"You Are the Rake" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
We are a servant,
We have a song,
The side of a beehive,
A tabernacle choir.

We are the sound
Working in wars,
The bishop is gone
To the acolyte shores.

We save our bibles,
We pull our sleeves.
The word is a guard
And the guard is a cleave.

We are the right,
We are the stay,
The accolade's gone,
We are what you say.

We have no language,
We have no chore,
The side of a beehive,
The bride is a whore.

We are a spite,
We are at bay,
The spirit is life,
We are what you say.

We have a sermon,
We have a song,
The bishop is easy,
The bishop is wrong.

The spirit is right,
The spirit will say:
We are a light,
We are what you say.


Lyrics submitted by WoodenPirate

"We Are What You Say" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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You Are the Rake song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI like this song, but I can't figure out what he means by "You arer the on when I watch myself."
    Anyone have any ideas?
    Tristeon October 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard it made me think that he meant that she makes him a better man. That when nobody is around, she is the one that keeps him from doing wrong. That he watches himself because of her, and abstains from doing bad things because he doesn't want to dissapoint or hurt her.
    JWilcoon November 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmaybe it has something to do with how love is about trying to be another person, and we try so hard to do that, and we just can't, but we still have to try.
    theoryofevrythngon January 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is kind of random.

    But in the movie Garden State, Zach Braff's character says a line very similiar to the first line of this song...and since this came out way before Garden State and Zach is a fan of Sufjan's music, I thought this song might have sort of inspired that line (maybe not consciously?)
    fivergirlon February 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me, he's saying that he feels really comfortable and safe with her... she's his "rock" (foundation), what makes him happy, the one he depends on, and the one who keeps him going day after day. she also makes him watch himself and try to be a better person for her.

    it's beautiful...i'm not sure what 'the significance of 'rake' is in this song though. unless she sort of rakes out the ugly things from his life and makes him a better person all-around. ...?
    angelacherixoxoon August 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"You are the one when I watch myself"
    That is probably my favorite line.
    I think it's very down to earth and easy to relate to.
    Yankeeeon August 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGiven the strong Christian theme to most of Sufjan's music I'd say that it's not a woman he's talking about, but God.

    Even so, all of the previous interpretations still fit exceptionally well.
    TriangleManon October 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think your lyrics are a little off. I thought he was saying, "We ran into a safe. When the walls came closer." It's kind of hard to understand in the song though.
    Since he said, "A line I once told her." I get the idea that he wasn't completely genuine with his heart's feelings and more so with his body's even if it wasn't intentional at the time. I think maybe when he says, "You are the rock. You are the rake. You are the one when I watch myself." he is saying it his head to remind himself of his relationship with God.
    (Don't whine to me about not accepting God ever. He's a christian and it shows up consistently in his writing.)
    When he says, "We ran into a safe when the walls came closer." perhaps he means that the he and the girl put themselves under God's conviction when they were relying too well on the wants of their flesh.
    So maybe when he says, "She turned into a cave where it turned colder." He means that without the "warm resting place" of their physical connection she became mysterious or alien and dark. Somewhere that he would get lost trying to understand.
    It is such a vague song. Like a broken memory attached to very personal symbolism. I admit, though, that I could be 100% wrong.
    Cuyahogaon October 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow embarrassing. I was wrong. Your lyrics are RIGHT! Haha. Sorry.
    Cuyahogaon October 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthats all good feedback to sufjans song..does anyone know what he means by rake?..i know you could say someones a rock and that could be understood relativly easily but a rake??..just wondering.i dont see the metaphor....any feedback is much appreciated
    robg60on October 20, 2008   Link

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