• Kory James

The Gardener: Bury the Past to Fertilize the Future


Trying something new this Friday, a series I’ll continue every once in a while where I post a live cover and discuss what the song means (at least from my perspective).


Today I chose The Gardener by The Tallest Man on Earth. There are many interpretations of this darkly metaphoric song – some justifiably morbid – but in my eyes, babe, it has always been a song of redemption and self-overcoming.


In it, the narrator desperately seeks to come to terms with his past mistakes and current insecurities to become the best man he can be for the one he’s courting.


But over three upbeat verses, a series of snitchy beings come out of the woodwork threatening to expose who the narrator “really is”.


And so the narrator does as any nervous romantic would and MURDERS the would-be tattletales in cold blood. He then uses their corpses as flower fertilization in his garden.


Okay…so there’s the dark part.


Damn.


But here’s the thing – it’s not actual people he’s murdering. You see, the gossipers are symbolic projections of the narrator’s shame and insecurity. They embody his greatest mistakes and deepest fears.


To them, the narrator’s past choices make him undeserving of this newfound romance.


He’s been weak and disloyal.


He has lied.


He has hurt the people he loves.


But haven’t we all?


Instead of giving in to the past, the narrator opts for redemption. He silences the voices via metaphorical homicide and his garden soon blooms with beautiful rows of daisies, lilies, roses, and jasmine.


In the end, he and his lover dance through the graveyard garden with no worries in the world. The narrator realizes it was only by believing he could be a better man…that he became so.


P.S. I’ll be investing in a better computer cam so I can post a live video on the next one instead of this stupid stillframe.


Here are the lyrics:

I sense a runner in the garden, Although my judgement’s known to fail. Once built a steamboat in a meadow Cuz I'd forgotten how to sail.


I know the runner's going to tell you There ain't no cowboy in my hair. So now he's buried by the daisies So I could stay the tallest man in your eyes, babe.


I sense a spy up in the chimney From all the evidence I've burned. I guess he'll read it in the smoke now

And soon to ashes I'll return.


I know the spy is going to tell you It's not my flag up in the pole. So now he's buried by the lilies So I could stay forevermore in your eyes, babe.


I sense a leak inside my phone now From all the lies I have told. I know he has your private number And soon he'll make that vicious call.


I know the leak is going to tell you There ain't no puppy on your leash. So now he'll fertilize the roses So I could stay the king you see In your eyes, babe.


So now we're dancing through the garden And what a garden I have made. And, now that death will grow my jasmine, I find it soothing I'm afraid.


Now there is no need for suspicion. There ain't no fraud kissing your hand. I won't be lying when I tell you

That I'm a gardener, I'm a man.

In your eyes, babe.

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