Who knew
At this party that
I would walk in and I'd see you
I guess now

We could just get drunk
Yeah, and that would be our excuse
You could slip
And outta nowhere

I could be there to catch your fall
And we could laugh at ourselves
And the writing that's on the wall

It's a narrow margin
Just room enough for regret
In the inch and a half between
Hey, how ya been?

And
Can I kiss you yet?
So we talk like
Nervous neighbors over a tall fence
True love
But for lack of providence

But I just got one more
Thing to tell you

'Cause words are vitamins
And life is short
And I know when we get up
To the front office

We're gonna have to fill out
A full report
The first question will be
What were you thinking?

And the next question will be
What did you say?
And then they're gonna check to see
If the answers to one and two

Matched up much
Along the way

In the interest of poetry
And the cowboy movie
That's you and me
I'm back on the horse now

And I am riding
I am striding so effortlessly
What I mean is
It's late

Much too late for us
And I'm fixing to go home
With just my conscience
And a bitter sense of irony
As my chaperon


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

Providence Lyrics as written by Ani Difranco

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Providence song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment

    Y'all are sick! You haven't posted on Providence?

    It's one of her best songs.

    I'm not sure, I think she sings "at the bar" not "at the party"

    It's too late for their romance to happen.....

    They would be in love, if not for fate (Providence is God's will)

    sakeboxon June 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think it's about them actually being in love and being in a secret relationship for a short time and the aftermath that ensued....because they weren't concerned with what may happen... Providence is foresight.....

    indigodifrancoon October 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this song gets me every time. got to say, it's made me cry more than once.

    it's about a lost love, one with lots of loose ends that was never really resolved. in that sort of situation, all you want is to know why it happened, what they were feeling:

    the first question will be what were you thinking? and the nexy question will be what did you say? and then they're gonna check to see if the answerss to one and two matched up much along the way

    ...but when you finally get your chance to talk, there's the tiniest bit of hope that the breakup was a mistake, even though you know it's never going to be the same.

    tanglerevelon December 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Jeez, I can't believe more people haven't posted on this song... I can't believe after reading ideas for years I finally signed up. Providence, ahhh, such a beautiful song. To me, this song symbolizes a raw love - one in which you love the person but with terms that were never defined or remain uncertain, the kind of power with another person that you can ignore and/or be annoyed with and yet that force when together feels overhwheling and it is always a wonder that since this is the case that there is not more effort to make it come to some kind of "normal" fruition... this person gives you the silent shivers that you speak of with no one else because only the two of you understand and still understand there is some kind of dichotomy that keeps you separate - not alone but separate. When you have these feelings for a person and there is no closure between wither of you on either end there is always the question of why...and when there is unfinished business, as Ani puts so eloquently, there is always something more you want to question or say - frustrated, half-longing and always wanting just the beautiful kiss to make things feel ok for the self... but no matter what this song itself ends with longing and lack of answers.

    mynameisgumpon May 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Gonna disagree slightly with mynameisgump, but just a little. It's about the experience of meeting up with someone old, someone from your past. Someone who, then and now, you're in love with. But fate has intervened and so, regardless of the reasons, the two parties could've had "true love, but for lack of providence". It's a song about the bitterness of seeing missed opportunities, that's why there is so much poignant regret in this song. Whenever I listen to this song, I think of loves that could've been, if circumstances had only been kinder. If there had only been some providence.

    fnordon July 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I've had this exact experience. Meeting up with an old friend, with whom it never would have worked out, and you want to go for it, because you know if circumstances were a little bit different, it could be something great. And there's the tension. And the inability to be completely honest because of said circumstance. It's all up in the air, and it never gets resolved. And you just have to accept it, I guess.

    aydiosmioon February 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I'm not really sure what this song means to me yet but I love the music and I love the way she sings it

    favorite lines ...

    cuz words are vitamins and life is short and i know when we get up to the front office we're gonna have to fill out a full report the first question will be what were you thinking? and the nexy question will be what did you say? and then they're gonna check to see if the answerss to one and two matched up much along the way

    I just love her voice and the way she sings this stanza

    RedLetterYearon November 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's about two people who both realize that the other is the "love of their life". For whatever reason (fate), they missed their opportunity to be together. They have a chance meeting and contemplate the possibility of being together, for one night or possibly forever. However there is obviously something that prevents them from living happily ever after.

    I think there could be a lot of different explanations as to why they can't be together now, but for the purpose of my interpretation I'll say they ended up in healthy relationships with other people, whom they also love and would never betray. The reason doesn't really matter, but the fact is that there is something that prevents them from being together and they can't 'cross that line'

    They try to rationalize cheating, perhaps by getting drunk, but in the end they refuse to betray their partner.

    I believe the part about the "front office" and the "two questions", is about the inner conflict of whether or not they should abandon their partner and be with their true love. She is imagining meeting her 'maker' after death and God saying something like 'I gave you an opportunity that night at the party, but you just walked away. I know you were thinking about running away with your true love, but you said/did nothing about it.' She is wondering 'Fate tore us apart, but is this Fate trying to put us back together'. The internal struggle is so great that they actually question 'Is being faithful to my partner actually the right thing, or should I run away with my true love?'

    It makes me think of June Carter and Johnny Cash. I'm sure people cursed him for cheating on his first wife Vivian and infidelity is obviously a terrible thing. But after being married to June for 35 years in which his love for her was so obvious, it seems like 'running away with his true love' was the right thing to do.

    However in this song, she chooses to not be with the love of her life, and will continue to wonder if that is actually the correct choice.

    Heartbreaking and one of my favorite songs of all time!

    PeterPerfect6on February 05, 2011   Link

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