"Enchanting Ghost" as written by and Sufjan Stevens....
Tell me what you saw in me
And I'll try to replicate it with a scene
If it troubles you to breathe
Wait a moment; I could change the scenery

Don't carry on carrying efforts, oh no, oh oh oh oh
Somewhere there's a room for each of us to grow
And if it pleases you to leave me, just go, oh oh oh oh
Stopping you would stifle your enchanting ghost

It's only that I meant to bring
Love and liveliness to your breast on the scene
Did you cut your hands on me?
Are my edges sharp? Am I a pest to feed?

Don't carry on carrying regrets, oh no, oh oh oh
Somewhere there's a room for us to speak alone
And if it grieves you to stay here, just go, oh oh oh oh
For I have no spell on you, it's all a ghost

I still have the things you gave me
Four anointing oils, the paper weight you made
For sure I haven't carried them
Or buried them in the name of your ghost, my friend

Don't carry on carrying efforts
Don't go! No oh oh oh
Stay with me until I sleep within your host
Or if it pleases you to leave me, just go, oh oh oh oh
Stopping you would stifle your enchanting ghost

Lyrics submitted by lesea

"Enchanting Ghost" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Enchanting Ghost song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentIt appears, on first and subsequent listens that this narrator tries to rekindle what was once there. Perhaps trying to be again what he once was. However, the object of his affections wants to progress, move forward. And Sufjan's use of "scenery" like a play, seems to indicate that he is staging things. Showing her a false image of himself. Therefore if it suffocates her, he tells her he'll recast it. Change things but not reveal the truth of things.

    However, the refrain seems to indicate that he's aware that she is going to leave and he in fact encourages it. Perhaps seeing in her a ghost, a remembrance of things that once were. Also, it goes into the dichotomy of him trying to build something and her wishing for momentum.

    In the second verse we find him again as the carpenter, the carrier. Him wanting to bring love and liveliness. However, his edges (the rough aspects of his personality) are too sharp for her. He in himself brings is the poison to the cure he wishes to provide. A pest who wishes to be something else.

    In the second refrain we have him once again dueling with his desires. At once wishing to bring her happiness, love but also realizing that he has no power over her own desires. And that's what was so enchanting, her breeziness. Once again, we have a room for them to speak alone, akin to the scene of the past he'd rebuild but they both grieve/suffocate her. It's like the saying "If it's meant to be, release it and it will come back to you".

    He then goes on to talk of the keepsakes, the four anointing oils and interestingly a paper weight. First, the anointing oils goes back to Christianity, also her enchanting ghost has a vague parallel to the Holy Ghost, God's agent of grace. Perhaps he views her as his grace? Also, the paperweight is meant to keep things in place. To make sure papers stay secure. And, oils once exposed evaporate and disappear. Again with two dueling impulses. One that keeps things in place. One, a fragrance that is wonderful but vanishes.
    We also have him telling her that he hasn't carried them. But his bringing them up signifies importance. He hasn't buried/discarded them in the name of love lost. I think this ties in nicely with the last refrain.

    In the last refrain we have him for the first time telling her not to go. Don't leave. He wants to feel again that spirit he adores. Wants to get as close as he can by laying down to rest next to the host. This also goes to Sufjan's previous song "Vito's Ordination Song" with the lines, "Rest in my arms, sleep in my bed." That being a more spiritual song than this but an allusion or call-back to that same desire of wanderers. The desire to find home, closeness. But then we have him coming back to his senses and telling her to go if she wishes. Because, at heart, he understands that she is like the oils, the relationship anointed and lovely but ultimately vanishing.
    darkteapoton September 16, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWe all bring our own subconscious out in our interpretation of songs. When I listen to this song I hear someone so obsessively in love (borderline idolization) that they see themselves as completely inadequate, paling in comparison to their love. The feeling of inadequacy is so strong they're convinced that their lover is better off without them.
    bawstonfanon March 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so deeply in touch with me right now I can't explain it...
    amahduy7on March 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite track off the new EP, it's just incredibly beautiful, really reminds me of Seven Swans era Sufjan. It seems to be a love song, with a very interesting ghost metaphor.
    frontman17on August 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would agree with Frontman17, seems to be a "love" song, which Sufjan doesn't tend to write about so directly. I like the feeling of the song especially the subtle sense of resentment towards the lover in the lyrics.

    I've also noticed the use of breast in several of his latest songs, I wonder....
    VelvetNoiseon August 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love finding songs that fit my current situations perfectly. This song seems to represent a relationship in which one has grown tired of the other.
    DrakelikesNachoson August 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I missed this style of sufjan!

    I like the line "Stay with me until I sleep within your host". We bring past relationships into current ones.
    stmogilnyon September 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentloveeee this.
    but i think it's stay with me until I sleep within your HOUSE
    rupptizzleon September 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdarkteapot: Nice analysis, I totally agree. I like what you said about the keepsakes.

    I think he also expresses how they're at different stages of maturity, both mentally and spiritually. Because of this he feels rather dependent on her, but he realizes he can't hold her back any longer so he gives her the choice. This is the most painful part of relationships for both parties involved.
    rocknrollgirl47on October 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionThis entire EP just rattles my bones to my core. (As Sufjan tends to do, always.) This song -- along with The Owl & The Tanager -- speak to me in multitudes. I feel they were written to live in both my heart and my soul. His melancholy themes, honest lyrics, and soft vocal tones with a haunting falsetto have always appealed to me greatly. This is the kind of music I would make if I could make it. (I am instead left to admire music from both afar and down to the tiny details; I'm a music journalist.) Instead, I will just sing with this EP and continue to love every second of it.

    While I love this entire song, from every word to its acoustic guitar and gentle piano, my favorite lyric is this one: "If it troubles you to breathe, wait a moment; I could change the scenery."
    AshleyJayneon December 25, 2010   Link

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