"Pagan Poetry" as written by and Bjork Gudmundsdottir....
Pedaling through
The dark currents
I find
An accurate copy
A blueprint
Of the pleasure
In me

A secret code carved, a secret code carved

He offers
A handshake
Five fingers
They form a pattern
Yet to be matched

On the surface simplicity
But the darkest pit in me
It's pagan poetry
Pagan poetry

Morsecoding signals
They pulsate and wake me up
From my hibernating

On the surface simplicity
But the darkest pit in me
It's pagan poetry
Pagan poetry

I love him, I love him
I love him, I love him
I love him, I love him
I love him, I love him

This time
I'm gonna keep it to myself

This time
I'm gonna keep me all to myself
And he makes me want to hurt myself again

And he makes me want to hurt myself again

Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget, edited by jcdk, ruthlovescats

"Pagan Poetry" as written by Bjork Gudmundsdottir

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pagan Poetry song meanings
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  • +9
    My InterpretationI think this song is about falling in love with someone who is ultimately toxic/harming/killing you. The protagonist is someone who is self-destructive, almost reminiscent of someone with severe borderline personality or a masochist; she passionately falls in love with some she has such a strong attachment to yet this person is also her demise.Its a dark love story.

    The title of this song conjures up imagery of beauty and darkness. Paganism is mysterious and at time dark; a direct antithesis to poetry, a light and delicate art form. In the beginning she is pedaling through the dark currents and finds an accurate copy, a "blueprint" of herself. This is her saying that through this dark current, a euphemism for her self-destructive activities and behaviors (ex. a drug addict at a party, prostitution, etc) she finds her soulmate, someone just as dark, twisted, and broken as her.

    "Swirling black lilies totally ripe
    A secret code carved"

    Yet again, the imagery of darkness (black) is matched with something as delicate and soft as love (lilies). The secret cove carved is their instant connection that only the two soulmates can understand.

    "He offers a handshake ,crooked five fingers. They form a pattern, yet to be matched"

    Reinforces the idea that she has met her twin flame, the love of her life. She has never met somebody like this, he/she is yet to be matched.

    "On the surface simplicity, but the darkest pit in me.It's pagan poetry, pagan poetry"

    On the surface their love, her identity, who she is...it is all kept simple. People only see the surface, they don't know the darkness that lies within her. Her self-destructiveness, their toxic relationship.Its a beautiful darkness like pagan poetry.

    "Morsecoding signals (signals),they pulsate (wake me up) and wake me up
    (pulsate) from my hibernating"

    The illusion is beginning to deteriorate. She can no longer keep the facade she has let out on the surface. She is battling a side of her that is trying to convince her that he is good for her, that their caustic relationship isn't engulfing them into a dark abyss. It is as if she had been asleep and hibernating this entire time

    Then we get to the cathartic finale, "...I love him, I love him, I love him...", its important to note the tone of her voice as well as the eerie harp music in the background. Does she love him?...of course she does right? This is a guy who has amplified this darkness, self-destructiveness with in her. And she has most likely done the same to him. Its conflicting. She is madly in love with a man that any sane person would know, is ultimately destructive for her.

    "This time,I'm gonna keep me all to myself"

    This portion in particular, when coupled with the repetitive "..I love him, I love him, I love him..." almost sounds like a woman in a domestic abuse relationship. I mean think about how many women are/were still in love with the very same man that is also verbally humiliating them, feeding/supporting their drug addictions, alienating them, violently abusing them, or even trying to kill them. One can say she suffers from Stockholm Syndrome; she "loves" him and clearly has gotten back with him, hence the "this time...". Other people advised her to stay away from, warned her that he is dangerous, that he is leading her down the wrong path but she didn't take heed to their warnings. Like a moth to a flame, there is an otherworldly bond between her and him and she won't let anyone stop them, she is going to keep it to herself. She won't seek help, she won't tell her friends...she loves him too much.

