"Butterfly" as written by and Tori Ellen Amos....
Stinky soul get a little lost in my own
Hey General, need a little love in that hole of yours
One ways, now, and Saturdays and our kittens all wrapped in cement
From cradle to gundrops
Got me running girl fast as I can
And is it right Butterfly they like you better framed and dried

Daddy dear if I can kill one man why not two
Well, nurses smile when you got iron veins
You can't stain their pretty shoes and pom poms and cherry blondes
And their kittens still wrapped in cement
From God's saviors to gundrops
Got me running girl as fast as I can
And is it right Butterfly they like you better framed and dried

Got a pretty pretty garden pretty garden yes
Got me a pretty pretty garden a pretty garden yes
Got me a pretty pretty garden a pretty garden


Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce

"Butterfly" as written by Tori Ellen Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Butterfly song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentWhen I hear this song, I imagine a gay male soldier on the battlefield, captured in the death-filled trenches of WWI. Amos is painting a nihilistic picture of the tragedy and mourning one gets from bitter loneliness and unrequited love. This solider is told by society that he isn't a "real man" (because he's gay), but he paradoxically embodies the masculine archetype of a "real man" in being a real-life G.I. Joe. It's enough irony to drive him into an opportunistic madness.

    "Kittens wrapped in cement" is the grinding feeling one gets from having to hide in a cruel atmosphere of social oppression and stigma. In the homophobic military environment, the same cement that stops the bullets and preserves many lives also represents the material that makes up the walls of a society that crushes the individual will of the fragile person. The same thing can be said for the military. He is the child-like kitten, wrapped up bitterly in their ever-the-more boring, plain world of chunks of cement. It is the cement that will later form his tombstone, both materially and spiritually. Consider this song his eulogy, both on and off the battlefield.

    The symbol of the "butterfly" represents both the grace of the soul and its quest to be free. As beautiful and adorable as he is, he'll never be free. Society doesn't want him as he really is. Society instead likes its own version of him "framed and dried"... straight and put on display for others to see. I know too well that feeling one gets when people mistake you for heterosexual. But it's easier to hide under badges and a pressed uniform.

    "Hey General, need a little love in that hole of yours?"

    No, it's not just about gay sex, but it could easily be. Rather, it's an ironic quip. A sick joke on his part. If can entertain himself with the idea that his "superior" officer is a "another fag" just like he is, it might help to soothe the humiliation he endures daily from this man and those whom he encourages. Such moments of laughter bring some soothing stickiness to his brittle, still-open wounds.

    "From cradle to gumdrops"

    ...to bullets. You can never return that innocence that once was childhood. It was sweet like candy but is now forever gone. It was innocent...

    ...Back when it was like Eden... you know, back when you had that "pretty, pretty garden" and all things were hunkey-dorey and all boys liked girls... You used to think that you liked a girl but she had you moving faster than you were really ready... this only served to bring about further confusion of what you really liked... society's answer was only "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"...

    "Daddy dear, if I can kill one man why not two?"

    That other man is me. Or, is it you? Daddy dear, why don't you love me? Am I enough for you? Raised in a conservative Christian home (like Tori, btw) we were a part of "God's saviors" but you didn't want your precious son to be "sweet" like gumdrops. You didn't want him to be a cheerleader queer. You wanted me instead to be going after the cherry blondes.... Maybe now I'm "man enough" for you. Either way, I won't live to see it. You'll never know who I truly am. My whole life is wrapped in cement and framed and dried for your beloved niceness to see.
    grelingon March 18, 2007   Link

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