I couldn't utter my love when it counted
Ah, but I'm singing like a bird 'bout it now
I couldn't whisper when you needed it shouted
Ah, but I'm singing like a bird, 'bout it now

Words hung above, but never would form
Like a cry at the final breath that is drawn
Remember me love when I'm reborn
As a shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn

Had no idea on what ground I was founded
All of that goodness is gone with you now
Then when I met you my virtues uncounted
All of my goodness is gone with you now

Dragging along, following your form
Hung like the pelt of some prey you had worn
Remember me love, when I'm reborn
As the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn

I fled to the city with so much discounted
Ah, but I'm flying like a bird to you now
Back to the hedgerows where bodies are mounted
Ah, but I'm flying like a bird to you now

I was housed by your warmth, thus transformed
By your grounded and giving and darkening scorn
Remember me love, when I'm reborn
As the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn


Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher, edited by HoeForHozier, acadianaviator, moony337

"Shrike" as written by Andrew Hozier-byrne

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Shrike song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentTotally not sure but I see this song talking about the relationship between a mother/father and Child “hatched by your warmth” and “ah, but I’m flying like a bird to you now” references him growing up and flying from his mother/Father.
    Jacob1212on September 10, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI personally think it's about one of the lovers (the singer) on their death bed and singing to the other that he couldn't do anything he should've done before when it actually mattered, he only took it all for granted so he needs the other to remember him whenever he comes back in the form of a shrike to their sharp and glorious thorn and this metaphor probably speaks as a soul(shrike) that sort of depends on the other soul(thorn) because shrikes use thorns or barbed wires to stab their insects on it so that they get smaller bites to feed on. Also, the line "then when I met you my virtues uncounted" could mean that when he met the other, he sort of already started another life, more like a new chapter, where he forgets about all the past good deeds to make room for the new ones. And now that he's going, all of his good deeds stay with the other.
    HoeForHozieron September 15, 2018   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI hear this as the singer asking for a past lover to take them back. They recognize the mistakes they made, have bettered themselves since and just want them to see the changes. For me, the line "as a shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn" is a metaphor about how they are throwing themselves at their lover's mercy, opened themselves up and are now vulnerable in a way they wouldn't allow themself to be in the past. It is an absolutely deep and beautiful plea.
    pocodoton October 19, 2018   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSo, some of the lyrics as of today are a bit off, but I think in order to understand the song, you need to understand what a shrike is. A shrike is a species of songbird that looks and sings innocently enough but is known for hunting and killing its prey (small lizards, rodents, and insects) by skewering it on thorns and other spiky objects, like barbed wire. Having said that, Hozier is singing about a lost relationship that fills him with regret. He realizes that for whatever reasons he or they had in ending the relationship, there was something visceral and deep about their bond, and he hopes that his partner can envision him being reborn in his next life as a shrike, who is beholden to the sharp, eerie, and dark thorn (the partner) it uses to literally feed itself, and in a way figuratively soothe his regret.
    moony337on July 17, 2019   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think no one has gotten it quite right, even though it's pretty clearly spelled out IMHO. I'll start by clipping some of the lyrics so that it becomes more obvious. I'll just make a paragraph out of them.

    """All of my goodness is gone with you now, hung like the pelt of some prey you had worn. Remember me love, when I'm reborn as the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn."""

    Okay, the lover has essentially killed who he was before being reborn. Having killed who he was once to her because all of the good is dead to her in light of his faults. She sees the faults. (all of his goodness dead, hung on a thorn by her as prey)

    He now sees his own faults and is going to metaphorically feed on the lessons learned from that, on his old self. He has been reborn and now his old self is also dead to him. He will come to her as someone who now is as she is in that he has much the same view of his old self and they have both killed that person in their minds/hearts. They are both shrikes and it's his old self hung up on thorns...anyway, that's my take.
    justin1145on September 04, 2020   Link

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