And the winter moves about Illinois
When my sister picks a fight with the Alexander boy
And my father locks the car by the store
Still we figure out the keys and follow him once more

Oh my God, we see it on the floor
The woman on the bed the ankle brace she wore
Stones and sled it could have been some other
The mind that knows itself has a mind to serve the other
And we run back scratching at the door, scratching at the door

If I'm hiding in the sleeves of my coat
When my father runs undressed, he's pointing at my throat
And my brother has a fit in the snow
And the traffic stops for miles, we take him by the elbow

Oh my God, the shuffling at the floor
(Oh my God)
A mind that knows itself is a mind that knows much more
(No one came to our side)
So we run back, scrambling for cover
(To carry us away from danger)
A mind that knows itself has a mind to kill the other
(Oh my God, no one came to our side)

Oh my God, he left us now for dead
(Oh my God)
He left us now for dead

Lyrics submitted by musicforlife!

"The Mistress Witch from McClure (Or, The Mind That Knows Itself)" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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The Mistress Witch from McClure (Or, the Mind That Knows Itself) song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think most people are right- the song is about an affair, or at least walking in on their dad with a woman besides their mom. I just want to take the metaphors a little further.

    The car represents innocence/ignorance. The kids "figure out the keys" after their father locks them in the car. After walking into the bedroom, they run back out to the car and scratch at the door. They cannot go back to "innocence" now that they know the truth. "A mind that knows itself is a mind that knows much more." The narrator names two different paths for a mind that knows itself: it can serve or kill others. And it seems like their father "killed" them in a way: "he left us now for dead."

    Honestly, I can see the older brother having the fit. An older sibling may take it harder than the younger ones because he understands more what it means. Children might just be confused.

    I like the metaphorical interpretation of the traffic stopping representing his sorrow.

    areyousleeping760on November 06, 2009   Link

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