Please forgive me (it's impossible to see)
If I appear unkind (it's impossible to know)
But any fool can tell you
It's all in your mind
Down in the meadow
The old lion stirs
Puts his hand 'cross his mouth
He has no use for words

Poor little girl
With your handful of snow
Poor little girl
Had no way to know

And you've got me eating
You've got me eating
You've got me eating
Right out of your hand

I mean you no harm (that's impossible to say)
When I tell you you're blind (it's impossible to know)
Give a sucker an even break
He'll lose it all, every time
The airborne starlings circle
Over the frozen fields
The hollyhocks hang harmlessly
And the old lion yields

But you've got me eating
You've got me eating
You've got me eating
Right out of your hand
You've got me eating
Right out of your hands
Got me eating
Right out of your hands
Got me eating
Right out of your hands babe
Got me eating
Right out of your hands

Lyrics submitted by Nelly, edited by smallwonderrobot

Right out of Your Hand Lyrics as written by Nicholas Cave

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Red Right Hand song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentCheers to Bentol and others:

    No one mentioned that "Red Right Hand" is from
    John Milton's "Paradise Lost".

    This is even spelled out on another Nick Cave album "Murder ballads" in "Song of Joy":

    Quotes John Milton on the walls in the victim's blood.
    Police are investigating at tremendous cost.
    In my house he wrote 'His red right hand' "
    That I am told, is from 'Paradise Lost'

    Milton wrote:
    Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
    What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
    Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
    And plunge us in the flames; or from above
    Should intermitted vengeance arm again
    His red right hand to plague us? What if all
    Her stores were opened, and this firmament
    Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
    Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall

    You can see the obvious allure for our pal Nick. All that old trestament wrathful divinity that fills much of his poetry.

    The beauty of art is it's ability to become what the viewer sees or even wishes to see. For my money, though, the tall, handsome man in this song might be the brutal God of the Christian tales, indiffrent to man's sense of self-destruction.

    Cave is one fo my favourite poets who happens to be an excellent musician.

    warmPhaseon February 06, 2006   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI always wondered if Nick Cave is a Stephwn King fan, because this song is a perfect description of Randall Flagg in The Stand. Everything about it is so perfect for that character, especially the lines 'On the gathering storm comes a tal handsome man in a dusty black coat with a red right hand.'
    CHAKAon January 25, 2005   Link
  • +4
    Song Meaningred right hand means he has killed people. red as in blood. I think they are talking about a government man. A shady unknown man that has done bad things involved with the government, such as war, illegal testing, corruption, and such. they are talking about uncle sam / the government. / the unknown and faceless government agent.

    he will comfort you, that can represent the way they may give you a job and say you are protecting people, and it is in the interest of the nation, while in reality you are doing shady things. stacks of green paper in his red right hand, well that's obvious, the government has money to spend, and they have power and are corrupt.

    this song was used in the x files tv series. In the show, they show shady government figures, like the cigarette smoking man, skinner, and others, that are involved with corrupt plots and cover ups. Some of them are murderers, aka "red right hand" (in my opinion, I think that is what the show and song is driving at)

    "black coat" = government agent

    my opinion is that it has nothing to do with the devil, that's just my opinion.

    there are lots of different opinions about this song, but this is what came into my mind when I heard it. great song by the way. (I like the music, not the lyrics)

    "you are one microscopic cog in his plan" = one small agent, amidst a vast network,, a large machine., one cog in a big machine.

    "take me to the town, and go across the tracks.... " = see? its anytown usa, it can happen anywhere. They can find you, any place, any where... no secret is safe.
    mike34on May 10, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBentol's on to something -- between the Paradise Lost and the trinity references, God is a good call. One of my two favourite theories for this song.

    Going with the god-theory: Rather than actual god, I think ol' Nick's describing the -idea- of god, drawn from the prayers of the wretched of a modern capitalist society. Divinity is meaningless, mercy and salvation are meaningless. All that matters is what you can get out of it, and so it doesn't matter who you're talking to (the 'ghost, god, man, guru' -bit). This is also why the description is so horriffic -- this is God as a dealer, the kind of guy who treats his congregation as customers. Pay your dues (in faith) and you'll get your fix of good stuff, don't and your life will be hell because always you'll be haunted by what you may ahve missed.

