"Pacing The Cage" as written by and Bruce Cockburn....
sunset is an angel weeping
holding out a bloody sword
no matter how i squint, i cannot
make out what it's pointing toward
sometimes you feel like you've lived too long
days drip slowly on the page
you catch yourself pacing the cage

i've proven who i am so many times
the magnetic strip's worn thin
and each time i was someone else
and everyone was taken in
powers chatter in high places
stir up eddies in the dust of rage
set me to pacing the cage

i never knew what you all wanted
so i gave you everything
all that i could pillage
all the spells that i could sing
it's as if the thing were written
in the constitution of the age
sooner or later, you'll wind up pacing the cage

sometimes the best map will not guide you
and you can't see what's 'round the bend
sometimes the road leads through dark places
sometimes the darkness is your friend
today these eyes scan bleached-out land
for the coming of the outbound stage
...pacing the cage

Lyrics submitted by RPunk13

Pacing The Cage song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentThis was written and originally performed by legendary Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn.
    darnflooron August 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFavorite. Why does no one appreciate this bad like they deserve?
    This is the tale of anyone who has been restless in their lives. They go through the motions and they find themselves changing so they want to change the things around them as well. How some days are longer then others and you'll always find yourself longing for something new 'sooner or later'.

    I went to the zoo and I was listening to this in my headphones when we went to the cougars and one was literally pacing the cage. We stayed there for 15 minutes and he didn't stop for one minute. It made me sad, and understand how melancholy this song really is.

    youkaininja11on June 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is the reflecting upon one's life and contemplation of the end, the anxiousness that accompanies this.
    RonJonon May 01, 2018   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI hear this song as the feelings of a man who is ready to die. "Sunset"is often a metaphor for the end of life, and none of us know what is waiting for us around that bend. He is tired of having to prove himself as a person. I think of all the magnetic stripe cards I own--drivers license, employee ID, credit cards, insurance cards, bank cards etc.--all identifying a part of my life. It often feels like you give your life to everyone else (your spouse, your children, your boss, your employees) so that you have no time to do what makes your heart sing and that frustration eats at you. At the end of it all, you know there is no map, no direction in the darkness, but in spite of the unknown, there is no fear. Instead, you find yourself pacing, anticipating the journey to the other side, carried on the "outbound stage."
    BrenFinnon March 07, 2019   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top