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O Children
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don't even want to let them start

They're knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They're mopping up the butcher's floor
Of your broken little hearts

(Oh, children)
Forgive us now for what we've done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag

(Oh, children)
(Lift up your voice, lift up your voice)
(Children)
(Rejoice, rejoice)

Come on
Come on
Come on
Come on
Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They're gathering round with all my friends
We're older now, and the light is dim
And you are only just beginning

Oh, children
We have the answer to all your fears
It's short, it's simple, it's crystal-clear
It's roundabout and it's somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings

(Oh, children)
(Lift up your voice, lift up your voice)
(Children)
(Rejoice, rejoice)

The cleaners have done their job on you
They're hip to it, man, they're in the groove
They've hosed you down, you're good as new
And they're lining up to inspect you

Oh children
Poor old Jim's white as a ghost
He's found the answer that we lost
We're all weeping now, weeping because
There ain't nothing we can do to protect you

(Oh, children)
(Lift up your voice, lift up your voice)
(Children)
(Rejoice, rejoice)

(Hey little train, we're jumping on)
(The train that goes to the Kingdom)
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
And the train ain't even left the station

(Hey, little train, wait for me)
(I once was blind but now I see)
And have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?

(Hey little train, wait for me)
(I was held in chains but now I'm free)
I'm hanging in there, don't you see?
In this process of elimination

(Hey little train, we're jumping on)
(The train that goes to the Kingdom)
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun (children)
It's beyond my wildest expectation (oh, children)

(Hey little train, we're jumping on)
(The train that goes to the Kingdom)
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
The train ain't even left the station (oh, children)
(Hey, little train, wait for me)
(I once was blind but now I see)

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds's song "O Children" are dark and ominous, reflecting on the destructive nature of society towards children. The song starts with the singer asking for a gun to protect themselves from the "cleaners" who are coming to "measure the room" and "mop up the butcher's floor of your broken little hearts." The cleaners are symbolic of society's tendency to erase the emotional trauma of children and move on without addressing the root of the problem. The chorus begins with the singer asking for forgiveness for what they have done to the children, acknowledging that it all started as a bit of fun. They then hand over the keys to the gulag, which represents the system of oppression that keeps children trapped.


The singer then describes how they and their friends are older now, and the light is dim, while the children are only just beginning. They claim to have the answer to all their fears, which is "short, simple, and crystal-clear," but lost amongst their winnings. This refers to the way society tends to prioritize material success over emotional well-being. The cleaners are then described as having done their job on the children, hosing them down and inspecting them. Poor old Jim is white as a ghost, having found the answer they lost. The song ends with the chorus repeating, "Hey little train, we're jumping on, the train that goes to the Kingdom," representing the children's hopes for a better future, while acknowledging the obstacles that stand in their way.


Line by Line Meaning

Pass me that lovely little gun My dear, my darling one The cleaners are coming, one by one You don't even want to let them start
The singer is asking their loved one to hand them a gun since the cleaners are coming to clean up their mess. They advise their loved one not to resist.


They're knocking now upon your door They measure the room, they know the score They're mopping up the butcher's floor Of your broken little hearts
The cleaners have arrived and are knocking on the door. They know exactly what happened and are here to clean up the mess that was made of the singer's and their loved one's broken hearts.


(Oh, children) Forgive us now for what we've done It started out as a bit of fun Here, take these before we run away The keys to the gulag
The singer asks for forgiveness from the children and admits that what they did was wrong. They give them the keys to a place where they can find refuge and a place to be safe.


(Oh, children) (Lift up your voice, lift up your voice) (Children) (Rejoice, rejoice)
The artist wants the children to have hope and to lift their voices up in joy and celebration.


Come on Come on Come on Come on Here comes Frank and poor old Jim They're gathering round with all my friends We're older now, and the light is dim And you are only just beginning
The artist and their friends, who are getting old, are gathering around the children. They acknowledge that they are growing old while the children are only just beginning their journey in life.


Oh, children We have the answer to all your fears It's short, it's simple, it's crystal-clear It's roundabout and it's somewhere here Lost amongst our winnings
The singer reassures the children that they have an answer to all their fears. It's something simple, but not easily found. It is hidden amongst the singer's past victories.


