in

The Trapeze Swinger by Iron & Wine: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

Image source

Iron & Wine is the stage name for renowned American artist Samuel “Sam” Beam, whose music falls under folk, folk-rock, and indie rock genres. His six solo studio albums, eight EP’s, and three collaboration albums fall under his most notable works. Sam is fluent in playing several musical instruments, including the bass, banjo, guitar, harmonica, piano, and percussion.

Around the Well is a compilation album by Iron & Wine that contains unreleased tracks by the artist. The album had 23 songs divided into two discs, each featuring eleven and twelve compositions per disc. Overall, the album received positive reviews from music critics, with Rolling Stone giving the album four out of five stars.

What Does The Title Mean?

Trapeze Swinging is an aerial performance using a trapeze, ideally seen at circuses. The act is a dangerous routine, where one wrong move can throw the performer crashing down. When learning Trapeze Swinger lyrics meaning the title is appropriate for the song. It narrates the singer’s thoughts after his death while he waits to see if he has earned a spot in heaven. Or will he get thrown into the flames of hell, identical to trapeze swinging.

Verse 1 – What Does It Mean?

Please, remember me happily

By the rosebush laughing

With bruises on my chin, the time when

We counted every black car passing

Your house beneath the hill

And up until someone caught us in the kitchen

With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank

A vision too removed to mention

The song starts with the singer addressing his childhood friend and asking him to remember the artist happily now that he has passed away. He doesn’t want his friend to feel sad and recollects their time when they were happy, carefree, and a little mischievous in their adventures.

The singer is fond of their memories of laughing by the bushes and remembers how they are happy despite the bruises and cuts, keeping themselves entertained by counting the passing cars. He recalls their escape plans, with a map, mountain range, and piggy bank. The singer is reminiscent of the joyful phase of their life.

Verse 2 – What Does It Mean?

Image source

But please, remember me fondly

I heard from someone you’re still pretty

And then they went on to say

That the pearly gates

Had some eloquent graffiti

Like “We’ll meet again” and “Fuck the man”

And “Tell my mother not to worry”

And angels with their great handshakes

Were always done in such a hurry

In the second verse, the singer talks about the first girl he had a crush on and asks her to remember him affectionately. While he waits in for his fate, someone waiting with him shares with the singer that the girl still looks pretty to this day.

The same person also shared that the gates of Heaven have graffiti by other people who have been to the gates. The statements show their love for their near and dear ones and include messages about meeting again and asking their mom to take care. The singer also talks about dealing with the angels at the heaven gates, with rushed handshakes.

Verse 3 – What Does It Mean?

And please, remember me that Halloween

Making fools of all the neighbors

Our faces painted white

By midnight, we’d forgotten one another

And when the morning came I was ashamed

Only now it seems so silly

That season left the world and then returned

And now you’re lit up by the city

The verse addresses a close friend of the singer with whom he had a great time that one Halloween. Here Sam wants his friend to recollect the memories of the fun they had when they painted their faces white and played pranks on their neighbors.

Going through Trapeze Swinger lyrics meaning, the singer reflects on Halloween and recalls making a fool of themselves by dressing up as monkeys but ends up feeling ashamed the following morning. Now, as he waits at the gates of Heaven, the singer realizes his feelings of discomfort were unnecessary. As several years have passed, the singer notes that his friend is now living a good life in the city.

Verse 4 – What Does It Mean?

So please, remember me mistakenly

In the window of the tallest tower

Calling passers-by but much too high

To see the empty road at happy hour

Gleam and resonate, just like the gates

Around the holy kingdom

With words like “Lost and found” and “Don’t look down”

And “Someone save temptation”

The next verse is for the man who saw the singer jump out of a high window as he wants the stranger to remember him remorsefully. Right before jumping off, the singer was shouting at passers-by. But being on such a high floor made him incapable of seeing the empty roads when everyone enjoyed the happy hour.

The singer wants to share with the stranger that he is remorseful of his decision and advises him to live his life boldly with brightness and fearlessness. He offers spiritual guidance by recommending him to turn to the eternal mighty. The singer shares messages from the pearly gates of Heaven that read Lost and Found, Don’t Look Down, and Someone Save Temptation.

Verse 5 – What Does It Mean?

And please, remember me as in the dream

We had as rug-burned babies

Among the fallen trees and fast asleep

Beside the lions and the ladies

That called you what you like and even might

Give a gift for your behavior

A fleeting chance to see a trapeze

Swinger high as any savior

The singer then addresses God and begs him to remember his innocence and naivety in life when he was just a rug-burned baby. Here the singer implies that he is a harmless creature who has fast fallen asleep among fallen angels. He shares that he is unaware of the evil symbolized by lions and ladies, a synonym for sin in this world.

All the sinners in this world, including the singer, idolize God, calling Him by His desired names and performing sacred rituals to gain His blessings. However, we later learn that the worship of God was not for him. He compares the experience to trapeze swinging, where he experienced bouts of happiness, but they never lasted.

Verse 6 – What Does It Mean?

But please, remember me, my misery

And how it lost me all I wanted

Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains

The colored birds above their running

In circles around the well and where it spells

On the wall behind St. Peter

So bright, on cinder gray, in spray paint

“Who the hell can see forever?”

In the sixth verse, the singer tries to plead with Lucifer himself, explaining that he was never an evil person. He shared that his choice to end his life was because of the misery he suffered in life and, thereby, doesn’t deserve to go to hell.

Here the singer describes himself as an eccentric person running in circles without seeing the bigger picture in life. He mentions his mischievous activities instead of learning about the afterlife inside a church. He didn’t care about learning about hell, dismissing the need by quoting, “Who the hell can see forever?”

Verse 7 – What Does It Mean?

And please, remember me seldomly

In the car behind the carnival

My hand between your knees, you turned from me

And said, “The trapeze act was wonderful

But never meant to last”, the clown that passed

Saw me just come up with anger

When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot

Had an element of danger

When going through this verse to understand the Trapeze Swinger lyrics meaning, we see him talking to his lover and is asking her to remember him infrequently. Despite his love for her, he wants her to move on and find happiness in life after his death.

He remembers their time behind the carnival in his car, where she broke up with him. The singer again uses the trapeze metaphor, referring back to his lover’s statement where she said that their relationship was great, but just like the trapeze act, it was time to end. He recollects that after their breakup, his life grew miserable with all his decisions leading him towards bad influences.

Verse 8 – What Does It Mean?

So please, remember me finally

And all my uphill clawing

My dear, but if I make the pearly gates

I’ll do my best to make a drawing

Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl

An angel kissing on a sinner

A monkey and a man, a marching band

All around a frightened trapeze swinger

In the last verse, the singer collectively invites everyone in his life to remember him one last time. He wants everyone to remember all his attempts to turn his life around. Now the singer waits to learn whether or not he will get accepted past the pearly gates of Heaven.

However, the singer promises that if he gets accepted into Heaven, he will sketch a drawing of everyone. The list includes God, Lucifer, the singer’s first crush, his last girlfriend, his buddy with whom he dressed up like a monkey on Halloween, and the man who watched him die. Lastly, the singer shares that he constantly felt as if he was performing different roles surrounded by a marching band, just like a trapeze swinger.

Conclusion

The Trapeze Swinger is a song by American singer and songwriter Samuel Beams, also known as Iron & Wine. The artist composed the track in 2004 for the Paul Weitz-directed rom-com, In Good Company, and later decided to include the title in his compilation album released in 2009. While learning Trapeze Swinger lyrics meaning, the singer recollects his time on earth, walking through the memories of his loved ones.

Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation