What does Horse Latitudes mean?

The Doors: Horse Latitudes Meaning

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Album cover for Horse Latitudes album cover

Horse Latitudes Lyrics

When the still sea conspires an armor
And her sullen and aborted
Currents breed tiny monsters
True sailing is dead

Awkward instant
And the first animal is jettisoned
Legs furiously pumping
Their stiff green gallop
And heads bob...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 30th 2007 !⃝

    this is a poem about sailing in the area where doldrums were common...these became known as the "horse latitudes" because as stated above the horses were thrown overboard at these times. ropes would be tied around the horses so they would tow the ship as far as possible before they became exausted and drowned. "when her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters" refers to how sailors would resort to any measures to continue sailing. "true sailing is dead" because they no longer rely on the wind to carry them along. after the "awkward instant" the first horse would be thrown overboard where it would try to swim with "legs furiously pumping" their "stiff green gallop" refers to how they would stir up seaweed that is often was abundant in areas of calm water. The horse would swim until it could no longer stay afloat and then it would sink "in mute nostril agony".

  2. anonymous
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    Mar 5th 2023 !⃝

    I feel the existing interpretations have probably captured the essence of the meaning - but the idea of horses being just cut loose & left to sink....wouldn't they run out of horses after only a few miles? How many horses would have they needed to have on board for an average Galleon? If they tired- instead of letting them sink, why not refresh/rejuvenate them & then'go again' - or, with fresh meat that scarce - eat them?
    Of course, that might be too logical for Jim's agenda, and we would never have the benefit of hearing this marvellously other-worldly indictment of the cruelty of people to get what they want by hook or by crook.

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 9th 2018 !⃝

    Jim was pissed!

  4. anonymous
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    Dec 28th 2013 !⃝

    Horse latitudes is an ancient sailing term that defines areas where the winds are not strong enough to fill the sails and after days of being stranded, sailors would often lose their bearings and then trust the instincts of horses to lead them back to land. I believe Morrison felt his poetry and music were beasts that he jettisoned to lead us out of our doldrums.

  5. Bton1233
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    May 14th 2010 !⃝

    Jim Morrison made reference the current referred as the horse latitudes. They gained that name by the way the current flowed so minute and dead with no wind being in the tropics they would jettison horses to make the ship lighter and to tow the bout. But an even further view could also say that its a venture into life. where we loose our personal moment in life and we drop the people that helped us the most. We let them pull as till they fade away but they struggle to keep afloat in your life. But thats my opinion and as jim always would say that its your own interpretation not his. all his songs have both literal and spiritual meanings.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 26th 2006 !⃝

    I read something in Jim Morrison's autobiography "No One Here Gets Out Alive", and I can't remember it exactly, but it said something about how he actually wrote this as a poem while a high school student, I think, and it was after he read or heard or saw something about the whole "Horse Latitudes" jettisoning the horses thing. So he wrote this poem/song/whatever you wish to call it.

  7. IDs_Ego
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    Jan 12th 2006 !⃝

    It's said that the Horse Latitudes are relatively close to the Tropic's of Cancer and Capricorn, ie 30 degrees N and S latitude on the map. Here, by natural physics, sailors would be hit with the doldrums. When Spanish sailors were bringing horses to the West Indies, these doldrums meant a life-threatening voyage, as sailors would be running out of fresh water. The horses, drinking four gallons a day, would be thrown overboard, left to drown.

    A wonderfully creepy poem/tune, and an example of the genius of good album mix, as it is followed by "Moonlight Drive" to close out Side One (vinyl days) of the classic "Strange Days".

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