if you want to come on down
down with your bones so white
and watch the freight trains pound
into the wild, wild night

how i would love to gnaw
gnaw on your bones so white
and watch while the freight trains paw
paw at the wild, wild night

all these ghost towns, wreathed in old loam
assateague knee-deep in seafoam
ho swansea! buttonwillow!
lagunitas! ho calico!

and all these beastly bungalows
stare, distend, like endless toads
endlessly hop down the road
borne by wind, we southward blow

and yonder, wild and blue
the wild blue yonder looms
till we are wracked with rheum
by roads, by songs entombed

and all we want to do
is chew, and chew, and chew!
dear one, drive on
when all we want to do
is chew, and chew, and chew

and if you want to come on down
down with your bones so white
watch while the freight trains pound
into the wild, wild night

how i would love to gnaw
to gnaw on your bones so white
and watch while the freight trains paw
paw at the wild, wild night


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Swansea song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentDylan Thomas was from Swansea
    The_Rebourson December 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe "chew and chew and chew" alludes to the old sound children give to a train's whistle and sound, while attached still to the image of the bone. I've only just heard the song for the first time, forgive that simplicity. I find it beautiful regardless.
    Bearpawon March 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI get the story of these two young friends in their hometown with it's toad-ugly houses and traintrack out-of-town sharing a last night together before they go off into the rest of their lives. When life is really just the struggle for the next thing you're going to feed your face with (chew-chew, choo-choo!) out in the wild blue yonder of adulthood until you run your body down, they're kind of making a pact or something to drive on and...do something? And of course the town and area where you grow up always turns into a ghostown for you... or you become the walkinghost. either way, nostalgia
    Drewhmon January 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEchoes of Sadie.
    _ellieon May 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSwansea is a place in Wales.
    bemyenemyon February 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis whole album makes me sob. its so so so beautiful.
    spaceyheadcaseon July 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey, samshipstone, very nice reasoning on the journey idea! I am with you on this.
    But I guess there's something underneath the journey, the gnawing white bones, watching the freight trains, chewing, is about memories of Sadie (her dog). I am afraid that some of her songs, entirely or part of them, are not understandable at all. They are very personal memories translated to a lyrical expression, so they are so cryptic that even for her they are symbols.

    In my opinion, though I do love the ethereal way she makes scenarios, sometimes I regret the lack of clarity. I know many songs as ingenious as hers but clear. To me, that is how ingenious art is, sophisticated, but clear.
    Unless she is just trying to create an atmosphere, than the meaning doesn't really matter. But then, it is a pity to waste so many beautiful words in something meaningless for the listener.
    nbriion September 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHi, just in response to nbril, i thought Sadie was about her dog, but I guess not any more. I just read this, the link is below.

    "After the performance of "Ys," Newsom returned for another solo stint, this time warming up a bit more to the crowd by setting the record straight. She revealed that the song "Sadie" was not about her dog but instead about a loved one who passed on."

    hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film/reviews/…

    Really nice interpretations though, I think we all agree on the absolute magnificence of this song.
    Richard
    Assateagueon February 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHi, another response to nibril's comment: While I am also frustrated sometimes frustrated by the lack of clear-cut or obvious meaning in Joanna's songs, I don't think this results in "something meaningless for the listener". I think this allows her songs to have even more specific meaning to each person who listens to them. While I can't know for sure what Ms. Newsom was referring to when she wrote "yonder wild and blue, the wild blue yonder looms", these words have a very deep and specific significance to me, a meaning I would never hope or even want to be able to explain. If I were to find out that Joanna was thinking of something completely different regarding those lyrics, it wouldn't make those words any less meaningful to me.

    I have also always thought that Sadie was about her dog, at the same time knowing that it was about much more, about some of the deepest paradoxes of being human. Knowing that she wasn't writing about her dog at all doesn't mean the song has any less meaning to me. The deeper significance of the lyrics remains intact, and I think the fact that that significance comes across whether we think she is talking about a dog or a dear friend is a testament to her genius.

    So, I wouldn't look at lack of clarity in Joanna's lyrics as a drawback, but as proof of her talent.
    davyandersonon February 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJjourney and loss of definitive destination.
    mtiacon May 25, 2007   Link

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