Why burn poor and lonely?
Under a bowl
Or under a lamp shade
Or on the shelf beside the bed
Where at night you lay turning
Like a door on its hinges
First on your left side
Then on your right side
Then on your left side again

Why burn poor and lonely?
Tell all the stones
We're gonna make a building
They'll be cut into shape
And set into place
Or if you'd rather be a window
I'll gladly be the frame
Reflecting any kind words
We'll let in all the blame
And ruin our reputation all the same
So never mind our plan making
We'll start living
Aren't you unbearably sad?
Then why burn so poor and lonely?

We'll be like torches
We'll be like torches
We'll be like torches
We’ll be torches together
Torches together

We'll be like torches
We'll be like torches
With whatever respect
Our tattered dignity demands
Torches together
Hand in hand

Why pluck one string?
What good is just one note?
Oh one string sounds fine I guess
But we were once one note
We weren’t lonely wheat
Quietly ground into grain
One light and momentary pain
So why the safe distance?
This curious look
Why tear out single pages,
When you can throw away the book?
Why pluck one string when you can
Strum the guitar?
Strum the guitar
Strum the guitar
Strum the guitar
With no beginning
With no end
Take down the guitar
And strum the guitar
Strum the guitar if you’re afraid
And I’m afraid
And everyone’s afraid
And everyone knows it
But we don’t have to be afraid

You played the flute
But no one was dancing
You sang a sad song
But none of us cried

You played the flute
But no one was dancing
And you sang a sad song
You sang such a sad song

Lyrics submitted by jaycar2a

Torches Together song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentNoLightToSeeBy...
    No, it's not dangerous. Aaron is a friend of mine and a fellow member of my church, and he taught my friends and I all about the fine art of dumpster-diving. :) He goes to Trader Joe's, Dunkin' Donuts, etc., right after they close at night, and gets the stuff at the top of the trash can that was just thrown away. It's all in bags, still packaged, and a lot of it is still cold or frozen. The flowers he uses at his shows are from the dumpster, too. You wouldn't believe what gets thrown away...it's such a waste. And yes, Aaron is a very cool guy. The band is recording right now...and we sure miss them in Philly.
    jerseygal21on March 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is asking 'why live a safe but lonely and disconnected life?' It's about being too afraid to truly live your life, so you spend your time making plans instead of actually doing what makes you happy. Also feeling too anxious to connect with people, so you keep them at a safe distance. "Why burn poor and lonely? Under a bowl Or under a lamp shade" basically means "Why hide your true self because you're afraid of people who don't approve?" The point is that you don't have to be alone and afraid.

    It's possible to be happy without giving in to the pressure of society to find a wife, have kids, be a productive worker bee and mindless consumer and everything else the media tells us we need to be happy. It seems like Aaron is trying to convince someone to free themselves from the bullshit pressures that are making them unhappy, and asking them to just 'burn' (live) free and open with him. Torches together, hand in hand.
    earthmoveron March 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow.
    Kabala33on October 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a great song, but for some reason when he yells "strum the guitar" it kinda bugs me, i don't really knowwhy. but i am addicted to this song and this cd...wonderful
    punkrockchick217on October 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite part is when he first yells "strum the guitar"
    idontknowon October 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, i take it back, that line doesn't bug me, it just seems akward when he repeats it
    punkrockchick217on October 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalone we are week but together we are unstoppable!
    this is a battle cry and i love it!'

    "And I’m afraid And everyone’s afraid And everyone knows it But we don’t have to be afraid Anymore"...truth, truth he speaks!
    Heldupbygraceon October 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was doing some reading and I found out what the light under a bowl means.

    Matthew 5:14-16
    "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

    Its not exactly what it says but it seems to be where he got it from.

    ALSO these:

    Mark 4:21-25
    Luke 8:16-18
    Luke 11:33-36
    jaycar2aon November 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood verses jaycar2a. mewithoutYou is a Christian band, I don't know who all knew that. I have found other verses that match with some of their songs (the grasshopper line in January 1979). Good song.
    amishmanon December 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh I love this song... i had a friend eat out with this band at Taco Bell after their Dallas show and I found out that Aaron Weiss, lead singer, only eats out of the trash because we waste so much in America. Makes me love this band even more... anyway, on a more related note, I love the lines:
    "Or if you'd rather be a window
    I'll gladly be the frame
    Reflecting any kind words
    We'll let in all the blame
    And ruin our reputation all the same"
    I think Christians place too much emphasis on what people think of us. "be above reproach" is the common term which substitutes for reputation. Being above reproach is not people thinking your super dooper, its actually being blameless, seeking God's will. In the process you may or may not gain a bad reputation. But is a bad reputation in the world's eyes a bad thing? Seems counter culture to me. Jesus had an absolutely horrible reputation with the people "who mattered" at the time.

    I see this song as kind of a prophetical warning against the disunity in the church. "Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar"? If we could put aside our denominational differences and actually become ONE body as the Bible dictates, God could use us SO much more, but we wallow in our differences and create mini bodies instead.
    UnnecessaryOpinionon December 14, 2004   Link

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