"The Peacock" as written by and Zach Condon....
There's an answer for I'm cold again
Back in the sand just like those soldier men
And even once I fell down in the narrow lanes
On the ground I lay
And I would say
Infernal heat can't take the sound in here
Shake the trees see what falls out of them
In a city where nobody hears
A birds call fine fine winter's here again
Calls and sings Berlin, Berlin
Among the camp we're done with him
We'd shoot him down
But then but then
Where should I begin, begin

He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words

He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words
He's the only one who knows the words

Lyrics submitted by Pavmeant

"The Peacock" as written by Zach Condon

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Peacock song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationWhen I first listened to this song, I was struck with the impression of a soldier at war, made bitter by the weather, the war, and the relentless calls of a bird nesting near their camp. He and his fellow soldiers would gladly kill the annoying creature but it represents some form of hope or optimism in a place where there is none, so they let it be; without this horrible bird's song, no one would be singing.

    This song may in part refer to Trench Fever, an unusual disease spread by lice among soldiers living in the squalor of the trenches in the Great War. The condition causes a sudden-onset of fever, severe headaches, giddiness, depression, exhaustion, pronounced muscular soreness & stiffness, and a characteristic shin pain often so severe that patients fell down. The Peacock to whom the title refers, could be Alexander David Peacock, an entomologist in the Royal Army Medical Corps who's research into the condition identified the cause and helped develop methods to control it's spread during the first World War.
    aboweringon January 03, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite song on the album. I wish it was longer, but maybe that's one reason why it's so perfect.

    I'm glad to have found the lyrics here, but I still don't really get a clear meaning from them. He's definitely referencing what seems like WWII again, which I love because it reminds me of his older stuff.

    To me, it seems also like a admit to some kind of defeat, and yet it's beautifully optimistic and hopeful. It also seems like he's talking about reaching out for something or trying to find an answer to lift him out off of the "ground" but he's in "a city where nobody hears."

    He asks the question, "where should I begin, begin?" (Love the repetition on this part) and then ends conclusively with "he's the only one who knows the words." In my mind, I just think of him realizing he's really the only person who can answer his question; he has to find his own solution to his own qualms.

    I think everyone has to deal with the realization that communication only goes so far at some time or another, and an obviously extreme example he uses is a young man sent to war, having to deal with death and being part of a tight-knit group of people who have to leave each other to die to save their own lives.

    I would love to hear other people's interpretations.
    ileavubrethleson July 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI really love this song. It is so short and says very little, but says so much and is so powerful at the same time.
    My humble interpretation is that this song is figuratively and literally about war. It’s about the tension between two sides. He compares himself to a solider Sometimes the tension eases, but then it comes back — the “cold” or “winter”. When he states that he has fell down in the narrow lanes and laid on the ground, I feel like he was giving up or surrendering, but then he shakes the trees to see what shakes out of them — like he is exerting all of his energy to survive.
    Then he talks about a city where nobody hears — maybe he feels as though this relationship or situation is like all of his thoughts, feelings and emotions are falling on deaf ears. The bird comes and signifies winter, meaning the beginning of another “war”. Berlin, Berlin could be in reference to Berlin being split apart in the result of a war. “Among the camp we’re done with him” to me this means that these conflicts and “wars” are never ending and they are over all of the tension and that is what the bird symbolizes.
    “We’d shoot him down, but then, but then. Where should I begin, begin. He’s the only one who knows the words.” He is referencing shooting down the bird and to me this means that he wants the war to end so badly, but at the same time he would feel lost without it. Where would he begin? This bird knows the history so, in a way, it is comforting.
    A peacock used to symbolize immortality because it was said that the flesh did not decay after death. My interpretation of the title is that this “war” my end, but the effects will linger possibly forever.

    shinyruston September 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis reminds me a lot of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
    AlvinYakatorion January 24, 2012   Link

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