"Tapestry" as written by and Carole King....
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

Once, amid the soft, silver sadness in the sky
There came a man of fortune, a drifter passing by
He wore a torn and tattered cloth around his leathered hide
And a coat of many colors, yellow, green on either side

He moved with some uncertainty, as if we didn't know
Just what he was there for, or where he ought to go
Once he reached for something golden, hanging from a tree
And his hand came down empty

Soon within my tapestry, along the rutted road
He sat down on a river rock and turned into a toad
It seemed that he had fallen into someone's wicked spell
And I wept to see him suffer, though I didn't know him well

As I watched in sorrow, there suddenly appeared
A figure, gray and ghostly, beneath a flowing beard
In times of deepest darkness, I've seen him dressed in black
Now my tapestry's unraveling, he's come to take me back
He's come to take me back

Lyrics submitted by cailin

"Tapestry" as written by Carole King

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Tapestry song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentlife/death
    Melinda07on September 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI never have figured out what this song means. The dreamworld lyrics are strangely evocative, but what they are supposed to be saying, I really can't grasp.

    I have to say, though, that I've always thought the first four lines are wonderful on its own. "My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue" [NOT embroidered]. These lines always make me think of my own life and the wonder and meaning of it all, and of the uncertain but still fantastic sojourns of all us here. Those four lines sent chills down my spine when I first heard them.
    Bluewaveson April 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first four lines, do obviosuly relate to her life. From then on, I suppose, it could be taken literally or metaphorically.

    It could be her looking objectivly over her own life (depite the fact the person she talks about is a man)

    "I wept to see him suffer though I did not know him well" could be refering to her looking at herself and being confused as to who she is 'did not know him well'. Tapestry unravelling could refer to bad times coming to collect her.

    Or the man could refer to a higer being, or a friend, or quite simply could just be a metaphor for something I haven't thought of.
    ihaveapenon June 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always thought that the person referred to in this haunting melody is actually more than one person - perhaps representing the various relationships in her life, or in a woman's life in general. I mean, who hasn't kissed a few toads in their own rich adventurous life? And the allusion of the rich man/poor man seems as if it perhaps could be more than one person. I guess it means whatever brings meaning to each of us individually - however there is no escaping the life/death theme.
    gailmindyon May 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSounds like a young girl's first experience to me, with someone she barely knew before he left. And yet she holds that memory with fondness. Well, that's at least PART of this song, as it's also definitely about her life as well. These lines always really struck me emotionally:

    he moved with some uncertainty as if he didn't know
    just what he was there for or where he ought to go
    once, he reached for something old and hanging from a tree
    and his hand came down empty

    The man she was with was just as inexperienced as she was, and they both left with nothing but the memory of their affair. Beautiful, beautiful song.
    Goatllamaon April 10, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionIt's definitely NOT "something old and hanging from a tree"- it's "something GOLDEN hanging from a tree"
    Goatllamaon April 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionIt's definitely NOT "something old and hanging from a tree"- it's "something GOLDEN hanging from a tree"
    Goatllamaon April 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI remember my older sisters playing this song when I was younger. My sister recently passed and this song came to me, I hadn't thought of it in years. I believe it is a song about life, it never stays the same..ever changing. A tapestry...so many experiences....of rich and royal hue, happiness. What we'd like to hold onto, but we can't. I believe it is the same man she speaks of, when she was younger he was a drifter passing by....still she felt the sadness. Life moves forward, then she see, again, this man...older, as is she... the man represents loss, and in the end it is her he has come for.
    Jaid35on September 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is difficult to understand because the beginning is about the singer's life, and that is quickly cast aside and she is talking at length about the difficulties faced by an old man with whom she empathizes. The old man had tried for success, but failed, and was left in a miserable state. After that, the singer sees another figure, dressed in black, who she had seen several times previously, but this time her tapestry is unravelling, meaning she is dying, and the old figure in black is the grim reaper. What does the song mean? Well, at a guess, the singer came from a privileged background (rich and royal hue), but she soon became lost in the misery of other people with whom she empathized and felt sorry. She eventually loses her privileged safe view of life, and sees it as bittersweet or worse. And then she is at the end of her life, led to death. For me, the song is a metaphor for life, we are here not to be self-centred, but to suffer and to suffer for those who suffer, like Jesus did. She is dying at the end, but she did what she was supposed to do, and she is going "back" now, back home to the spirit world. What do you think of this interpretation?
    johnhagopianon September 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI believe this song is about reincarnation. The tapestry represents her life. The stranger is someone who at the end of his life was reaching for "something golden" which is the return to the non-physical eastern religion equivalent of heaven. But, he had not reached that level spiritually and began a new cycle as a toad. The figure gray and ghostly is death (dressed in black in times of darkness) and she has mastered life and is ready to make the journey to "heaven"--"my tapestry is unraveling (she's dying), he's come to take me back (to the spiritual world)". I think Pete Townshend's song Drowned is along the same lines.
    gregjohnsonon November 21, 2013   Link

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