PJ Harvey - Seem an I LYRICS


PJ Harvey - Seem an I LYRICS


Bedraggled angels blethered 

across Eleven Acres

as belling from the bwoneyard

a-rangled round the archet

Her fingernails a-ripped

from hauling clay-filled fists

out of the river’s edges

for pots with happy voices

Conzum-ed with twanketen

that’s only eased by scratching

whisp-words slim as thistles

or a sickly chicken’s whistles

Seem an I a childhood

of quartere’il and wormwood

of not-friends running nowhere

of vog a-veiling elsewhere

Till in the vaulted barn

queer-lit by dummet zun

she knew herself a vessel 

fit for a different wordle

where footsteps must be lwone

and barefoot upon stones

and the northwind’s ever-host

gives edges to the ghosts

Seem an I a childhood

of quartere’il and wormwood

of not-friends running nowhere

of vog a-veiling elsewhere

of mother’s voice not-calling

of corrugated iron

of devil’s birds and whiskey              

of chilver hogs and fleecy

and nuts I could not reapy

and nuts I could not reapy


The song depicts a woman's fragmented memories of a challenging childhood. Images like "bedraggled angels," "hauling clay-filled fists," and "not-friends running nowhere" paint a picture of isolation and hardship. The "vaulted barn" becomes a pivotal point where she envisions a different, "lwone" and "barefoot" future.

Main Theme:

The song explores themes of self-discovery, yearning for belonging, and the desire to escape a difficult past.

Key Words and Meanings:

  • Eleven Acres: A specific location, possibly significant to the woman's memories.
  • bwoneyard: Graveyard.
  • archet: An arc or curve.
  • quartere’il: Possibly a dialect variation of "quarrel" or "quarantine," suggesting hardship or isolation.
  • wormwood: A bitter herb, symbolic of hardship and suffering.
  • vog: A thick fog, representing obscurity or concealment.
  • dummet zun: Dim light, creating an unsettling atmosphere.
  • wordle: World, suggesting a desire for a different reality.
  • lwone: Lone, emphasizing solitude.
  • northwind's ever-host: The chilling presence of the north wind, possibly symbolizing the harshness of the past.
  • chilver hogs: Wild boars, potentially representing a sense of danger or threat.
  • fleecy: Soft and woolly, possibly contrasting with the harsh realities described.
  • reapy: Reap, suggesting a yearning for something unattainable.

Emotional Analysis:

The song evokes a sense of melancholy, longing, and a desire for escape. The repetitive phrase "Seem an I" adds a sense of searching and questioning one's identity.

Narrative and Core:

The entire song lyrically builds the story and conveys its essence.

Psychological Analysis:

The song hints at the psychological impact of a difficult childhood, potentially leaving the woman feeling isolated and yearning for a different life.

Overall Message:

"Seem an I" explores the complexities of overcoming a challenging past and finding one's place in the world. It portrays the struggle for self-discovery and the bittersweet hope for a brighter future.


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