When The War Came

Album: The Crane Wife (2006)
  • [Chorus]
    With all the grain of Babylon
    To cultivate, to make us strong
    And hidden here behind the walls
    Are shoulders wide and timber on
    'Til the war came
    'Til the war came

    A terrible autonomy
    Has grafted onto you and me
    Our trust put in the government
    They told their lies as heaven-sent
    'Til the war came
    'Til the war came


    And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul
    And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball
    And they're picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight
    When the war came, the war came hard

    We mae made our oath to Vavilov
    We'd not betray the solanum
    The acres of asteraceae
    To our own pangs of starvation
    When the war came
    When the war came


    With all the grain of Babylon
    With all the grain of Babylon Writer/s: COLIN MELOY
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 3

  • LegatoI used to think this was about WW1 especially with the lyrics "They're picking allies" and "with the poison cannonballs." Both of these seem to be misheard to me though cause the lyrics most people consider correct by an overwhelming margin say they actually say "they're picking out our eyes" and "with the poise of a cannonball". I still don't think that necessarily means its not about ww1, but it seems much more vague and not specific to ww1 imagery. I dont know if this is about Leningrad like mentioned above, but I imagine if Colin Meloy said thats what it is about then I must oblige. Im curious if he said something on the matter. I would think he would have somewhere at some point.
  • Mark from Austin, TxI love The Decemberists and this song, but...um...it kinda sounds exactly like Kashmir by Led Zeppelin. The first time I heard it, I thought they were covering Zeppelin. Another song on the album, The Perfect Crime, sounds almost exactly like Life During Wartime by the Talking Heads. (Mainly the riff at the beginning.)
  • Rustin from Waco, Tx"The last great book I read was Hunger by Elise Blackwell. It's about the siege of Leningrad in World War II, and there was a botanical institute. During the siege, which lasted a long time, the entire population were starving, but all of the botanists in the institute swore themselves to protect the catalog of seeds and plants and things, from not only a starving population, but also from themselves. It's pretty amazing. I actually ended up writing "When the War Came", a song on the new record, about that." - Colin Meloy
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dino Cazares of Fear Factory

Dino Cazares of Fear FactorySongwriter Interviews

The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.

Leslie West of Mountain

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

The Police

The PoliceFact or Fiction

Do their first three albums have French titles? Is "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" really meaningless? See if you can tell in this Fact or Fiction.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Todd Rundgren

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. Televangelists

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.