The cleaners have done their job on you They're hip to it, man, they're in the groove They've hosed you down, you're good as new And they're lining up to inspect you
The cleaners have done their job and have cleaned up the children. They are pleased with their work and are lining up to inspect the children.


Oh children Poor old Jim's white as a ghost He's found the answer that we lost We're all weeping now, weeping because There ain't nothing we can do to protect you
One of the artist's friends, Jim, is distressed and has found something that the artist had lost. They all weep because they realize that they cannot protect the children from the harsh realities of life.


(Hey little train, we're jumping on) (The train that goes to the Kingdom) We're happy, Ma, we're having fun And the train ain't even left the station
The artist and friends are jumping on a train that they believe will take them to a better place. They are excited and happy despite the fact that they haven't even left yet.


(Hey, little train, wait for me) (I once was blind but now I see) And have you left a seat for me? Is that such a stretch of the imagination?
The artist asks the train to wait for them and they express how they can see clearly now, despite being blind before. They ask if there is still a place for them on the train, hoping it's not too late to join the journey.


(Hey little train, wait for me) (I was held in chains but now I'm free) I'm hanging in there, don't you see? In this process of elimination
The singer again asks the train to wait and states that they were once held captive but are now free. They are still holding on tight and trying to make it through difficult times.


(Hey little train, we're jumping on) (The train that goes to the Kingdom) We're happy, Ma, we're having fun (children) It's beyond my wildest expectation (oh, children)
The artist and their friends are still excited, jumping on the train and making their way towards a place they believe to be better. They are beyond happy and amazed that their wildest dreams have come true.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management
Written by: Nicholas Edward Cave

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@MistaBaZ

@@antoniuerdei724 It could mean different things, depending on the listener. What the artist meant could very well be different from what many take away from it.

"Hey little train, we're jumpin on... the train that goes to the kingdom."

To some, that can be interpreted as greeting death with a bit of rejoice, possibly because of the idea of reconnecting with a lost loved one or being released from suffering. "I once was blind, but now I see"

The verses that came before it were very melancholy and dark. Yet, in between each was that brief reprieve where children sang "o children, lift up your voice", which could very well be a warning as well as a call for kids to stand up. At the end of such somber verses to transition into that powerful chorus, which everyone returns to this video for, I hear two things:

First is the possibility that everyone died in the story leading up to it and, as said, are reconnecting in the afterlife. "Have you left a seat for me"

Second is the possibility of overcoming all that strife and hardship, even if barely, and being able to leave it all behind. They're rejoicing, they're alive. "Was held in chains, but now i'm free"



@joehajj5823

Lyrics:
Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don’t even want to let them start
They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They’re mopping up the butcher’s floor
Of your broken little hearts
O children
Forgive us now for what we’ve done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice
Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They’re gathering round with all my friends
We’re older now, the light is dim
And you are only just beginning
O children
We have the answer to all your fears
It’s short, it’s simple, it’s crystal clear
It’s round about, it’s somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice
The cleaners have done their job on you
They’re hip to it, man, they’re in the groove
They’ve hosed you down, you’re good as new
They’re lining up to inspect you
O children
Poor old Jim’s white as a ghost
He’s found the answer that was lost
We’re all weeping now, weeping because
There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you
O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice
Hey little train!We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station
Hey, little train!Wait for me!
I once was blind but now I see
Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?
Hey little train!Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination
Hey little train!We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
It’s beyond my wildest expectation
Hey little train!We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station



All comments from YouTube:

@condo4048

Dumbledore said "happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light" so Harry and Hermione did just that

@unkindmankind3693

Ahhhhhhh

@ralmnsrii

aw🥺🥺

@mf_star_girl

True.

@myron4445

i love their friendship

@sko-6391

Omg 😢

128 More Replies...

@veronicarotin6817

The love I have for Harry Potter is so strong that it hurts.

@tanyakiforishina9702

same

@rhi6145

SAme, it takes over my life. Not complaining though

@lanalazic6550

How I relate to this

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