Atti11on July 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    truly beautiful song

    Cranberriedon July 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is one of my favorite songs. It's so hard to to do anything for others when you are deeply depressed.

    sem3000on August 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is textbook depression. I can't think of a better song that describes the symptoms.

    The lack of appetite. The wallowing in the "darkness." The feeling of indifference. The feeling of not being in touch with the world.

    I think psychologists should use this song as a diagnostic tool to determine if someone is suffering depression. If they can relate to this song too well, then they need some serious therapy.

    jrm4646on January 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'm a convert to the catholic faith and have loved Natalie Merchant's music since well before that. Today this song is reminding me of the holy souls who are suffering in purgatory. The Word is Jesus Christ made flesh for us and from whom all our relief comes. The Holy Souls suffer because their prayers can no longer help to deliver them from their painful night into His glorious Day...however, our prayers CAN help them, if only we do not turn our heads, indifferent. +M

    Midnight Sunon November 03, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    There are so many things about this song that could be interpretted. I dont even know where to begin.

    mrsdarthvaderon July 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Depressed, guilty, hopeless, miserable and going out of one's mind song. "Tigerlilly" is a very depressing album in general.

    Reynard Muldrakeon December 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    How are there only 3 comments? This is one of her best songs. For me, its all about falling in love but being afraid to tell the person you love.

    doondawgon October 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    To me this song is about someone wanting to do something but being to afraid to do it because they're afraid afraid of letting their guard down for fear of being hurt, betrayed or let down.

    stagnateon July 18, 2009   Link

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