What does The Bird and the Worm mean?

Search Login

The Used: The Bird and the Worm Meaning

Get "The Bird and the Worm" on MP3:

Get MP3 from iTunes

The Bird and the Worm Lyrics

He wears his heart safety-pinned to his backpack
His backpack is all that he knows
Shot down by strangers whose glances can cripple
the heart and devour the soul

All alone he turns to stone
While holding his breath half to death


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Aug 13th 2007 report

    This means that the man is just different from everybody else, and they hate him for it. So to save his life, he has to "crawl like a worm from a bird". The way that he's different is that he is too secretive of his emotions, and he's scared of what will happen if he lets them out. He wants to keep them inside because his inner self seems demonic or evil to him. but the reason his heart is basically on his sleeve (safety-pinned to his backpack) is because he ends up showing more of himself to the world than he intended just by having to struggle with himself.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Feb 11th 2008 report

    Ok, I'm not sure what The Used was thinking when writing this song, but it comes across to me as...

    'He wears his heart safety pinned to his backpack
    his backpack is all that he knows'

    I think what it's saying is he guards his heart, his backpack doesn't need to necessarily mean a literal backpack, but lets say it does, he keeps his backpack close, it's all that he knows. So he guards his heart on his backpack so that no on could hurt him or whatever.

    'Shot down by strangers who's glances can criple
    the heart and devour the soul.'

    Well we all know those people who judge us by our outward appearances, the way we show ourselves, what little experience they have had with us, etc. Basically, there are strangers who watch him in disgust because he is 'different' then them, but their glances are painful and hurt him.

    'All alone he turns to stone
    while holding his breath half to death'

    This varies, the first part comes across to me as when he is alone, all happiness leaves him, he becomes depressed, and nothing can chear him up--turning him to stone. Obviously, stone cannot feel, so it may also be a way of numbing himself to the 'glances' and hurtful words, or whatever other people might do to him. The 'holding his breath half to death' is a little more difficult. A lot of people in depression are delusional too. Like they have schizophrenia. Sometimes holding your breath and counting slowly to ten, or higher, may clear your head of these delusions or whatever.

    'Terrified of what's inside
    to save his life
    he crawls like a worm from a bird'

    I think this is pretty straight forward, but maybe not. When in depression, the feelings come from inside, they creep around telling you what's wrong with you, basically giving you your depression. He is terrified of these thoughts, and like a worm cowards from a bird (for those of you who are a little slow...it's because birds eat worms.) he cowards from these thoughts.

    'Whispers of...(just keep working...just keep working...im terrified)'

    Just keep working, to keep the thoughts off of his fears and why he is terrified.

    'Out of his mind away
    pushes him whispering
    "Musta been out of his mind..."

    I'm not exactly sure what he means here, probably because it's slightly hard (to me) to understand the way it is written, but if it means people are whispering that he's out of his mind, then he is trying to push away those thoughts and what those people have said.

    'Mid-day dillusions of pushing this
    out of his head
    make him out of his mind...'

    He wishes (delusions that he can), but is unable to push these thoughts out of his head, no matter how hard he tries, and it makes him go out of his mind.

    For the next few parts, it is pretty much the same as I have already explained...

    This song is a little confusing, and I might even be wrong in my interpretation, but I hope this helps anyway :).


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Sep 2nd 2007 report

    From the imagery in the music video, there are one of two valid interpretations I can see:

    1) The main character is a paranoid schizophrenic, he is literally afraid that everyone is out to get him. With this interpretation we could see the horrific imagery in the video as a projection of the images he sees.

    2) The entire song is about a Jekyll/Hyde complex. A scene in the video portrays the main character in his apartment being sucked into a darker version of himself that he sees in the mirror. He then becomes attached to his darker self, and tries desperately to pull away.

    The lyrics lend an extra dimension to the entire thesis. The main character is "terrified" of the darker self inside of him, be it schizophrenia or simply his evil half, but doesn't know how to get rid of it. Throughout the song he is said to "crawl like a worm from a bird", this phrase's repetition is key to the interpretation. The main character attempts to remove the darkness under his own power, only to find himself weak, like a worm.

