Cinder And Smoke Lyrics - Iron & Wine
Review The Song (10)
Give me your hand
The dog in the garden row is covered in mud
And dragging your mother’s clothes
Cinder and smoke
The snake in the basement
Found the juniper shade
The farmhouse is burning down
Give me your hand
And take what you will tonight, I'll give it as fast
And high as the flame will rise
Cinder and smoke
Some whispers around the trees
The juniper bends
As if you were listening
Give me your hand
Your mother is drunk as all the firemen shake
A photo from father’s arms
Cinder and smoke
You’ll ask me to pray for rain
With ash in your mouth
You’ll ask it to burn again
Writer: BEAM, SAMUEL ERVIN
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
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Non-physical interpretation | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/23/10
There is no physical burning of a house.
The song is similar to that of the tower in the tarot. There is the formation of a structure and the demolition of a structure.
The song starts out first with the lyric give me your hand, setting the tone for hardship. It begins with the foreshadowing of a downfall and comfort for what is soon to come. It guides through a shaky childhood- a dog covered in mud, a loyal, solid animal acting recklessly, and dragging the mother's clothing, a metaphor for the mother's submissive behavior towards a rough husband.
It then leads to a snake in a basement, a creature known for it's slipperiness and sharp tongue that finds a juniper branch. A juniper tree is not fruitfull and doesn't provide much shelter. Which furtherly smbolizes a bare and harsh up-bringing with a mother that doesn't stand up, who later is shown drinking inthe song. The house is now burning down. The child is now developing and coming toterms with reality and the true going ons.
Give me your hand is again repeated, showing progression and entering a new episode. The child had moved out. The past is now a memory, a memory that can vanish as quickly as the fire initially engulfed and took hold of the family. It no longer takes much effect, it's a surreal image as if it never happened, the person is numb to it, which is dramaticized by the serene music and melancholy strat of the guitar. It seems as if a flagrant dream.
Give me your hand is repeated and is now turning to a new page in which it is the parents divorce. The mother is a drunkard. The father acts as if nothing's happened and clutches to a family photo that he had nothing to do with except to produce the kid and still, blindly, acts as if nothing was ever wrong. The firemen take it away, a metaphor for an end to the disaster. One would think that one would want rain, a purifying and cleansing force, a shoulder to cry on; but that is not the case, the person needed that experience, it built who they are. They would even experience it again.
Give me gourmand is repeated, showinga progressionin time into the life.
reminds me of the movie shutter island | Reviewer: gbaker | 10/13/10
1. this song reminds me of shutter island, to those that have seen it because it talks about the death of a daughter. a drunk/ crazy mother, and the peacefulness of being inside a burning house, which is a reoccuring scene within the movie.
2. the first verse i think is talking about happy times in the house witht he daughter, and mother and father, and their dog. i think the snake is the cause of the fire, not physically.
3. 2nd paragraph is about the night of the fire. i think the girl is trapped in the fire. i think give me your hand is literally hewr father saying to come with me, ill get us out as fast as possible. the juniper bending as if you were listening means the girl doesnt respond because she has already passed from the fire.
4. i think the final verse is the mother being drunk over the loss of her daughter. and i think the fire man shake a photo form fathers arms is a metaphor for the firemen took away his daughter's body after the fire. with ash in your mouth youll ask it to burn again. i think it means that despite how much you hurt form the fire you really wanted it that way
Haunting | Reviewer: Joe | 7/3/10
I believe it is also about a physical house burning down. In the first paragraph it seems to speak of the chaos that would be a result of a house on fire. In the second paragraph it is explained someone has perished in the fire, they grab the hand of the speaker so that they can be led to the next world. In the third paragraph it explains that two people are in despair as they come to realize that their daughter has not survived, the mother drinks to ease the pain and the father clutches the photo, the last image of his daughter. The last three lines I think are interesting, The first I believe is a request to end their pain, the second line again tells the listener that this girl died in a fire, the third and final verse speaks to me as if the girl was unhappy or angry at her parents and that she wishes for them to suffer. It is a beautiful and haunting song, one of my favorite works by this artist.
Passion | Reviewer: Stacy | 2/26/10
I think it's also about passion, about the guard falling away, drunkenly, inhibitions burning down. The snake is done his part blowing cinders into smoke and he's resting in the shade, while the speaker is inviting her to take his hand and follow their passion. In the second verse he's promising her a towering fire. The trees whispering and the juniper bending and her not listening seems to me like her refusing to listen to gossip or people telling her what to do. The third verse: although her mother is a wreck and her father is trying to hold on to his little girl, who now only exists in a photo, but she has tasted his fire and can never go back. She'll want that passion again.
a quick note before i go eat chilly... | Reviewer: Jocy | 12/19/09
I agree that the song is about a girls dysfunctional family. Im not gonna get too much into detail but I think that the Juniper tree is suppose to symbolize her familys love and togetherness. (Note that A juniper tree doesnt provide much shade and its useless for eating or collecting water, anything useful...) just think about that also now as you listen to the lyrics..
Re: Michelle | Reviewer: Cory | 8/2/09
But then again, it could have been the girl that died, and the picture the father is holding is of the girl, and it's expressing how he wants to hold onto it, as it is the only thing left he has of her.
It's a pretty tricky song to decipher, but the mystery of it always keeps you thinking, usually in a different way than you did the last time you heard it. Great song.
re: christopher | Reviewer: michelle | 7/1/09
i agree with most of your ideas, but i feel it's the father that dies, not the girl. "Your mother is drunk as all the firemen shake A photo from father’s arms," he died with the photo in his hands, the firemen had to shake it from his grip
Also my Favorite song by Sam Beam. | Reviewer: Christopher | 3/12/09
Similarily, this is my favorite song by Sam Beam.
and similarily, It has only recently been recently that I have come to notice the lyrics.
For me this song is about a physical house burning down:
Paragraph 1 of the song is before the fire and speaks of good memories of his girl and her house.
Paragraph 2 of the song takes place during the night of the fire and expresses the physical act of them making love between the 1st person and his girl. A juniper tree stands in proximity of the house.
Paragraph 3 of the song occurs after the fire and speaks of Firemen searching through the house after the burn. They find a photo in the ashes of the house. The girl is consumed in the inferno and dies. As to an explanation for the last line, I do not have one.
Favorite Song | Reviewer: Kenny | 1/26/08
This is my favorite song by Beam. I finally realized what I think this song is about.
Simply, the narrator is talking to his girl. Talking about how her family, with all its secrets (I assume a cheating mother and a naive father) are coming to light. The dog and snake represent the uncovering of whatever the secrets are. The house is burning down.
The kicker is....the girl, as described in the last verse, is more or less, a drama queen (although she doesn't internally try to be). She comes to the narrator begging him to help her and fix everything, and just be there for her. However, he knows that she'll just find some other drama to fall into.
"Ash in your mouth, you'll ask it to burn again."
As if the girl needs to have some drama or she feels out of whack. We all know someone like that.
Also, the mellow tone and almost trace-like beat and harmonies kind of reinforce this. I just think it all fits.
This is a great song.
Bliss | Reviewer: Matt | 7/27/07
An eerie beat moves you to the smooth melody of this song. Enjoying the soothing voice of one of the world's most brilliant men.
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