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I was following the pack
All swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
To keep their little heads
From fallin' in the snow
And I turned 'round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
And turn the white snow red as strawberries
In the summertime...

[Repeat]



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/f/fleet_foxes/white_winter_hymnal_lyrics.html

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  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredJan 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm
    Read the sleeve notes guys; it's all there! Just a song about childhood memory being modified by a photograph of the remembered scene.
  • U
    UnregisteredNov 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm
    Interpretations are all over the place. The song seems to be a practice of modern art where as we look at the piece (the lyrics) we interpret it how we want. Whatever meaning you derive from it is what real and important to you. The words fit the melody? Maybe. Perhaps nothing more than that, yet the plethera (yes... Plethera) of attempts is colorful and vast. Fleet foxes just provided us the canvas, we are doing the painting, as it were... Is it intentional? I don't know.
  • a
    angelochMar 6, 2011 at 3:33 am
    it is good to see that this wonderful song has made people think. and clearly those that replied to the question are relating it to personal experience or interest. that is what art, whether it be music, painting, writing, or otherwise should do.

    just keep thinking.
  • t
    ThaBigDawgMar 19, 2009 at 1:12 pm
    According to Jo Whiley Coyote, it's about a friend of theirs, Michael, who got caught up in gang culture.

    "I was following the pack
    All swallowed in their coats"

    Kids in hoodies.

    "With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
    To keep their little heads
    From fallin' in the snow"

    Wearing their gang colours, so other gang members will recognise them and not 'blow their heads off'.

    "And I turned 'round and there you go"

    One minute you're my friend, the next you've gone and joined the gang.

    "And, Michael, you would fall
    And turn the white snow red as strawberries
    In the summertime..."

    Michael was stabbed/shot, his blood colouring the snow a bright red as he bled to death.

    RIP Michael.
  • s
    squarepegFeb 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm
    It seems to have a much more ordinary meaning to me - I picture a class of small school children, who have been watching the snow fall from the classroom. Break time arrives and, in their excitement, they all go charging out, with the narrator "following the pack". "Swallowed in their coats" refers to the small size of the children, wrapped up in their bulky winter coats with the scarves of red perhaps being part of the school uniform. The scarves are tied tightly to protect them from the cold, so tightly that it seems that they have been pulled tight to "stop their little heads from falling in the snow". "I turned around and there you go" conjures up images of the narrator, himself a young child in the song turning to throw a snowball at his friend, Michael, who falls as he tries to avoid it. As the snowball hits, Michael suffers a burst nose dripping blood onto the snow. The metaphor of "strawberries in the summertime", to me, shows that while something unpleasant has happened, the boys are having fun and Michael sees this accidental injury as part of the fun, not something to get upset about.

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