"The Water" as written by and Brendan Canning Leslie Feist....
The telegraph cables hung
The few can decipher who the message is from
And delivering quietly
'Cause some don't get much company

The harbor becomes the sea
And light in the house keeps it collision free
Understand the lay of the land
Don't let it hurt you
Or it will be the first to

The water
The water didn't realize
It's dangerous size
The mountain
The mountain came to recognize
It's deep and rocky sides
More than realized

I'm pale as a pile of bones
You hope for your babies and this is how they grow
With batters knocked over
The teeth bite the shoulder
Watching the gray sky that's acting like a good guy

The water
The water came to realize
It's dangerous size
The mountain
The mountain came to recognize
It's deep and rocky sides
Came to recognize
It's deep and rocky sides
More than realized


Lyrics submitted by lulisinbox, edited by meko13

"The Water" as written by Brendan Canning Leslie Feist

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Water song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOn The Reminder I think she sings:

    The telegraph cables hum
    And few can decipher who the message is from
    And deliver it quietly
    'Cause some don't get much company

    I really love the sea/mountain images because of how dangerous and beautiful the two are together; they're really different but they create something striking

    I'm not sure it's about a relationship so much as the state of life: humans can be lonely and dangerous and desolate. We hope all that we can for our children but they'll spend their days wind-battered and knocked over with their heads folded into their shoulders, looking at the grey sky which is trying to act innocent, like a "good guy".
    Caitoradeon September 17, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song was written about Peggy's Cove in Halifax, NS.
    She told the audience of a show she played here.
    harlownorthon November 23, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI believe that the song is about how mankind is at the mercy of nature.

    The telegraph cables may be a reference to the Trans Atlantic telegraph cable attempts in the 1800s. The attempts worked, but not for very long. Her image of the sea could reinforce the idea that the sea as part of a powerful, isolating force of nature, was too strong to allow the human connection. The motive of the sea may have been jealousy over the human ability to connect, because it "doesn't get much company."

    The water and the mountain did not realize how dangerous they are, isolated and ostracizing.

    Man hopes his children will survive in this world, but nature will crush them until they are a pile of bones. Wind battered, under a grey sky, folded over like a wave. All images of nature.
    Winter Rainon December 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningShe is simply describing a beautiful place. She's illustrating a large and "dangerous", yet magnificent scene. You guys are over thinking it. She made this song somewhat vague intentionally, so people would try to twist and turn the story to fit their imagination. It's pretty genius if you ask me. I remember playing this song over and over on my trip to South America and I was stuck on buses for several hours at a time. But this song for some reason stuck... it just seemed to match with all the beautiful trees, quaint villages, grandiose mountains, etc i was seeing through the window. I'm guessing it matched because in this song she is being pretty much literal.
    Goatsyon May 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti agree with goatsy. sometimes a cigar is just a ciagar. im stuck at my desk and
    i have this in roation , id forgotten how nice it was. sometimes poetry is literal. its a place to project what you are going through. but. so yeah in the song somedays i'm the water, sometimes im the mountain but sometimes, i think about natural disasters and the earth trying to rebalance itself. espically since the oil geyser. i just feel like the earth is bleeding. im sure the oil is neeed i nthe earth for something and im sure that taking some out has a purpose as well. but gratituous blood letting, its so sad. so this song today, is about the earth trying to protect and rebalance itself. remembering its ability to be strong and unpredictible. 'watching the grey skiies acting like the good guys'. the sky remembers it can wrek havoc.
    getchristieloveon June 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful and haunting.
    I agree that it might be less about a relationship and more about life and the human experience in general.

    For example:
    "The harbor becomes the sea."
    A place that's always been safe turns into something much bigger and more open.
    The water and the mountain are metaphors for her learning the harshness of life. ("...It's dangerous size...it's steep and rocky sides...more than realized.")
    pandemoniumcaton July 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that this song could be explaining how sometimes doing nothing in life can cause just as much hurt to people around us. We all have responsibilities to manage our relationships rather than just expect everything to run smoothly with no one at the wheel so to speak! Basically speaking its about maintaining a relationship, long or short distance?
    wintersfellaon August 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThese are the lyrics straight out of Feist website!

    The Water

    The telegraph cables hum
    And few can decipher who the message is from
    And it deliver it quietly
    Cause some don't get much company

    The harbour becomes the sea
    And lighting the house keeps it collision free
    Understand the lay of the land
    And don't let it hurt you
    Or it will be the first to

    The water, the water
    Didn't realize
    It's dangerous size
    The mountain, the mountain
    Came to recognize
    It's a steep and rocky sides
    More than realized

    Pale as a pile of bones
    You hope for your babies
    And this is how they grow
    Wind-battered, knocked over
    The teeth by the shoulder
    Watching the grey sky
    That's acting like a good guy

    The water, the water
    Came to realize
    It's a dangerous size
    The mountain the mountain
    Came to recognize
    It's steep and rocky sides
    Came to recognize
    It's steep and rocky sides
    More than realized
    seventhdragonon March 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is not only about a relationship that has gone terribly wrong and plummeted to the ground. It is also about the faults that both people bring to a relationship and how what is said and done after the relationship ends, can be as painful as the breakup itself. For instance, in the first stanza, Feist sings about how "the telegraph cables hum" meaning that this person continues to contact her without any hope of salvaging the relationship. This means that the conversations that she now has with him are pointless. Also, she sings that "few can decipher who the message is from" meaning that she has no idea who this man is anymore, as he is acting so differently compared to the man he was during the relationship. Finally, in my opinion, the last line of the first stanza is extremely effective as it is very ambiguous. Firstly, it could mean that although the relationship between her and this person has ended, he is still contacting her as a result of the pity that he feels for her. I absolutely love this song. It is refreshing to hear such a pure and beautiful voice.
    Nolightintheskye933on November 14, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about guilt, the depth and breadth of it, the sneaking influence it has, the self-awareness it brings, the private fear that becomes crippling, but, it always starts as something very small, something unsuspicious, some even soothing, like water. But water, though unsuspecting, is dangerously powerful. Especially think "few can decipher who the message is from" is speaking in regards to the quiet whisper of conscience.
    mandybeccaon June 03, 2012   Link

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