Wye Oak – Civilian [Official Lyrics]

August 28, 2011 Blog, Lyrics

Wye Oak are an outstanding indie band from Baltimore and have been kind enough to provide me with the lyrics to their album via email correspondence. These are the official lyrics to Wye Oak’s Civilian. Thank you Andy and Jenn! And please support the band by finding them on tour or buying their music via wyeoakmusic.com.

Two Small Deaths

two small deaths happened today,

while i was at work, while i was at play

no less light darkens my door,

so i cannot cry, what is that for

is this the way my mind works,

forwards always forwards

is this the way my brain waves,

backwards, sideways

i’ve no heart as strong and as lasting

to miss and to mourn

the world at their passing

i’m saving up all of my strength

for when i finally fail

at keeping you safe

when my last friend should leave me,

slow and easy,

i’ll be creeping around them,

picking pockets

The Alter

oh recourse,

our nature is a force

so, cut it at the source and go,

a life without remorse

i’ll obey,

though i am afraid of what it is to be alone


and happiest at play

i’m all smiles,

confident and wild,

wired with every instrument


and careless all the while

until i recall,

everything and all is wrong

panic is a slow dissolve,

a terror quiet calm

Holy Holy

holy holy holy,

there is no other story

holy only holy,

it is madness seeking mastery

hold me hold me hold me,

would you like to know me,

a tongue without a mouth to feed,

and only seeking agony

for the joys and secrets i have stored,

here i lie awaiting my reward

attention for the blessed final count,

the ties that hold your mind and mouth give out

no patience can contain this,

all human joy is precious,

and i alone should know this,

and everyone should notice

holy holy holy,

there is no other story

it is madness seeking mastery,

we will be who we want to be

for the joys and secrets i have stored,

here i lie awaiting my reward,

attention for the blessed final count,

the ties that hold your mind and mouth give out

oh, they will give out

Dogs Eyes

can’t see yourself in evolution,

the history of our creation,

so dogs’ eyes smiling scare you about dying

i can’t shake this superstition,

jesus give me your permission,

and god’s eye looks in like a ghost you don’t believe in

someone hit me with this wish,

and i cannot get rid of it:

soft eyes, hard hands,

a shovel, a garden,

a deep hole, a secret,

and water to feed it

a season of growing,

and soon, everyone knowing


i am nothing without pretend,

i know my thoughts can’t live with them

i am nothing without a man,

i know my faults but i can hide them

i still keep my baby teeth in a bedside table with my jewelry

you still sleep in the bed with me, my jewelry, and my baby teeth

i don’t need another friend when most of them i can barely keep up with

i’m perfectly able to hold my own hand but i still can’t kiss my own neck

i wanted to give you everything but i still stand in awe of superficial things

i wanted to love you like my mother’s mother’s mother did,



they who made you, they made me too

quiet like you, violent like you

i’ve seen you live wild in my dreams

when you return, go to the sea

air is your permanent struggle to breathe

when you return, go to the sea

gone, gone gone

you were never alone

i’ll come home and raise you up to what’s left

ghost of your voice, finally rests

open your eyes now to all that is next

don’t be afraid now, you won’t need me

you’ll be at peace now, at last from the sea

you will forget, eventually,

the life that you wasted that led to the sea

gone, gone gone (picking up your human pieces)

you were never alone

i’ll come home and raise you up to what’s left

they who made you, they made me too

i say they can make us again


into the desert,

weather forever

desperate clouds

bellowing out

seeing the future,

cautiously answer,

it’s only the plains,

sideways rain

the days whispered and shouted,

and everything counted

the signs were around,

we looked so we found

and seeking a pattern,

none of it mattered

watching the sky

cycling by

through the windows of a passed life

they are seeing the same things,

but they are not laughing

the smoke from the engine,

the bones of a plane

i noticed this vaguely,

but it couldn’t contain me

so i’ve been tamed,

so it remains,

and i am ashamed

hiding in a stranger’s hallway

try to remember,

pen to the paper,

portion it out,

what’s it about

the voices are empty,

the pictures have left me,

there’s only the plains,

only sideways rain,

and i am ashamed,

i am ashamed

and every day is just the same

Hot As Day

when the sun is its most bright,

stare into its light,

do not close your eyes

let it burn into your mind,

then look left, look right

let it make you blind

oh, isn’t that a fright,

burned into eternal night,

that someone decides is right.

when the days run long and late,

darkness gives me pause while i lie awake

sleep is never long enough,

lying in this heat,

i forget to breathe

oh, isn’t that the way,

sun hides itself away,

still it’s hot as day

We Were Wealth

though i am grown,

i am living like a child now.

i wish, i want:

giving myself everything

fearing the release,

keeping the peace

say, for instance,

i pay money for an object

sight unseen,

how is it that it speaks for me,

borrowed never earned,

in debt from birth

fill the days at any cost and spent your earnings,

ease the losses

we were wealth and we were money,

of the world and needing nothing


if you should doubt my heart,

remember this:

i could lie to you if i believed it was right to do

if you should think instead i would forget all the lives i said were not meant for me,

and meant for you

that would be the test

sadly i could not forgive only that

to doubt the only way that what was true before,

is true today

what i have learned of you does not assure you bow before my will

but i believed it then,

believe it still

oh i believe it then,

believe it still