Once upon a time there was a garden on a high hill
Green and blossomin' round against the sea
And there the sun came and the rain pourin' down
Garden grew and flourished and splattered bits of color on the ground
And it took shape and symmetry and all of life around
But there came winds driven and howling
There came snow and I feared for the garden
So I built a wall and I built another and roofed it over thick and strong
And kept it from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
The killing cold could not get in
But when the sun came and the gentle rain of spring
They could not reach the garden behind those walls
It would have died, safely, securely, died
But as I longed and as I learned I tore the walls all down
The garden still lives

Lyrics submitted by planetearth

Mind Gardens Lyrics as written by David Van Cortlandt Crosby


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  • 0
    General CommentI know exactly what this song is about (at least to me) because it's about the exact same thing that happened to me. The garden in the song is symbolic. It seems to represent the narrator of this story. The song's title seems to indicate that the garden is specifically his mind. However, I am more inclined to believe it represents the part of him that is able to give and receive love and feelings...his heart, you could say. But that's just because that's the side of it I identify more with.

    So he goes on to describe the garden, his mind (or you could say his heart - it's actually more or less the same here), and how it flourished and thrived in the sun. I think that describes the good times in his life, when everything is good and he's happy all the time. But then winds come and threaten to destroy his garden. I take this to mean that bad things happen in his life, and they threaten to destroy his "garden" because with the bad times come sad times for him, and he is no longer as happy, emotionally speaking, as he once was. The wall that he builds represents his way of dealing with these bad times. Because he feels as though he is being hurt emotionally, he builds an emotional wall of non-feeling. He tries to protect himself from having hurt feelings by not feeling. But instead of protecting his mind garden, it ends up almost destroying it when times are good again. He almost loses the ability to feel and have friendships ("it would have died"), but he decides that the risk of being hurt again is not as great as the desire for friendship, so he tears down the wall. The garden still lives.

    Why do I think the song's about that? Well, because that happened to me. When I was 12 (I am almost 15 now), I became depressed because of bad school situations. It took me a year to finally overcome my depression. But during that time, I built a similar "wall" around my own "mind garden". Because other people had caused my depression (or so I perceived; really, I'm just predispositioned towards depression), I figured that keeping myself out of friendships would solve the problem. But it didn't, so I just got sadder. Finally I tore down my own wall, and my garden still lives.

    When interpreted that way, it actually is very remniscent of Pink Floyd's album "The Wall" (in which case, what Pink Floyd takes a double album to tell, the Byrds could accomplish in one short song).

    I have no clue if that's really what the song means. To me, it seems unquestionably to follow my interpretation, but that's just how I see it. I apologize for boring everybody with my life story in the third paragraph. But that's just the way I see it. At any rate, I can tell that the song's mind garden, whatever it is, seems to be a very positive, natural, living thing that dies with too much protection. But in the end, the garden still lives.
    Pippin the Mercuryon February 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA piece of psychedelic philosophizing complete with Shakespearean references.
    rosiekzon May 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIt is about over sheltering someone who is loved.
    Sumflowon December 08, 2011   Link

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