Black Sails
Harry Nilsson Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Black sails in the moonlight
Black patch on your eye
You shiver your timbers, baby
And I'll shiver mine

A treasure map is hidden on your legs
Your veins are very close
Someday, I'll wrap my big yardarms around your legs

And sail away
I'll bury my heart on some island
And take you there someday to find it
I want you, I need you, I love you
No other man will ever reap your rays

Well, you're so veiny
You probably think this map belongs to you
But I'm so crazy, what can I do?
So raise the anchor




Hoist the canvas
Sail me to my heart

Overall Meaning

Harry Nilsson's song Black Sails is a pirate-inspired love song filled with metaphors and innuendo. The lyrics describe a swashbuckling adventure with the object of the singer's affection, who is also a pirate. The first verse talks about the appearance of the woman, who has a black patch on her eye and black sails in the moonlight. The singer talks about shivering his timbers and the woman shivering hers, which is a reference to a pirate's ship shaking during rough sea conditions.


The second verse reveals that the woman has a treasure map hidden on her legs and her veins are very close. This could be a reference to the woman's body being the treasure that the singer wants to discover. He talks about wrapping his big yardarms (a nautical term for a ship's arms used to hold up sails) around her legs and sailing away. The chorus talks about burying his heart on an island and taking her to find it someday. The singer wants this woman and loves her intensely, and he believes that no other man will ever reap her rays.


The final verse is filled with clever wordplay. The singer describes the woman as "so veiny" and she probably thinks the map belongs to her. The word "veiny" is a slang term to describe someone who is full of themselves or arrogant. The singer is admitting that he's crazy for this woman and wants to sail her to his heart. The song is an adventurous tale of love that's infused with pirates and nautical terms.


Line by Line Meaning

Black sails in the moonlight
The ship is setting sail under the cover of darkness.


Black patch on your eye
The woman is wearing an eyepatch, implying she may be a pirate or a lover of pirates.


You shiver your timbers, baby
The woman is showing off her physical prowess and strength.


And I'll shiver mine
The artist is implying that he is just as strong as the woman.


A treasure map is hidden on your legs
The woman's legs are a metaphor for a valuable treasure.


Your veins are very close
The singer is emphasizing the intimacy of the situation.


Someday, I'll wrap my big yardarms around your legs
The singer is suggesting that he will eventually embrace the woman's legs and take control of the situation.


And sail away
The artist is proposing that they leave their current situation behind and start a new life together.


I'll bury my heart on some island
The artist is going to leave his heart behind on an island, symbolizing his devotion to the woman.


And take you there someday to find it
The artist wants to share the experience of finding his heart with the woman he loves.


I want you, I need you, I love you
The singer is confessing his love and desire for the woman.


No other man will ever reap your rays
The artist is suggesting that he is the only one who can fully appreciate the woman's beauty and worth.


Well, you're so veiny
The singer is playing with the word 'veiny' to imply that the woman is covered in veins that resemble a treasure map.


You probably think this map belongs to you
The singer is teasing the woman, implying that she thinks she has the upper hand but he knows the truth.


But I'm so crazy, what can I do?
The singer is acknowledging that he may be acting irrationally because of his intense love for the woman.


So raise the anchor
The artist is ready to leave and start their new life together.


Hoist the canvas
The artist is encouraging the woman to take control of the ship and navigate their journey together.


Sail me to my heart
The singer is asking the woman to navigate them to the island where he has left his heart.




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS
Written by: HARRY NILSSON, HARRY EDWARD NILSSON

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Comments from YouTube:

mortensen egbert

(1:58) "You're so vain/you probably think this map belongs to you." NIce permutation on the Carly Simon song.

Ted Cassidy

Harry also claimed in a 1982 interview that he sang on "You're so Vain".

Marta Garczewska

Reallynice

Margaret Nash

❗👋👋💫🐺🤙💕🎶🕊🌊🌀🌈
🎈🎶🎈🥁👯SHEROS👯🎸🎶💥
🎓NILSSON👑☝😎👉🎯

Sr Ginger Ale

too boring...

John

Just listen to it again, and focus on the words, imagine being on the ocean with your sweetheart in the moonlight.

More Versions