feed the kittens in the kitchen
set food out for the strays
try hard to do your best
the magpie will have his way

fill your mouth with berries
by the full light of the moon
work all night if you have to
the magpie comes at noon

shore up the crucifixes
above the archways and the doors
the magpie will come at midday
and you will go down on all fours

and when the cherries ripe with blossoms
be ready and be brave
and remember what we had here
when there was something left to save


Lyrics submitted by fuckedupdog

Magpie song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentLike most of the songs on this album, it reminds me of when I was a teenager living with an abusive stepfather. My mom, brother, and I would take any chance to do things together, just the three of us, without him. We savored those hours. And then he would come home, and we'd all freeze up, hoping not to do anything to set him off. But those times when it was just us, that was something worth saving.
    Cossette729on August 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMagpies can be destructive towards other birds, but they are fiercely protective of their own. Magpies like to steal shiny objects (shiny, good, pretty things). Metaphorical magpies are baddies, real magpies are just doing what is necessary to survive and are niether good nor evil.
    Southerneron August 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe he and his family would try to get everything perfect and orderly before his step dad came home, to try to avoid angering him. Maybe it never really worked.
    britinaon February 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song got me interested in the bird. magpies are really pretty. and cool. and any song with cats in it is badass.
    fuckedupdogon April 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis makes me think about when my mom, sister and I tried to make everything seem O.K. when the social woker came to check up on the family.

    Being the subject of the ablum...its just a thought.
    RedLeafon December 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I get what this song means to the artist, especially in context of the whole album. This is really one of those few songs on the album that you can relate to your own life (most of them very explicitly deal with his step father), but this song the magpie can represent any negative force in your life you try to avoid or opress. Don't get me wrong about this album though, it is brilliant.
    LeslieAnnLevineon February 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song... wow.
    i haven't fully decoded the symobolism (in fact, I've barely started), but it seems clear that the magpie is a symbol of domestic chaos/unrest. Lots on images of domesticity are present: kittens and strays, crucifixes, etc.
    Quick and dirty read: the magpie is the irrestible force of destruction that has set up the singer's home/relationship. try as he might, he cannot escape the harm that is looming. "The magpie will have it's way."

    I agree with LeslieAnnLevine (good song too): This song is brilliant.
    Mr.Meon March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmagpies are actually pretty evil.. they will steal eggs from other birds and eat them
    moeyoldboldon July 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn Western Europe magpie was considered a bad omen, harbinger of misfortune. In the UK magpie belonged to the birds of worship and prophetic. In Ireland it was believed that magpies knocking on the window warns of impending death. In Scotland, the north of Britain to kill magpies meant imminent end of life for the offender.
    *From Polish Glossary of symbols.
    barciqon March 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think it more has something to do with the magpie being death, and all the preparation and fear that comes with it. Its always coming and you can't really do anything about it, but you know its coming and the the worst part of it. The part with the crucifixes kinda mean that you can be praying, and asking for help, but in the end you just give into death, and you bow down, because there is nothing left to do.
    xthereseeeeon January 26, 2015   Link

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