while you were sleeping
the babies grew
the stars shined and the shadows moved
time flew, the phone rang
there was a silence when the kitchen sang
its songs competed like kids for space
we stared for hours in our maker's face
they gave us picks
said go mine the sun
and go gold and come back when you're done
while you were sleeping
you tossed, you turned
you rolled your eyes as the world burned
the heavens fell, the earth quaked
i thought you must be, but you weren't awake
no, you were sleeping
you ignored the sun
you grew your power garden
for your little ones
and you found brides for them on christmas eve
they hung young cain from the adam trees
and danced
while you were sleeping
i tossed and i turned
til i closed my eyes
but the future burned
through the planet turned a hair gray
as i relived the day
while you were sleeping
the money died
machines were harmless and the earth sighed
through the wind you slept sound
and gravity caught my love around
the ocean rose, sang about decay
while witches flew
and the mermaids stayed
full of dreams, you overslept
and keeping with quiet, through the walls i crept
i walked on tiptoe, sent darkness swirling over all the kitchen in the early morning
i'll never catch up to you
who sleeps so sound
my arms are useless
my heart beats too loud to go to sleep
my mind's too proud to bow out
while you were sleeping
the time changed
all your things were rearranged
your vampire mirrors face to face
they saw forever out into space
and found you dreaming in black and white
while it rained in all the colors of the night
i watched the tvs
vanished to sea
could it be, my honey between you and me
so i waited for the riddled sky
to be solved again by sunrise
and i've made a death suit for life
for my father's ill widowed wife
did you have that strangest dream before you woke
cos in your gown you had the butterfly stroke
did it escape you like some half told joke?
when you reached for your plume of smoke
it'll haunt you, my honey bee
anyone who is anyone has that same dream
were you falling
were you flying
and were you calling out
or were you dying
thank god you're up now
let's stay that way
else there'll be no mornings
and no more days
cos when we're dreaming
our babies grow
the sun shines
and the shadows flow
time flies
the phone rings
there is a silence
and everybody tries to sing

Lyrics submitted by fursoftasfur

While You Were Sleeping song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentWow, this song really grabbed me. It is sad, folksy and throws real life in your face with awesome lyrics. Elvis Perkins dad was the famous Anthony Perkins, actor, Norman Bates in Psycho. He lost his dad to Aids and his mom to the Sept 11th disaster, so I think his sadness comes through. He said in an interview with Guardian that kids teased him as the Norman Bates kid and having the name Elvis. It just seems like he went through a lot. I am glad he is doing better these days, but he says he sees life half empty and half full now. Regardless, he is a unique, talented singer. A cross between John Denver and Harry Potter.
    OhMusicManon August 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe song is not about his mother's death.

    ash wednesday is a chronological sequence of songs written before (tracks 1-6) and after (tracks 7-11) the events of 9/11 and his mother's death.

    while you were sleeping is the opening song, and thus not about her death.

    a very beautiful song, nonetheless

    he's great live. go see him if you get a chance. i saw him playing with willy mason, earlier this year.
    djbctclon September 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about his mom dying in the trade towers.

    I fuckin love this song, it's so gorgeous.
    livinginventionon March 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentisn't it; go to sleep, my minds to proud? instead of crowded?

    I love this song, since I first heard I'm listening to it almost daily now. The lyrics are amazing.
    nausikaäon March 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentElvis Perkins is a great singer-songwriter. This is proof of that. The instruments' build-up is perfect. And the tragedy behind this song makes it even sadder.
    el_chisoon March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"the future burned
    through the planet turned a hair gray
    as i relived the day"

    no idea, but they're some of my favorite lyrics ever
    _meandthemajoron April 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThink Elvis is looking back wishing his mother overslept and missed that fateful flight. Just a beautiful song.

    While she was sleeping:

    "you (she) rolled your eyes as the world burned"
    "the heavens fell, the earth quaked"
    "the time changed"
    and so forth

    He also says "full of dreams, you overslept"...wishing she overslept and missed the flight.
    ht70on June 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really love this song. My boyfriend gave me this cd yesterday, and I think it's one of the best albums i've heard this year.
    brighteyedautumnon August 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe is amazing.

    i tossed and i turned
    til i closed my eyes
    but the future burned
    through the planet turned a hair gray
    as i relived the day
    while you were sleeping
    Yourghost_Myghoston September 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIm not sure about this song?????????? May the Lord Bless,
    brokenheart3742on September 24, 2007   Link

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