"Messiah Ward" as written by and Martyn Casey Jim Sclavunos....
I hope you're sitting comfortably
I saved you the best seat in the house
Right up in the front row
The stars have been torn down
The moon is locked away
And the land is banked in frozen snow

You are a forte of nature, dear
Your breath curls from your lips
As the trees bend down their branches
And touch you with their fingertips
They're bringing out the dead now
It's easy just to look away
They are bringing out the dead now
It's been a strange, strange day

We could navigate out position by the stars
But they've taken out the stars
The stars have all gone
I'm glad you've come along
We could comprehend our
condition by the moon
But they've ordered the the moon not to shine
Still, I 'm glad you've come along
I was worried out of my mind
Cause, they keep bringing out the dead
It's easy just to look away
They're bringing out the dead, now
And it's been a long, strange day

You can move up a little closer
I will throw a blanket over
We can weigh all the tears in one hand
Against the laughter in the other
We could be hanging around here for centuries
Trying to make sense of this, my dear
While the planets try to get organised
Way above the stratosphere
But they keep bringing out the dead, now
It's easy if we just walk away
They keep bringing out the dead, now
It's been a long, long day

Look away
Look away


Lyrics submitted by littleRoom

Messiah Ward song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentHm. This song is a bit tricky. Armchair literary analysis time!

    Title - "Messiah Ward". My first thought was that this might be a poetic name for the psychiatric ward of a hospital - the ward for the self-proclaimed messiahs. Perhaps either the song's narrator or the listener is a patient in a mental institution or is otherwise imprisoned. This isn't definite, but I'll use this as one possible line of interpretation as I go through the lyrics.

    First verse - The lines, "I hope you're sitting comfortably / I saved you the best seat in the house / Right up in the front row" are somewhat ambiguous. One could think of a variety of contexts for these lines. For example, these could be delivered ironically by the narrator (assuming they are incarcerated somewhere) to a visitor, making a joke about the conditions of the visit or their relative positions as spectacle (the patient) and audience (the visitor and the outside world in general). These could also be addressed to an absent person: "I hope you're sitting comfortably [wherever you are]". A third alternative is that both the narrator and the listener are part of the figurative audience for something else...
    The next lines seem intended to convey a sense of bleakness and sadness: "The stars have been torn down / The moon is locked away / And the land is banked in frozen snow". This is a common literary device - the emotional landscape of the story is reflected in the description of the physical landscape. Also there is a suggestion of violence or force with phrases like "torn down" and "locked away".

    Second verse - The first lines describe how the narrator sees the listener: "You are a force of nature, dear / And your breath curls from your lips / And the trees bend down their branches / Touch you with their fingertips". The connection to nature could symbolize many things, such as purity, beauty, or unpredictability. The scene is also described in soft or gentle terms - curls of breath, lips, trees bending, fingertips. Perhaps this describes how the woman has a softening effect on the things around her. The next lines, "They're bringing out the dead now / It's so easy to look away / They're bringing out the dead now / It's been a strange, strange day", are repeated several times, suggesting they are connected to the underlying meaning of the song. Perhaps this is the performance for which the narrator and the listener are the audience. "The dead" could refer to literal dead bodies, but more likely it refers to people who have been metaphorically deadened, perhaps by societal forces or maybe by drugs (this could make sense under the mental institution interpretation). This is followed by a comment on people's attitudes - that it's easy to look away from suffering and death if it isn't happening to you, especially when worrying about your own troubles.

    Third verse - The lines, "We could navigate out position by the stars / Yeah, but they've taken out the stars / The stars have all gone / And I'm glad you've come along / We could comprehend our condition by the moon / But they've ordered the the moon not to shine / Still, I'm glad you've come along" suggest that the narrator and the woman are lost somewhere and unable to find there way due to the absence of the moon and the stars. What could these symbolize? Perhaps the moon and the stars represent cultural or religious heros and ideals, which in the past were thought of as fixed guidance for how people should live, but which are now less valued. Alternatively, the absence of moon and stars could indicate a sense of artificiality, e.g. being inside a man-made environment which blocks out the sky above. In any case, the narrator is glad that the woman is with him, even if they are unable to navigate. The line "I was worried out of my mind", followed by the repetition of the chorus lines ("They're bringing out the dead", etc.) suggests that the narrator was afraid that the woman might be numbered among the dead, and is glad that she has instead chosen to join him.

    Fourth verse - The narrator seems to be suggesting that he and the woman take solace in one another's company: "You can move up a little closer / I'll throw a blanket over / We can weigh all the tears up in one hand / Against the laughter in the other". He suggests that it might take too long to try to figure things out otherwise: "We could be hanging round for centuries / Trying to make sense of this, my dear / While the planets try to get organized / Way above the stratosphere". Here the planets may represent those in elevated positions of power. The final repetition of the chorus seems to reiterate this: "But they keep bringing out the dead now / And it's easy if we just walk away / 'Cause they keep bringing out the dead now / And it's been a long, long day". There is a sense of defeat or tiredness - even though the death count keeps rising, it's been a long day and perhaps they should just walk away from it all instead of resisting.
    treanton June 23, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhat's the meaning of this song? Why is it called Messiah Ward? I have no idea.
    He's showing off with some girl with nature force, and because the sky's cloudy and they can't see the moon and stars, and they (branches? something else) bringing out the dead, and so it's easy to walk away or to look away. That's weird. But they definitely had a strange day.
    Or maybe he's a messiah and she's his ward, and they're sitting in first row, weighing the laughs and tears and predict the death of world. Who's know?
    Mittalon April 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionWhat's the meaning of this song? Why is it called Messiah Ward? I have no idea.
    He's showing off with some girl with nature force, and because the sky's cloudy and they can't see the moon and stars, and they (branches? something else) bringing out the dead, and so it's easy to walk away or to look away. That's weird. But they definitely had a strange day.
    Or maybe he's a messiah and she's his ward, and they're sitting in first row, weighing the laughs and tears and predict the death of world. Who's know?
    Mittalon April 06, 2011   Link

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