"Lilywhite" as written by and Yusuf / Islam....
Back up on the mended road
I pause
Taking time to check the dial

And the Lilywhite
I never knew her name
But she'll be passing my way sometime again.

I raise my hand and touch the wheel
Of change
Taking time to check the dial

Thank the Lilywhite
I never knew her name
But she'll be passing my way sometime again.
But she'll be passing my way sometime again.

Lyrics submitted by BrainDamage

"Lilywhite" as written by Yusuf Islam

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management

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Lilywhite song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentOne of the more mysterious songs he's written. All in all "Mona bone Jakon" was a very strange album. Took me a while to get most of the songs. But i think this is the story of someone going through life, being "saved" and never knowing his savior.
    Silentlisteneron January 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthe is genius

    " I raise my hand and touch the wheel
    of change
    taking time to check the dial"

    Lilywhite = it's a flower (the life)

    "she'll be passing my way sometime again"
    She= (the faith)
    HassanSon June 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI always think of this song as a companion to 'Into White'; I interpret those lyrics as being about someone experiencing death, whereas I think 'Lilywhite' is more about thinking about someone who has died whilst knowing that it is a road we will all take in the future, and when that time comes then we will again see the people we have loved and lost.

    "Back up on the mended road, I pause, taking time to check the dial"
    I view 'the mended road' as being a metaphor for the way we have to go on with our lives after someone has died; the path can never be new and whole, only pieced back together and mended. It could be said that we 'check the dial' of our own lives after someone has died, we take stock.

    "I never knew her name but she'll be passing my way sometime again."
    We can never truly know another person but when we die then the people who died before us will 'pass our way again' and we will know them in a different way.
    miscoon December 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree this is a powerful and moving song. But I don't think we need to try to make it just about something metaphorical. It precisely is powerful because it is about the profound in the mundane of life. It's not necessary to find some deep meaning in the lyrics. If we take them at face value they tell a story that is how life is and how in the middle of the normal we have moments of meaning.

    "Back on the mended road I pause taking time to check the dial."

    He's back on the road, a road that has been mended, that is there's a patch of new asphalt. As he drives over that he pauses from looking at the road to check one of his meters in the car, most likely his speedometer. This is just a normal, mundane moment in life.

    But as he does it he remembers this girl he recalls and calls her by a flower, Lilywhite. He thinks of her this way because he doesn't even know her name. What ever the connection was with her, it wasn't enough for him to be able to say much about her, but she had a profound impact on her. However he met her he is sure they'll meet again. That will is important to him.

    Now he looks back up to his driving and puts his hand back on the steering wheel. Maybe he had to tap the dial to make it work, who knows, but he'd taken his hand off the wheel. Literally this is the wheel that changes the direction of his car. As he puts his hand back he feels his life has changed because of this girl and he owns that he changes his car's direction by steering the wheel and he changes his life by every action he takes.

    This deeper awareness of how profound a mundane moment is, of checking a dial and returning his intention to his steering wheel is due to his re-experiencing in his memory this encounter with this girl and for that he is thankful to her and committed to meeting her again.

    Now can there be deeper metaphorical meaning? Is the dial the dial of life? Is the wheel the wheel of karma? Is he understanding this girl, whom he calls a flower, to be even more than just a girl but some spiritual figure or calling or destiny? Of course! But the whole deepness is due to all this metaphor being imminent right in the aspects of a concrete moment in life, a concrete moment that was one of those epiphany moments that we never forget. The deep emotion of this moment is found in the music.

    I think of the straight forward and simple guitar strumming as paralleling the concrete moment. The growing strings, which eventually at the end of the song are all there and go on and on, parallel the deep emotion and spirituality he feels in that concrete moment.
    LibWingofLibWingon January 08, 2012   Link

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