    In my mind, the second interpretation is more satisfying, since it portrays man as wanting desperately to find hope in a depraved world. It also portrays the darkness as more prominent than the light, which is true in our culture today.

  4. Paradoxicalsleep
    click a star to vote
    Nov 24th, 01:03 report

    *This is a personal interpretation, obviously.*

    To me the meaning of this song was crystal clear from the first time I heard it. In highschool I had really bad depression and anxiety from domestic issues at home. It's about the boy arriving to school emotionally overwhelmed from mental health problems. Really bad mental health is almost impossible to hide, so the whole day he tries to suppress his negative feelings, and the anxiety of trying to fit in while silently suffering only makes him feel overwhelmingly worse.

    "Crawls like a worm from a bird" describes how it seems necessary to him to hide his pain, but doesn't realize that it's a useless struggle because emotions always come out eventually.

    The reason I assume the setting is school is because of the phrase "safety pinned to his backpack".

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 4th 2016 report

    Guys, don't overthink it. Bert wrote this song about his brother who has schizophrenia. It's a description of his brother's mental state & inner conflict that result from this disorder. That's it.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 5th 2016 report

    I didn't think the lead singer is the one who has a mental disorder but someone he knew.. If it is based in real life... The one that he knew very well have a problem that he want to escape. Maybe that peson has just a problem like debt, or something that is not a mental disorder. He can Say that he is just a worm which has no match from a bird who is his predator, we can't deny that probability, but I'm playing safe so I'll just gonna conclude that he has a problem with someone else(or just himself) and he think that he is just like a worm who can't do anything so to save his life, he just tryin' to escape his problem, and he want to keep it by himself (even if the problem is within himself)

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 24th 2015 report

    It to me it seems to be about a man, who because of something awful he did now travels, never staying in fear of the same indecent happening. As a homeless person he faces the glares of everyone he meets, while all this time he is driven nearly insane by the darker half which wants to do something awful to those which look down upon him.

    No matter what he does, this darker side follows him, his running is useless and futile, the bird is always getting closer.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 29th 2013 report

    Not all videos matches the lyrics. But I do agree that this song is about Schizophrenia and Personality Disorders

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 28th 2012 report

    I personally feel this song could be taken as someone suffering from a social anxiety disorder. Being diagnosed with a horribly severe case myself, I see a lot of relations. "Shot down by strangers whose glances can cripple the heart and devour the soul." That's how it feels. And wearing the "heart safety pin to his backpack" can be related to the old saying "Wearing your heart on your sleeve" which means you're sensitive and easily hurt.
    A social anxiety can cause one to be a sort of shut in. Hiding in your safe place from others with only yourself as your company. This causes a sort of festering of the problem if you will. you're left to wallow in your fears and thoughts.

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 16th 2012 report

    It's about a teenage boy who is depressed. So to solve his problems he cuts himself and he has a drug issue. He realizes his problems so he tries to escape it. He's so lost in his thoughts that's it's hard to forget. But he tries so hard. " he crawls like a worm from a bird " meaning he's trying to escape himself from his depression.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 8th 2012 report

    The safety pin is significant in my opinion. Often times self-harmers ("emo") identify themselves with other self-harmers by wearing a safety pin usually on the collar of their shirt. Also its not uncommon for schizo's to cut themselves, further proving my take on the lyrics concerning the heart safety pinned to his backpack. It says his backpack is all that he knows, so its saying that all he knows is pain and a fragile heart.

