If you smile at me
I will understand
'Cause that is something
Everybody everywhere does in the same language

I can see by your coat, my friend
You're from the other side
There's just one thing I've got to know
Can you tell me please, who won

Say, can I have some of your purple berries
Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Prob'ly keep us both alive

Wooden ships on the water, very free, and easy
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline let us be
Talk'n 'bout very free, and easy

Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all human feelings die
We are leaving, you don't need us

Go take a sister, then, by the hand
Lead her away from this foreign land
Far away, where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don't need us

And it's a fair wind
Blowin' warm out of the south over my shoulder
Guess I'll set a course and go

Lyrics submitted by Hilde

Wooden Ships song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment
    This is about war. He meets a man who smiles at him. He is wearing the coat of the enemy. There share berries to stay alive. He dreams of sailing and the easy life. He's awakened from his dream by the dying. He feels nothing. He longs for the way things were they way there were suppose to be. Awesome awesome poem
    reginaannon July 22, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    the first verse nash got off a church sign driving thru flordia
    hippyathearton April 29, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    If that is what it means to superfreakz202, that is fine, but it isn't what it really is about. Its about the dream of getting on a wooden ship and sailing away to another world - physically sailing their. If you don't believe me, read the liner notes on their box set. Crosby says it himself. After Jackson Browne heard the song, he asked "What about everyone else" and wrote For Everyman in response to it. If you ever listen to the intro before For Everyman on his new Solo Acoustic album, this is what he is alluding to.
    Tmo2199on April 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    here are Crosby's exact comments b-4 the song at Woodstock: "we're gonna do...a kind of a...science fiction story, if you'll bear with us... it's about these people who are escaping the, uh, the holocaust, or whatever it may be....and, leaving it behind....and escaping in the Wooden Ships" as far as the time frame for this adventure, it could be just about anytime/anywhere - it could be the Vikings heading out to new lands - it could be post-apocalyptic in the distant future - it could be Japan after the bombings - Crosby/Stills/Kantner sort of instilled a mode that is universal
    rockboy52on February 22, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    It doesn't seem like aliens need to be involved for the song's story. I always took it as a nuclear holocaust because the food is mostly bad, I assume irradiated. Also, post-apocalyptic because sailboats need no petrol or other supportive civilization for travel. They can just go with the wind. And the common belief back then was that in a nuclear war there would be no winners, just precious few survivors.
    Scot6113on June 14, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    This song is about a post apocalyptic world. Soldiers from opposite sides meet each other with caution and smile and share some berries. A nuclear war has wiped out most of humanity, and the survivors are forced to sail around the world endlessly on wooden ships of their own making in order to avoid annihilation. Read the novel The Last Ship by William Brinkley and you will see the similarities in the song and the general theme of the book.
    osvaldo113on August 24, 2022   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    first verse is the single greatest lyric ever written...
    ZinbobDanon April 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    My take on this is that its after some kind of hollocast or nuclear war and some people were able to get away in wooden ships. They are afraid and hungry and can do nothing to help the people on the shore.
    liverdudeon June 27, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I seem to remember Steven Stills or David Crosby talking about the meaning of the song before they played it at Woodstock. I have not watched the movie for a while but I think he said something about a Holocaust and Aliens coming. I dont know about the acid reference although I know they were into drugs then. May be thats why my recollection is not to clear.
    tlspatrioton September 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Very true
    spicklyon April 09, 2003   Link

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