I met a girl on Halloween
When she was lost, and I was drunk
And it was dark and cold out when we left

And as we walked the rain started
The leaves softened with every step
And all around us people slept alone with their dreams

The wind came down from up the planes
And blew the leaves all through the streets
I wondered how far leaves could really fly

Would they rest in suburb yards
Or make it to the city
Or would they end up in the river just to float away

She pointed to a small brick house
And said it was where she grew up
The lights were out, she asked if we could stop for awhile

Her hair was still just getting wet
The water running down her neck
Collecting in the hand print in cement beneath her feet

Apparently there'd been a death
Someone close and nothing left
Because she hadn't left him in the end

I saw her blush when I asked
If she always talked like that
She said it only happened when she drank

And later on I felt her hand
Slipping into my cold fist
She promised me a kiss as soon as we got home

Her costume had begun to tear
She ran ahead and turned to me
Her laughter echoed through the empty streets

Lyrics submitted by lovebite_

Leaves in the River Lyrics as written by Alex Brown Church


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Leaves In The River song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my very favorite pieces by this artist for the simple fact that the melody is so calming, and the words are so poignant and open to many different interpretations. The title of their entire album is "Leaves in the River," so one can gather that this song sums up the rest of the songs on the CD, and indeed it does. Leaves are a common motif throughout the album, many of the song titles including "leaves" in them. This song sums up many of the themes presented in the rest of the album with a seemingly simple anecdote about a late-night intoxicated-walk with some troubled girl on Halloween. One theme that is illuminated in the speaker's musing about where leaves will eventually end up is the fact that no one really knows where they will eventually end up.
    The brick house symbolizes the girl's past and childhood. She has been blown away from it, and now returns to visit. The under-emphasized image of the hand print in cement is meant to tell the audience that she is physically connected to this place which she no longer calls home. The hand print is obviously a remnant of her childhood, something she had done a long time ago when the cement was still wet and house still being built. Her confession of someone close to her dying, leaving her with nothing, because she had refused to leave him when he was dying, is something akin to the dialogues in "A Zoo Story." The confessional tone paired with the seeming ordinariness, and yet absurdity of the situation really reminded me of the play. Jerry divulges his life, and consequently reveals life truths and secrets about himself that he did not mean to reveal. The woman in this song also reveals aspects of her life that uncover more than mere facts and are also open to extensive interpretation. For example, why did her refusal to leave this man (whoever it was) lead to her isolation from everyone else in her life?
    There is so much symbolism in this piece, and yet, my favorite remains the common motif of the leaves. The images of dead leaves blowing away in a late-October wind is common enough to everyone. However, the speaker questions where these leaves will end up. The leaves, of course, symbolize human beings, and their quest for their true path in life. The "suburb yards," "city," or simply landing in the river "just to float away" represent all the different paths one might take in life. In comparing humans to leaves, the speaker also asserts that we are completely helpless to our fate, adopting an Oedipal view of the world.
    The tear in the girls' costume as she runs away laughing represents yet another aspect of human nature. The costume is symbolic for the facade that everyone wears. Her mask is cracking to let in the comforting presence of this new man (notice that she "turned to me"). This budding romance theory is supported by the promise of a "kiss as soon as we got home." The theme to glean from these lines would be that confessions to someone and letting down the mask can be a source of great relief.
    The tone of this piece is nostalgic and detached, which is set by the calm, soft instrumentals as well as by the very soothing singing voice. The diction and words themselves are very common, but carry many connotations with them. There are also many words that connotate a certain hollowness. The streets are empty, the people are asleep, it is raining, cold, dark, and the lights in the house are off. The mood is very somber, nostalgic, and slightly hopeful with the last few lines.
    I really like this piece, not just for the symbolic and metaphorical meanings that I can glean from it, but also for the mood. It has so many meanings on so many different levels, and I discover something new about it everytime I listen. It has many different universal themes that connect to scores of other literary works, and is especially reminiscent of "A Zoo Story" in its character interaction.
    Skettioon January 31, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I die and go to heaven, I hope my entry sounds like the beginning of this song.
    Iseaghoston June 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti'm pretty sure it's: "someone close had nothing left, because she hadn't LOVED him in the end."
    charcoalsketchon July 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe the lyrics in question are "the leaves softened with every step"

    ive listened to this song practically non stop since the cd came out, its definitely my favorite right now, but honestly they're all pretty good.
    pedr0theli0non October 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song.
    palinon November 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree. not a clue as to what it means other than the story told in the song.. meh. very good music nonetheless.
    crowslayer91on December 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the sound of the rain!
    ireallylikebagelson April 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've always liked to think this song is about the narrator meeting a girl who turns out to be a ghost. But that's just the writer in me speaking. (:
    Symphony Marieon January 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    This lyrics and music evoke profound imagery.

    I really like the sound of the rain too!
    leavesintheriveron September 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt is open to many interpretations, of course, and deals with themes common to Sea Wolf tunes such as young love, death, and the loss of innocence. However, after the first couple of listens, it suddenly struck me that this is a ghost story. It's very unlikely that this was unintentional, and hence, whatever else it is, I think this is a deliberate play on the ghost story/mystery, the solution to which is thus: a lonely guy was walking in the rain on Halloween night, met a strange girl, they got to know each other, she showed him the house she was raised (and died) in, they got a little friendly (holding hands and teasing about kisses), then she ran off cackling. Interestingly, the most striking line is the one which breaks the story, and provides the title: He talks about the leaves blowing, and wonders where they go. i.e. where do dead/lost souls go? "Leaves in the River" then, are the leaves which fell off the tree (life) but didn't blow off to the suburbs or city (afterlives), but instead are floating around in the river before they wash away. There are lots of ways to read it, but it would be hard to end up with something like this if it wasn't supposed to be a ghost. Given that she is, you can also read her as a young, lost girl reaching out for love/protection, and that's just another layer of the total onion.
    invisispideron July 01, 2011   Link

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