I slept all day
awoke with distaste
and I railed,
and I raved

That the difference between
the sprout and the bean
is a golden ring,
it is a twisted string.
And you can ask the counsellor;
you can ask the king;
and they'll say the same thing;
and it's a funny thing:

Should we go outside?
Should we go outside?
Should we break some bread?
Are y'interested?

And as I said,
I slept as though dead
dreaming seamless dreams of lead.

When you go away,
I am big-boned and fey
in the dust of the day,
in the dirt of the day.

and Danger! Danger! Drawing near them was a white coat,
and Danger! Danger! drawing near them was a broad boat,
And the water! water! running clear beneath a white throat,
and the hollow chatter of the talking of the Tadpoles,

who know th'outside!
Should we go outside?
Should we break some bread?
Are y'interested?


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Sprout and the Bean song meanings
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88 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentjust wanted to mention that twisted string string could be the double helix of dna. like a twisted string, going with the whole abortion/new life /child thing. whatever.
    floydeyeon January 24, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI don't believe this is about abortion at all.
    This is talking about her love of nature and her distaste for school and other such institutions.

    She talks about how little things like a sprout and a bean can be fascinating and just how beautiful nature is. School and things were just always a bore thats why she slept as though dead. When she was forced to be inside all the time like in school life seemed boring and pointless.

    I think the white coats is just referring to the plastic bubble like world some of us live in. Where everything is disinfected and unnatural. The white coats put order and rules to everything but in nature we are all free.

    This line is talking about how if you ask for advice everyone will agree to just go outside and free yourself from the madness of a materialistic world.
    "And you can ask the counsellor;
    you can ask the king;
    and they'll say the same thing;
    and it's a funny thing:

    Should we go outside?
    Should we go outside?"
    katie123on April 08, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI like the pregnancy idea a lot.

    BUT...

    I can't believe no one has mentioned GREGOR MENDEL.

    (sprout and the bean = pea experiments, it is a twisted string = DNA)
    yibbittaon September 30, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentdanger, danger. . . I've the worst crush on ms. newsom.
    thomas doyleon November 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentshe is attractive in her own unique way!
    EL BASTARDDOon December 23, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe "golden ring and twisted string" seem to be a reference to marriage.

    twisted string=tied knot
    peruviannubianon February 07, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentluvs_kitties... She's definitely a very spiritual sort of girl, but not a Christian or particular religion as far as I know. Reading a lot of interviews, biographies and her songs, she seems like someone who's searching, who finds an intense spiritual connection with nature and kind of mystical archaic things, but won't be tied down to an institution kind of thing. Some of the themes in her songs aren't . Nonetheless, Christianity seems to be something that fascinates her in a number of different ways, and she really does refer to it so much. Even things like "the bread broke", "take this, and eat this", the reference to the Pharisees and Pharoah, and so many subtle things like that, show that she knows these things pretty well. Sounds like a Sunday School upbringing, or just her literary curiosity, or other experiences, maybe...

    The reference to Cair Paravel? I think that's just the idea of something rich and amazing--a whole world, and a majestic kingdom--being found in something as small as a wardrobe. The fantasy and children's literature element probably appeals to her too. "A thimblesworth of milkymoon can touch hearts larger than a thimble..." Personally, I don't think that song is as innocent as it seems. Reminds me a lot of 'The Good-Morrow' and such things--and in light of a lot of her other work, that wouldn't surprise me. But I could be wrong.

    And yes, there are lots of references to God in her songs. I think part of it must have to do with memories of her upbringing, the beliefs of friends she's had, personal things like that. Part of it is just the poetic technique of religious imagery implying that something is sacred to her. And part of it seems to be just an emotional kind of thing, someone to call out to in apostrophe when things ache--"Down in a ditch where I nearly served you; up in the clouds where he almost heard you..."

    Often she seems to play with some of Camus' ideas of uncertainty and even absurdity, and trying to find meaning in that; and yet still grapples with the fact that she does have such a deep spiritual awareness, and is someone who seeks truth but not conformity...

    But I don't know. I don't know her personally, and I've only seen her once. She just seems like a sweet, beautiful, and incredibly clever young woman...

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    Anneliseon June 05, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentactually i really think this song it's about marriage/being married, and how she thinks that being married it's being complete or at least grow up, i suposse that from a particular verse.


    That the difference between
    the sprout and the bean
    is a golden ring,
    it is a twisted string.

    A Sprout it's something that it's already growing to get old, and the golden ring along with the twisted string are things that people do in traditional marriage ceremonies.
    backyardson April 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI see a separation of not living from dead, but of those with potential to live, those that have seized that potential, those that live.

    what has the potential to live = beans
    what has seized that potential but hasn't planted = sprouts
    what is living = tadpoles

    i have a feeling all of the above are persons and people never fully become. we are always in process of becoming.

    the one's that have actual names point me towards those that do not change and exist i

    God and Jesus. The king, and the one who councils those that come to being.

    I believe she identifies herself as a bean that wants to be a sprout. i found it interesting that she uses the process of growing as farming is one of the few professions that so directly involves both God and man.


    so the first verse is her frustration in seeing the difference between potential and action and the intrapersonal difficulty.

    the second verse is about the enormous amount of hope for what might happen and is ready for whatever outcome there is to be.

    the second prechorus is tricky. it seems we have a rower in white as she is bean in a lake amongst tadpoles. again, we have God and the voice of God (white coat, white throat, white being a pure color, or maybe the rower is less defined but is interpreted as God) and we have the talking of the tadpoles. the voices of all of these pull you in directions that can confuse you and frustrate you but still these are only held in the mind, the imagination.

    What is needed is a simple question to the love interest of "should we go outside and break some bread?" Outside just means to seize reality and to step into what is tangible rather than theoretical.

    I do resonate with the idea of the bread being almost sacramental communion. Like how we are intentionally involved with those we commune with, the singer is asking the other to join in a relationship that has the body of Christ to initiate it.
    jomarkon February 09, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGod, I love this song. It sounds like taking a nap by an open window in summer. It sounds like things growing up under the soil. It's rich with the author's obsession with fecundity and fertility, and the questions raised by fecundity and fertility, but I'm not sure it's all about the single example of fecundity everyone always leaps to! I like how it's also got such a rich element of childishness.

    Here is what I think of when I hear this song: I think of the kind of days where you're just done with other people and you stay inside by your window feeling grumpy and unwilling to leave the house and also peaceful and alone and happy to be alone.
    purpleshoeson April 21, 2010   Link

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