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Johanna drove slowly into the city
The Hudson River all filled with snow
She spied the ring on His Honor's finger
Oh-oh-oh

A thousand years in one piece of silver
She took it from his lilywhite hand
Showed no fear – she'd seen the thing
In the Young Men's Wing at Sloan-Kettering

Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH

Ay-ay-ay-ay
Ay-ay-ay

His Honor drove southward seeking exotica
Down to the Pueblo huts of New Mexico
Cut his teeth on turquoise harmonicas
Oh-oh-oh

I saw Johanna down in the subway
She took an apartment in Washington Heights
Half of the ring lies here with me
But the other half's at the bottom of the sea

Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH

Ay-ay-ay-ay
Ay-ay-ay-ay



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/v/vampire_weekend/a_punk.html

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  • d
    +2
    DJLoONaJun 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm
    it's about an ex-wife johanna
    hence the reference to the ring
    she's driving away, far away
    your honor=judge...divorce court perhaps?
    raincoats=rainy days, sadness and lonely
    she's driving to discover herself perhaps...the ring is with him because its their wedding ring, the other is at the bottom of the sea, she probably threw it away
    referring to the judge who is going to new mexico
    it is probably showing his hypocrisy about the ideas of marriage for he is probably cheating on his wife...
    idk, thats just what i think
  • p
    +2
    petemufc1999Jun 15, 2008 at 11:07 pm
    A girl called johanna leaves him who (maybe they were marired and she throw the ring into the sea..) half is with him the otehr halfs in the bottom of the sea... Its a very up beat and fast tempo song so gove the feel of happyness but its filled with sorrow.. i dont really no VW songs really dont have much (100% correct meaning) as there lyrics are not always linked so its really just hoew you feel the song.

    You get me and VIVA RONALDo
  • U
    0
    UnregisteredApr 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm
    Johanna took the ring from his honor while he was dying in sloan kettering from cancer. The ring has a great deal of history (1000 years) and meaning (maybe johanna recognizes the ring's significance), which his honor never understood (he simply acquired it on one of his trips seeking "exotica"). Maybe the reference to half of the ring being with at the bottom of the sea means that part of its meaning is forever lost to history but part of its meaning remains with johanna. I think the song is about recognizing the real value of things--johanna (who is not a wealthy person) recognizes the true value of the ring (its historical significance), where as his honor (a rich guy) sees it only as a silver trinket he got on one of his vacations.
  • U
    0
    UnregisteredNov 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    It's definetly dark to be so cheery! I agree the man with the ring originally is dead and she took it from his finger. However, i think something works in there that she was partnered with the singer and they sold the ring and split the money. He has his half but the other half is at the bottom of the sea? Maybe he killed her? I don't know...

    They must have some meaning. You can't just write a song with absolutely no meaning unless you just randomly string words together.
  • m
    0
    mymansinterclawsJan 6, 2010 at 1:39 am
    I don't think the song is about divorce at all. Sloan-Kettering is a leader in cancer research and she pulls the ring from his pale white hand because he's dead. Most hospitals have children's wings so I wonder if the young man's wing is a play on words with that. Half the ring lies with him wherever he's buried and he talks about her moving on like he is watching over her. Not sure how the honor plays in, maybe that was his dad? I think the first two verses chronologically should be switched. Like Hemmingway's stream of consciousness she's at his funeral, sees the ring and then remembers him dying.

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