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 31st 2011 report

    I actually think it's about self harm. about getting better and trying to get away from being who you were when you did self harm. maybe that's just my take on it.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 20th 2011 report

    This song is about the singer, Burt McCracken, not wanting to become a Christian. God was calling to him to "save his life" but Burt wouldn't accept. It's like when a bird is trying to catch a worm but the worm crawling down deeper into the grown, yet the bird still trys to go after it. God was Burt's bird. Burt was the worm. Everytime God would come after him, he would crawl deeper. (Deeper into hell). Him with black is what he thinks he will become if he lets God win.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 12th 2011 report

    I think the person is being bullied, because when kids get bullied in movies, they allways have a backpack. "shot down by strangers whoose glances can cripple" might mean that lots of people just stare, and most people hate being watched.
    "all alone he turns to stone" might be when he is being cornered by the bullies. "and crawls like a worm from a bird" he might be running away from everyone.
    i personally know that when i get bullied, i seem to get kind of schizophrenic and get delusions, so the verse after the first chourus could be about that

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 21st 2011 report

    I think my interpretation is very different to everyone else as when I listen to the song I'm thinking of my step-dad who did in fact crawl like a worm from a bird. The tone to me is menacing and I see it as the singer calling this character a worm. He's a spineless little creature, worth nothing and crawling like a disgusting slimy little worm. I guess song's mean something different to everyone but I view it as someone viewing this worm with contempt.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 18th 2011 report

    If you watch the music video, it looks like Bert (the lead singer) is having a psychotic breakdown. On Wikipedia, i read that Bert started doing crystal meth when he left his house to live on the streets, before he joined the Used. I think this song is about his paranoid delusions he is having after binging a couple days on meth and not sleeping: In the music video, he is looking out the peephole in his room watching for people he thinks are coming to get him. The lyric "shot down by strangers whose glances can cripple" also refers to the powerful paranoia felt after a large amount of a very powerful stimulant like meth is used combined with days without sleeping.
    Out of his mind away
    pushes him whispering:
    "Musta been out of his mind..."
    Mid-day dillusions of pushing this
    out of his head
    make him out of his mind.. (out of his mind hehehehe)
    In the above lyric it sounds like he is hearing voices whispering about him, which is very common for meth users to have auditory hallucinations or "mid day delusions" as Bert puts it as an effect of meth but also going long periods without sleep causes you to hallucinate due to sleep withdrawal. Lastly, the overall song he is hearing whispers and in the music video while he hears the whispers he's looking out the peephole of his room. If this song isn't about crystal meth delusions then I can't tell you how shocked i would be. If you don't believe me look up the symptoms of a user and then watch the music video.

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 17th 2011 report

    This Kid is a fledgling serial killer...
    The soul has been called the great bird by many cultures...
    He crawls like a worm away from the pure dark insanity of the soul/bird inside him...
    The things he thinks, the things he does and all he feels and dreams...
    Mind the creaky opening door in the beginning of the song..
    He sneaks in to kill as his soul sneaks in on his daytime dreaming...
    He tries to stop, he tries to end it...
    He's terrified of himself and what he does but more afraid of death row...
    He crawls from the seething of his soul and crawls from the dark deeds he does...
    All Alone...
    His heart is just a badge on his school shit...
    Dark Passenger...
    And so it goes, Over and over...

  18. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 17th 2011 report

    Sounds to me like he's a very young guy who knows nothing of the world and then finds himself facing a terrible disease, then his mind starts rolling and he cant stop...
    All alone...
    When in that position it is like the whole world is whispering,talking,pushing...
    He turns to stone...
    He cant believe it grows...
    Must have been out of his mind...
    Sounds like he did something on a whim and now pays for it...
    But whatever it is 1 glorious song guys, I love it..
    3/4 time rocks yo...

‹ prev 1234

More The Used song meanings »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Perfect anonymous
Beans for Breakfast anonymous
Mother Love anonymous
Just What I Needed anonymous
Petty Too anonymous
Internet Junkie anonymous
All I Ask anonymous
Keep Myself Alive anonymous
China Girl anonymous
Love You Like a Love Song anonymous
Big Girls Don't Cry anonymous
Lovely anonymous
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) anonymous
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) anonymous
It's Raining Again anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Baby Queen
Fear Not
Broke Boys
Girl On Fire
Kameron Marlowe
Up To No Good
Warren Zeiders
Prayin' In A Deer Stand
Luke Bryan
You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive
Patty Loveless