Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door

Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door

I don't want no God on my lawn
Just a flower I can help along
'Cause the soul of nobody knows
How a flower grows
Oh, how a flower grows

Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door

Mary dropped her pants by the sand
And let a parson come and take her hand
But the soul of nobody knows
Where the parson goes, where does the parson go?

Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door

Lyrics submitted by BrainDamage

Longer Boats Lyrics as written by Yusuf Islam

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Longer Boats song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI always thought of the book "Hawaii" when I heard this song. The longer boats were the white man coming to their islands. The parson was the religious "missionary" come to convert and takes advantage of the innocence of the young girls (Mary) or converts because they trust him.
    "I don't want no god on my lawn" was always an adversion to religion and all it's outward forms while his wanting just a flower he can help along was his longing for the truth, the truly good.
    I heard about the UFO thing but it just doesn't say that to me at all.
    singleeyeon January 08, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is taken straight off Cat Stevens website yusufislam.com

    "In the late 60’s, due to the successful landing of a man on the moon (which happened coincidently on my 21st birthday) there was a lot of talk and speculation about UFOs.

    I wrote the song as a plea for human unity in face of external (possibly extra-terrestrial) threats. There was also a lyrical inference to say that we should look closer at the beautiful and mystical nature of the earth, and watch out for adopting inherited wisdoms from people who claimed to be masters of the high, moral ground.
    I don’t want a ‘god’ (statue or false image) on my lawn
    Just a flower, I can help long
    For the soul of nobody knows,
    How a flower grows – how does a flower grow?

    True, I gave interviews sometimes and talked about UFOs with passion, but that was partly due to my wish in making the interview more interesting. My apologies.

    But in another way, the image of ‘longer boats’ in my mind reminds you of the Vikings and the ships they conquered Britain with. A hint of how we perceive aliens who have different customs to us – thankfully, my mother was Scandinavian, so I never really shook listening to such stories."
    MilesFromNowhereon November 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThe reference to the vikings, with their long boats, who came and won us is clear.
    But what was it that Cat Stevens was afraid of in his time ?
    I doubt if the song refers to a specific object, just as I doubt that "Here comes my baby" refers to a specific woman.
    But even if Cat Stevens was thinking of something in particular, why should we care about Stevens' phobia when each one of us has his own, and this is what comes to one's mind when one hears the song ?
    When you hear a love song that appeals to you, do you think about the singer's love or of your own ?
    hananon December 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI see what has already been posted here. It's interesting that Cat Stevens originally made his interviews more interesting by talking about UFOs, and later said it was more about appreciating your land (or planet) and being aware that another country (or aliens) could come and take it from you (like the boats that came from Scandinavia to conquer Britain).

    As I read through the lyrics, I personally interpret the lyrics to be saying "I live in a peaceful land that does not have a religion that involves worshiping a god. People will eventually come and push religion on me and those who live here, and to my neighbors I say don't let them."

    To break it down:

    "Longer boats are coming to win us. Hold on to the shore." Missionaries will come to our land to "win us over" with their religion. But "hold on to the shore" my friends! Don't let them take over this land and convert it to their religion!

    "I don't want no god on my lawn. Just a flower I can help along. Because the soul of nobody knows how a flower grows." I don't want to become a devout follower of a god to worship, with statues of the saints and manger scenes and such. I just want the simple beauty of a flower on my land. And quite frankly, I don't think these religious folks really have the right answer of how the Earth and the things on it (like flowers) came to be. Nobody has those answers.

    "Mary dropped her pants by the sand and let a parson come and take her hand. But the soul of nobody knows where the parson goes." I heard of a woman who was convinced to become a devout follower and she left our wonderful land to join those religious folks. And nobody has heard from her since. Where did the priest and his congregation take her? I don't know. Is she still as happy as she once was? We don't know.
    sadchildon July 30, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationCat Stevens is referring to threats from philosophical and religious ideas. These are the longer boats that will invade your life and take over. Belief in extraterrestrials, for example, is kind of longer boat that has, in modern times, been responsible for ruined lives and even death.

    The gods (lower case), are the beliefs that we hold about what will save us in this life (and the next). Stevens is saying that it would be better to have a real representation of God's handiwork in our lives and to appreciate the mystery of creation than to worship some false image created by man.

    The parson represents one set of beliefs. While everyone makes choices to follow someone, people are fallible. Who knows where the parson goes? Be careful who you "drop your pants" for i.e. what belief system you adopt, because it's possible to end up in a very confused state, carried away by the longer boats.
    bmatichukon October 30, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI have heard that this song makes reference to Greek mythology, which seems quite plausible in the lyrics. The boats represent the boaths used to carry the souls over the river Styx in the afterlife. Also interesting is that the pilots of these boats are called Tillermen. The flower represents innocence, possibly as do Mary and the parson; although they may also be "committing the original sin."

    For more on this, check out this site:
    ctdunstanon June 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStevens has actually been quoted as saying that this song is about UFOs, and he wrote it after he was abducted while lying on a hillside one evening. I suppose that gives you a rough idea of the kind of drugs this guy was taking at the time.
    ajjm6286on August 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout the UFO-thing: Stevens have since stated on his Yusuf site that the UFO-comment was simply a lie to create publicity nothing more nothijng less this song is about something else. What ctdunstan sais makes sense imo.
    Bobaon March 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song Longer Boats is about going from this life to the next. We all have a coffin coming...longer boats. 'Hold on to the shore, or they'll be taking the key from the door.'

    mark112081on January 12, 2015   Link
  • -2
    General Comment"ajjm6286": Go fuck yourself because you are an asshole, Cat said that he wrote this song about UFO's, but he DIDN'T say that he was abducted by them, and he never took drugs, you are a stupid idiot
    Cat Stevenson April 21, 2007   Link

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