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   >> Interpretation
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Strawman
(acolyte)
12/19/05 06:11 PM
Eight Line Poem  

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room
The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws
They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home
But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky



What's it about?

I've a rough idea, but I feel it's only fair for others to have a bash with their interpretations first.


My Way

LadyGravedigger
(stardust savant)
12/20/05 12:17 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

I wish I had something really smart to say about this... But all I can say is that every time I hear the part "The mobile spins to its collision" I think of a mobile phone spinning on a table. I know they didn't even exist when Bowie wrote the song, but I just can't get rid of the image in my head.

But if you're gonna dine with them cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you're gonna get eaten

Shelle
(crash course raver)
12/20/05 02:07 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

It's "thoughtful", not "tactful", waxy ears.

He'll have you wrestling midgets in border towns for ten percent of the net.


Pablo-Picasso
(stardust savant)
12/20/05 02:08 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Shelle]  

Tactful.



to_dizzy
(electric tomato)
12/23/05 08:09 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

This song is about the evil of tearing down nature to build cities.

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room

Here we have the personification of a cactus; we now empathize with nature as if it had human traits. This cactus has a home, plenty of space, and is cared for.

The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws

Here, a mobile, typically made of sheet metal and wire, symbolizes industrial machinery. As it crashes and bangs, it scares the natural animals in the environment.

They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home

The cacti will lose their homes when the city goes up.

But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky

Here, "key" symbolizes authority, that which has the power to open doors. Bowie is saying that although nature is seemingly conquered by the concrete, the real power remains with what is natural: the sun, the sky, the branches.

There is no room for other interpretation of this poem. What I have said is fact.






Strawman
(acolyte)
12/23/05 09:06 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

This song is about the evil of tearing down nature to build cities.

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room

Here we have the personification of a cactus; we now empathize with nature as if it had human traits. This cactus has a home, plenty of space, and is cared for.

The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws

Here, a mobile, typically made of sheet metal and wire, symbolizes industrial machinery. As it crashes and bangs, it scares the natural animals in the environment.

They've opened shops down West side
Will all the cacti find a home

The cacti will lose their homes when the city goes up.

But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky

Here, "key" symbolizes authority, that which has the power to open doors. Bowie is saying that although nature is seemingly conquered by the concrete, the real power remains with what is natural: the sun, the sky, the branches.

There is no room for other interpretation of this poem. What I have said is fact.



Further enhancing the fact that the interpretation of Bowie numbers makes for great comedy.





um bongo

to_dizzy
(electric tomato)
12/25/05 11:38 AM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: Strawman]  

In reply to:

Further enhancing the fact that the interpretation of Bowie numbers makes for great comedy


I did not mean this to be funny. Please notice the juxtaposition of:

cactus, prairie, home, sun, branches, sky

against

mobile, city, shops, collision

Answer these questions:
Why would Bowie personify cactus?

Why would Bowie contrast an image of a cactus surveying its home in a prairie, against cacti made homeless by the construction of shops?

Truly, the theme of this poem is that materialism and technology destroys what is natural and pure. The theme is continued in Five Years, Diamond Dogs, and Young Americans



Strawman
(acolyte)
12/26/05 02:32 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  



um bongo

zigbot
(stardust savant)
12/28/05 02:51 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

Why would Bowie personify cactus?

Why would Bowie contrast an image of a cactus surveying its home in a prairie, against cacti made homeless by the construction of shops?


Um . . . maybe he was, like, really wasted and imagining what life would be like seen through the eyes of a cactus . . . well, if a cactus had eyes that is.

I like your interpretation, sam, but I think Bowie just may have been feeling a bit forelorn . . . and high . . . and there was a transference of emotions to the cactus.

Also, I never saw the building of shops as taking away the natural environment of the cacti--in part because I did not envision this scene of this room in a terrain hospitable to cacti. I just couldn't see Bowie in say, Arizona or New Mexico (well, not until TMWFTE, at least ;)). I pictured a place where cacti were NOT part of the natural environment. Yet, oddly, all these shops in the city were selling all sorts of odd shit--like cactci--and Bowie was wondering out loud if all the cacti (and perhaps all the other shit sold in these shops) will ever find a home. Is there a market out there for all the fucking cacti?


zigbot

PaisleyPinUp
(absolute beginner )
12/28/05 03:00 PM
Re: Eight Line Poem new [re: to_dizzy]  

I know, from growing up with musicians and songwriters, that sometimes people just use words that "sound nice", however stupid that may sound. Some songs were never meant to mean anything. Novels too. remember in high school when they'd make you find all the symbols in the books? The authors would kill you if they knew you were doing that. It's sort of like Dylan's song, The Hour that the Ship Comes in, a song about being denied a hotel room, and then people use it as a civil rights song....it works, but that's not what it was written for. sorry, I will stop talking and drag myself over to the Bob Dylan forum now...nice interpretation though, very thoughtfully argued.




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