What does Underneath the Sycamore mean?

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Death Cab For Cutie: Underneath the Sycamore Meaning


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Underneath the Sycamore Lyrics

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  1. anonymous
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    Mar 13th 2016 report

    The song is an allegory for opening your third eye via using your chakras. "Mangled in the shards of a metal frame, woken from the Dream by my own name" refers to the method used to open the third eye. We are all the same, underneath the sycamore refers to the tree of life....in Buddhism, where did Buddha "meditate" for days on end? Underneath a tree.

  2. anonymous
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    Nov 11th 2013 report


    With the Sycamore tree, Ben is referring to life and death. The beginning of the song starts with a tragic car crash, "Laying in a field of glass underneath the overpass, mangled in the shards of a metal frame woken from a dream by my own name"

    The song goes on with the lyrics "Well I was such a wretched man, searching everywhere for a homeland" which implies that the car crash is an attempt at suicide.

    While I can not explain the rest of the song, one would have to think that it is supposed to have a similar meaning to "I Will Follow You Into The Dark".

  3. anonymous
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    Jul 8th 2011 report

    Most likely Ben is referring to his wife during the entirety of the this song, just as in many of the other songs contained on Codes and Keys. Ben also lets this song build off of ideas he expressed in the albums single, "You are a tourist" and "Monday Morning". He once again refers to his inability to settle down and love only one when he sings, "Well I was such a wretched man/ Searching everywhere for a homeland". Ben then goes on to address his wife by saying, "And now we are under the same sun/ Feel it through the leaves/ Let it heal us." If you have followed Ben's traverse through life and love in previous albums, it is easy to see that his comments are a huge change from his prior outlook on love. He is stating that he has flaws but he feels they are being healed by being with his wife and he is beginning to change.
    The chorus just reiterates these ideas that he will be safe while he is with his wife and he will continue to heal while his love grows. The significance of the sycamore tree is illusive.

    The second stanza repeats his ideas in a different way. He sings, "We were both broken in our own ways/ Sifting through the rubble for the wrong things." Here Ben talks how he and his wife, Zoe, have had their problems and looked for answers to their issues in the wrong places. Ben also goes on to compare their inner issues to "tombs" and "dark rooms" and talk of how this is where they find peace by knowing each other have flaws and accepting them.

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