(I saw something
out on the water
I asked my dad for a nickel
He gave it to me
It was kind of misty
I couldn't be sure what it was
And of course, he wouldn't tell me)
in time i will collect the world
the eggs and wings of butterflies i love the wings
of butterflies

a man drove up in an ugly car
and he flashed his lights at everything he saw
and his eyes were red
and his stereo was so loud you couldn't hear the engine's roar
and he yelled at everybody in the road
and did not notice all the moths he'd massacred
spread across the open road

(weird when you get close
to something that BIG
you can't see anything at all...)

in time i will
collect the world
the eggs and wings of you who fall on
butterflies calvary
had you wings of i give my children

a moth had settled upon his arm and he looked at it with a lazy eye
and he lifted up a gigantic hand
and he spread his fingers towards the sky
and he nudged the moth to make it fly away
but moths are fragile things
and he just wiped its ody down across his shoulder blade

he's a wonder, he's a little black-wing boy
oh my daughters
he'll fill you with joy

in time i will
collect the world
the hearts and limbs of
butterflies you who soar o'er
had you wings of
butterflies oh father, i offer

Lyrics submitted by rabidpenguin

Butterflies Lyrics as written by Klaus Ulrich N Derendorf Tim N Baxter

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Butterflies song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    The song is about the various ways that people interact with the inherent beauty in the world. There are actually four narrative voices in this song. One is the girl. Hers is the voice of innocence and youth: seeing the beauty of the world for the first time and overwhelmed by it's immensity but unable to comprehend it's meaning or put it in context. The next is the man in the car: he represents the people who bludgeon and stomp through life without seeing the beauty around them. He casually destroys the beauty around him because he is too self centered and insensate. The third voice is the collector, who's reaction to beauty is to try and control it, capture it and make it static, thus preserving it but robbing it of it's essential element, except in his own memory. The final voice is the father's who's reaction to the beauty of the world is entirely centered around guiding and mentoring his daughter's experience of that beauty. He finds no intrinsic joy in the beauty of the world for himself, but only finds joy anymore in the vicarious experience.

    gravitonon September 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Oh, and to correct John Johnston above, it's not "his skin flashed open" it's "the screens flashed open"

    It's referencing those telescopic viewers they have at some tourist attractions. You put a coin into the viewer and the shutters ("screens") open and you can look around as if using a pair of binoculars. That's why the girl was asking for a nickle in the first verse.

    gravitonon September 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    There's a couple of extra lines in the version I have:

    "and did not notice all the moths he'd massacred spread across the open road"

    The recording I have continues (spoken):

    "His skin flashed open and all of a sudden there it was and I still couldn't tell you know how when you get so close to something that big you can't see anything at all"

    I like it, but I have very little idea what the song is about. One of the parts is God, perhaps.

    John Johnstonon June 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    I have no clue what this song is really about, but the reference to gigantic moths reminds me of the book Mothman Prophecies by John Keel. The angry man with the red eyes may refer to a MiB (men in black) that is mentioned in the book.

    I'm probably completely off the mark here, but that's just something that comes to mind with the references in these songs. I have no idea what the real meaning is.

    Teabeardon September 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The song compares three different attitudes within the world: the youthfully curious, the scientifically mature, and the woefully ignorant. In the end, the first blends into the next (becoming overly analytical of the shape on the water), and the second blends into the third (destroying the life s/he once adored).

    Guitarearlon March 13, 2017   Link

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