Upward Over the Mountain by Iron & Wine

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Upward Over the Mountain by Iron & Wine

Unread postby musicmonkey » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:00 pm

This is one of my most favourite songs by Iron & Wine. I've included some of the best explanations of the song from http://www.songmeanings.net/lyric.php?l ... 7858515917 below the lyrics:

Iron & Wine wrote:Mother don't worry
I killed the last snake that lived in the creek bed
Mother don't worry
I've got some money I saved for the weekend
Mother, remember being so stern
With that girl who was with me?
Mother, remember the blink of an eye
When I breathed through your body?

So may the sunrise bring hope
Where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds
Flying upwards over the mountain

Mother, I made it up
From the bruise on the floor of this prison
Mother, I lost it
All of the fear of the Lord I was given
Mother forget me
Now that the creek drank the cradle you sang to
Mother forgive me
I sold your car for the shoes that I gave you

So may the sunrise bring hope
Where it once was forgotten
Sons can be birds
Taken broken up to the mountain

Mother, don't worry
I've got a coat and some friends on the corner
Mother, don't worry
She's got a garden we're planting together
Mother, remember the night
That the dog had her pups in the pantry?
Blood on the floor and fleas on their paws
And you cried 'til the morning

So may the sunrise bring hope
Where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds
Flying always over the mountain

Trivian wrote:As the mother of two teenage sons, this song has a tremendous impact on me. The last stanza is not at all random. The image of the pups being born, with blood, is a picture of the struggle and the cost to the mother of bearing her children. And the "fleas on their paws" illustrate the "fallen world" that we are born into and the inability of the mother to protect her young. The minute we are born, there are the dangers of the world ready to "infect" us. And the mother's tears is the pathos we all feel as that truth begins to dawn on us.

All the rest is the son's attempt to protect his mom from the hurt he knows she feels as she watches her son grow up and deal with his life's choice, both wise and unwise. And the same impotence comes through. He can no more protect his mom from the hurt she feels, than she could protect him from the harshness of the world.

Lackadaisically wrote:I agree with Trivian as well.. It's a sad world we live in, and as a male, I'll never understand how a mother feels.. bearing children, and creating life. The overwhelming need to protect one's young from a world that won't allow full protection.. a world where sons must learn on their own, despite the mother's undying devotion to the safety and security of their child. This song has awakened a new found respect that I have for my mom, and has brought me to tears I'm saving for the next time I see her. Thanks Iron & Wine, and thank you Trivian for your interpretation. Peace and love..

sondrad wrote:This is a song of encouragement and faith. The singer is comforting his mother, ensuring her that each day brings hope...for him, for her, for the life he has clearly left behind. He brings forth memories of sad times that they got through, to illustrate that each day brings new hope, that they did survive. They have lived through much together and life will go on. He assures her that he is moving on, while at the same time he apologizes for it, it feels as a betrayal to him to be moving beyond all she gave and did for him. But it is hopeful and he hopes she will feel happy about this.

mantooth wrote:i love how he sings it like....may the SON....rise bring hope

juchmu wrote:The son as a monologue to the mother seeks to reassure her that he is grown and capable of being independent as it seems that the mother is overprotective to possibly a damaging degree. Here is my take on a few of the lines:

"sons are like birds flying upward over the mountain"
He's leaving the protective nest of the mother and is capable of great things on his own. essentially the point of the song.

"mother forgive me, i sold your car for the shoes that i gave you"
I don't see this as literal at all, I think its symbolic that the son feels responsible for sacrifices the mother had to make to raise her child. His presence in her life limited the possibilities for her life. Slowed her down, i.e. trading a car for shoes.

"mother don't worry, she's got a garden we're planting together"
Symbolic of the cycle of life. The son is grown and is capable of starting his own family. That devastating line "mother remember the blink of an eye when i breathed through your body?" also is part of that cylce of life that is often fleeting.

"mother remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry?
blood on the floor and the fleas on their paws
and you cried 'til the morning"
This is pure genius, and never fails to bring a tear to my eye. I love the way his voice gets quiet when singing these lines. The image of the pups being born in a painful (blood) and imperfect (fleas) way is again symbolic of the mother/son relationship as a necessary part of the cycle of life. A moment that is both beautiful and painful summarizes the mother son relationship that is both loving and difficult at the same time.

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