    And at last, the final line "And he makes me want to hurt myself again"

    ....Which is just gutting, she is bound by the forces of love to a man that will ultimately be the end of her, her death. Its a pretty dark and twisted song, but then again that why I love Bjork.
    ilikegreenon February 05, 2015   Link
  • +5
    My Opinion
    Only you know what is the truth and where it leads you to send you to the actuality(blue print)...she knows she loves him, above all the its soooo clear(acurate copy) but he can't give her what she wants because all he offers is a friendship(handshake) she anknows as well it is not what they both want,its fake,like a fake hand shake (crooked handshake) a hand shake suppose to mean its an honest deal closer,..but its crooked from him. And she loves him,sooo much
    eileenwoon October 22, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song conjures memories of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, for those of you have read it then you’ll understand my post, for those of you who have not read the novel it is not horribly difficult to parallel the two. Like several of you have mentioned the song is of two paramours (I’ll use diction which appears in Hawthorne’s text) which share a very strong bound: as the text explicates Björk’s lover has the ability to wake her up with out him-self being present: “ Morse coding signals…They pulsate…and wake me up…from my hibernating”; this is very similar to the bond which Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale share; they are able to sense each others feeling and share the same suffering and guilt. But just like Björk’s imagery gets across the state of pain which she feels for her lover stating that the “darkest pit” in her is her Pagan poetry or forbidden love. Hester fits the “darkest pit” metaphor; as well, for she goes through this conflict of knowing that it is wrong for her to love Dimmsdale more than she loves God--I had to throw in the Protestant message in, due to the fact that it is Hawthorne’s writing; it gives the motive of why Hester suffers; Björk never accomplishes that it would be rather interesting to find out why the love hurts her. Finally, Hester like Björk go through their manly urges of wanting to “hand [themselves] over”; though the lyrics never clarify if Björk goes on with her urges and becomes romantically entangled with him ( I am sure that she does), in the novel Dimmsdale declares his sin to the whole colony, having fathered Hester Prynne’s daughter , only to die later but not before declaring that he loves Hester. NewWaveWitch, I really like your body art comparison it sure makes a lot of sense when you apply it to the video!
    Carlouson January 09, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo me it sounded like forbidden love and the pain of loving someone who doesn't love you and maybe someone you're not allowed to love. As a gay person this reminds me a lot of how my love for other men is often frowned upon, almost as if it was forbidden. Sometimes, it does feel like pagan poetry. :)
    Human-beefon July 15, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThe speaker and her lover are so deeply in love that verbal communication is unnecessary, and their pleasure is almost painful.
    ferrariguy90on August 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationOne of Bjork's most enigmatic songs, this one.

    Pagan Poetry is concerned with the poetry of a relationship that pulls one out of his/her isolation and loneliness (that "darkest pit"). The narrator's lover understands her on an emotional level (who possesses the "blueprint" to her heart* and who understands the "secret code carved" on it too) and she completes him just as well as he does her (the "five fingers" on his hand "matched" and completed with her own). It's a relationship that looks like any other with nothing extraordinary on the surface ("surface simplicity") but it has an intense power... an intense, almost religious power which saves her from her despair.

    *Of course, "pleasures in me" isn't really an effective substitute for "heart" but I wanted to avoid the sexual connotations in that first paragraph. The sexual undertones are, of course, ever apparent in this piece and the music video contains explicit sexual imagery.

    How does this affect the interpretation? The "Poetry" in the title, then, mainly refers to the orgasmic highs the narrator reaches with her lover - a transcendent sexual and spiritual connection (this gives a whole new - sexual - meaning to the "code" and "blueprint" mentioned earlier... as well as "surface simplicity" and "darkest pit").

    That's poetry.
    nuclearheadache89on August 19, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about an insanely strong attraction between lover's. They become so attracted to each other, they become attatch and able to converse without saying a word. When they touch hands, they can feel their vains pulsating morse code to each other, that unravels all the pleasure deep inside, but outside they are just simply holding hands or something like that.
    Smiley75220on May 03, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMmmm, I love this song. I did not know the the term Pagan Poetry had been used else where, I'll try not to think of it that way and pretend its existence is rooted from this song. I think intense emotions are simply lovely, which is why I enjoy this song, because that's what it seems to be about. I love being overwhelmed with emotion, because what would the point of existence be if one did not over indulge emotionally.

    ..... Deja vous.
    SillyLittleGirlon December 19, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't know what the fuck this song is about. I do however know that i've never heard anyone sound so beautiful such as an angel does. Winter is forever changed in NYC when these sounds fill my apartment and ears.
    saturnsongson July 14, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAt the end she IS saying "And he makes me want to hand myself over" both times, not "hurt myself again". If you watch the video, she is clearly mouthing those words.
    RainbowInjectionon June 10, 2007   Link

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