    My problem with that theory is that it leaves the first verse (all that modern industrialist imagery) completely hanging. That's why I'd suggest a second identity for the man with the hand. On the one hand, it's the vindictive dealer image of God that runs through American politics. On the other, it's secular government as a controlling, identity-stealing and individualism-crushing force. That's what the lyric seems to be saying to me: "Big Brother is watching, he knows all about you, he's everywhere, and this is -his- world. Conform to what we want you to want, or be ground down."
    delayon February 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentScary eh? Thats neat. When I read the lyrics my first idea was a description of satan or a satanic figure, but when i actually listen to the song i get no such images of anything scare or demonic like that. Rather i get a picture of a person the kind who's status as hero or criminal is widely debated. Someone to be deeply respected and yet wanted dead by others. Someone with a shady background and the capability to be your worst nightmare or your best friend and asset. Meh.. just the imagery i get.
    squeegie^weegieon September 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think john andrew philot is more or less right except that his explanation is about as cryptic as the song.
    the man with the red right hand is a broad metaphor for something/someone which can make you feel better but not actually make you better. perhaps something which tricks your body or your mind into feeling more at ease, drugs for example or perhaps a fashion label. things you have been convinced to like by other people and those people (the ones with the red right hands) make "stacks of green paper" out of your addiction.

    i really hope thats true about this whole song being adlibbed but i doubt it.
    joeytheboyon July 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningRandall Flagg, from the Stephen King Book mini series, THE STAND, is the person mentioned in this song. Watch The Stand, and you'll know!
    TheLoneMarineHickson December 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
    Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
    And plunge us in the flames; or from above
    Should intermitted vengeance arm again
    His red right hand to plague us?…

    According to Wikipedia the action of books I-II amongst other things centres around "a debate [between the rebels] on what to do next in relation to the war in Heaven." The extract is spoken by Belial, who has been symbolic of many differing qualities throughout history. However, in Book I of Paradise Lost he is represented as:

    Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
    Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
    Vice for itself. To him no temple stood
    Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
    In temples and at altars, when the priest
    Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled
    With lust and violence the house of God?
    In courts and palaces he also reigns,
    And in luxurious cities, where the noise
    Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
    And injury and outrage; and, when night
    Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
    Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
    Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
    In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
    Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.…

    On th' other side up rose
    Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
    A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
    For dignity composed, and high exploit.
    But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
    Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
    The better reason, to perplex and dash
    Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—
    To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
    Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
    And with persuasive accent thus began:—…

    So Belial in the extract that Nick cave refers to in his song Red Right Hand is attempting to persuade atan that the rebellion against God and the war in heaven is lost and to give up the fight. It is interesting to note that the phrase "Red Right Hand" refers to God and the fear of God's retaliation and not Satan or a lesser demon of hell, which isn't suprising since in religous terms right hand path denotes judeo-christian beliefs and left hand path alternative/satanist views.

    Now how does Nick cave use the phrase "Red Right Hand" in his song and what is he implying?

    Firstly, you have to decide weather the figure represents Christianity or the Devil. The song is quite ambigous and could be interpreted either way.

    savage suggested this song was about an evangelist and these lines certainly support that argument:

    He'll wrap you in his arms,
    tell you that you've been a good boy
    He'll rekindle all the dreams

    as Awwsugar pointed out these lines reflect the paradoxical nature of the trinity of god:

    He's a god, he's a man,
    he's a ghost, he's a guru

    Could it be that the Guru along with the Evangelical aspects of the song is Nick's suspected form of the second coming of Christ?

    Anyway I've spent enough time beating around the bush, I agree with the whole idea of Red Right Hand being a retelling of Faust but would add that the figure in the song is distinctly Christian and possibly a manifestation of God.

    I juat wanted to end by saying that the interpretations that you guys offer are really fascinating and to keep up the good work. However, I doubt Nick Cave reads Stephen King. He tends to
    like the deeper, philosophical artists not the paperback novellists but you never know....

    I doubt that this song was entirely ad-libbed, or even partly ad-libbed. it was probably well-thought out and written well before recording.

    Also, ever noticed how Nick cave likes his serial killers, murderers and anti-heroes to be handsome and sexually alluring?
    Dressed2Depresson July 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've read through all of these and have only found one member (John Andrew Philpot) who makes mention of what i think is a well crafted metaphore for drugs and addiction.

    Take the verse
    Here he comes..
    Through the ghettos and the barrio
    and the bowery and the slum
    A shadow is cast wherever he stands
    Stacks of green paper in his
    red right hand

    This, to me anyway, points to nothing other than drugs. Coming in through the poorer sections of a city and leaving it's shadow cast on every where it's presence is known. Then, of course, the stacks of money piling up in it's red right hand.

    Also, the last verse in the song can explain to anyone who's dealt the addiction (and maybe hasn't) the extent that it can overwhelm every

    It's debatable, i know - but Nick's own struggles with addiction put this meaning over the top for me. Also, suggesting that the song is taken at face value as being about some evil, possibly supernatural devil-like figure belies the masterful song writer that is Nick Cave. Would he simply write some scary little tune about a Randal Flagg type persona? i don't believe it's in his character - particularly not on an album that isn't, say "Murder Ballads."
    StickityWicketon June 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat article on Cave here:…

    exert: "... A “Manichean divide”, as the novelist Will Self has said, runs like an embattled frontier throughout Cave’s mental universe. In ‘Song of Joy’, he quotes Milton’s Satan, who in Paradise Lost refers to the “red right hand” of a jealous, vengeful God. In Milton’s poem the hand is red because it blazes with fiery potency; in Cave’s song it belongs to a murderer who has scrawled the citation in his victim’s blood..."
    Robsteron February 10, 2010   Link

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