"Whistlin' Past the Graveyard" as written by and Tom Waits....
Well I come in on a night train
With an arm full of box cars
On the wings of a magpie
Cross a hooligan night
And I busted up a chifforobe
Way out by the Cocomo
Cooked up a mess a mulligan
And got into a fight

Whistlin past the graveyard
Steppin' on a crack
I'm a mean Mother Hubbard
Papa one eyed jack

You probably seen me sleepin'
Out by the railroad tracks
Go on and ask the prince of darkness
What about all that smoke
Come from the stack
Sometimes I kill myself a jacket
Suck out all the blood
Steal myself a station wagon
Drivin' through the mud


I know you seen my headlights
And the honkin' of my horn
I'm callin' out my bloodhounds
Chase the devil through the corn
Last night I chugged the Mississippi
Now that suckers dry as a bone
Born in a taxi cab
I'm never comin' home


My eyes have seen the glory
Of the draining of the ditch
I only come to baton rouge
To find myself a witch
I'm-ona snatch me up a
Couple of em every time it rains
You see a locomotive
Probably thinkin' its a train


What you think is the sunshine
Is just a twinkle in my eye
That ring around my fingers
Just the fourth of July
When I get a little bit lonesome
And a tear falls from my cheek
There's gonna be an ocean in
The middle of the week


I rode into town on a night train
With an arm full of box cars
On the wings of a magpie
Cross a hooligan night
I'm-ona tear me off a rainbow
And wear it for a tie
I never told the truth
So I can never tell a lie


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Whistlin' Past the Graveyard" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Whistlin' Past the Graveyard song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis is a bloody great song! Waits sings like a man possessed. The lyric is full of peerless lines such as "What you think is the sunshine is just a twinkle in my eye"...
    Diego8978on February 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song... but it's "kill myself a jackel" not "kill myself a jacket".
    dmesgon July 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDid anyone notice the reference to "To Kill a Mockingbird" in there?
    'Bustin' up a chifforobe'.

    No idea what it means exactly.

    Its a good book, though. Read it.
    (Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird)
    the-granton February 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about being happy with material things just being happy with yourself or in the naratiors case riding the rails
    its_a_mad_worldon June 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti meant without material things..... shit its late
    its_a_mad_worldon June 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTrully this archmastermind guy was so quick at typing all the Tom Waits lyrics he made at least one mistake in every single one he uploaded here. Anyways, this is one of my favorite songs. I'm not to sure it's about being happy without material things since he said he never told the truth. I think this is about someone who's so overconfidend that he steps on anything, anybody. He whistles past the graveyard because he has no respect for anything as well. He deceives and likes to do so. He " flies on the wings of a magpie " and as you know these birds are little pricks, probably just like him. I can easily think of some crazy cartoon character not only stepping on cracks and whistling past the graveyard but raising the dead and stuff! Waits
    Ex Abruptoon June 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe phrase "whistling past the graveyard" is about projecting a false sense of confidence to compensate for your fears. He's not being disrespectful, he's just trying to convince himself that he's badder then anything lurking in the graveyard.
    MadScion September 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion" a ring around my finger called the fourth of July"- 4th of July is independence day. Let freedom RING. Around his finger means he's married to it. So, married to freedom.
    As Ex Abrupto^ put he's a wanderer that causes trouble. I think he usually travels by train just because of a few references. Especially, "what you think is the sunshine, it's just the twinkle in my eye" gives me an image of the lamplights Twade1211on June 24, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment... On the coal/steam locomotivesas it travels through a tunnel or on a dark night. There's also "chugged the Mississippi", his reference to the horn. Steam locomotives include the notorious steam whistle.
    Twade1211on June 24, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh and it's not that he's being disrespectful or confident. But yes more fearless. Probably best described as cocky and arrogant at best. Tom waits is fairly notable for that style of character.
    Twade1211on June 24, 2012   Link
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