Carry Me Ohio – Nostalgia, Regret, and the Search for Redemption


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Sun Kil Moon's Carry Me Ohio at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Swift Current Through Time: The Lyrical River of Ohio
  5. The Heavy Blanket of Regret: Revisiting Lost Chances
  6. The Whispers of ‘Heal Her Soul’: A Call to Redemptive Grace
  7. The Hidden Meaning Behind the Midwestern Moon and Sun
  8. Unforgettable Verses: The Lingering Impact of Memorable Lines

Lyrics

I’m Sorry that
I could never love you back
I could never care enough
In these last days

Her tears
Fell on her pages found me well
On her words I don’t know what
To do or say

Wading through
Warm canals and pools clear blue
Where Tuscarawas flow into
The Great Lakes

Riding back
To where the highway met
Dead end tracks
The ground is now cement and glass
And far away

Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio

Green green youth
What about the sweetness we knew
What about what’s good what’s true
From those days

Can’t count to
All the lovers I’ve burned through
So why do I still burn for you
I can’t say

Sorry that
I could never love you back
I could never care enough in these last days

Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio

Children bless
And gather round the bed she rests
So poor and cold in their Midwest
Moon and sun

Flashes bringing on
My open eyes to lightning storm
The touch of mist felt soft, felt warm
On my face

Graving dreams
A million miles ago you seem
A star that I just don’t see
Anymore

Words long gone
Lost on journeys we walked on
Lost are voices heard along the way

Sorry for
Never going by your door
Never feeling love like that
Anymore

Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio

Full Lyrics

Mark Kozelek, the driving force behind Sun Kil Moon, crafts a haunting elegy with ‘Carry Me Ohio’, where the shimmering strings and his plaintive voice build a bridge to the past—imbued with a sense of loss, yearning, and the overwhelming weight of retrospection. Sun Kil Moon embarks on a sorrowful journey through the heartland’s fleeting memories and the fragmented self, with each verse opening up new avenues of poignant reflection.

More than just traces of his Ohio roots, ‘Carry Me Ohio’ delves into the complexities of Kozelek’s personal history. It’s a story about the inescapability of one’s origins and the bittersweet tang of hindsight. But to truly unpack the meaning woven into the song’s lyrics, one must plunge beneath the surface, traversing the familiar landscapes deeply etched in time’s relentless march.

A Swift Current Through Time: The Lyrical River of Ohio

Navigating through ‘Carry Me Ohio’ is akin to floating down the Tuscarawas River mentioned within the song itself—a tranquil yet unyielding flow through memory. As Kozelek reflects on his past, the water represents both the passage of time and the cleansing potential of introspection. There’s a beauty in the vivid imagery of warm canals and clear blue pools, a connection to the earth that’s now paved over, symbolic of changes both personal and environmental.

Such contrast between nature and man-made structures speaks to the alienation from one’s roots, and the physical embodiment of change in the world Kozelek once knew. The metamorphosis from soil to cement, from glass to faraway thoughts, encapsulates the transformation Kozelek himself has undergone.

The Heavy Blanket of Regret: Revisiting Lost Chances

‘I’m sorry that I could never love you back’, Kozelek confesses, unveiling the core theme of regret that reverberates throughout the piece. The admission is both an apology and a lament. It’s a recognition of one’s limitations and the missed opportunities to express affection when it mattered most. Kozelek confronts the listener with the heartache of hindsight—the silent aches of not caring enough when presented with the chance.

He hints at the cyclic pattern of fleeting relationships in ‘Can’t count to all the lovers I’ve burned through’, juxtaposing this personal tumult with the everlasting desire for a bygone love. The impermanence of his connections stands in stark opposition to the enduring connection he feels to Ohio, and the unshakeable longing for an elusive ‘green, green youth’.

The Whispers of ‘Heal Her Soul’: A Call to Redemptive Grace

The recurring line ‘Heal her soul, carry her, my angel, Ohio’ seems at once a prayer and a plea, directed at an entity beyond grasp—the listener, the memory of Ohio, or perhaps a higher power. It’s a seeking of absolution not only for the lover, but possibly for Kozelek himself. In artfully blending the personal with the spiritual, he fashions a sanctuary of sound for reconciliation and healing.

The phrase ‘carry her’ could emblemize a soul’s passage through trials, or even the transference of burdens from one character to another. Kozelek, both observer and protagonist, is appealing for a guarding presence to embrace the fragilities and histories that are too heavy for one to bear alone.

The Hidden Meaning Behind the Midwestern Moon and Sun

There’s a subtle invocation of Midwestern culture and family values as Kozelek paints a scene with ‘Children bless and gather round the bed she rests, so poor and cold in their Midwest’. The lyrics allude to a universal experience of hardship, familial love, and the simple, profound rituals of rural life. This imagery brings to life the regional ethos of Ohio, framing the song’s personal narrative against a backdrop of communal endurance and solace.

‘Flashes bringing on my open eyes to lightning storm’ encapsulates a moment of awakening—a stark realization amidst life’s tempest. These lines suggest the possibility of redemption, offering glimmers of hope even when dreams grow remote and the stars of one’s past become dim.

Unforgettable Verses: The Lingering Impact of Memorable Lines

‘Sorry for never going by your door’ conveys a haunted remorse that many listeners can relate to—the guilt associated with not reaching out, not taking that chance to reconnect, which is a universal sentiment of unfinished business. The feelings of a moment gone, without a knock on the door or a last expression of endearment, creates a ghostly presence of what was never shared.

It is lines like these—interwoven with Kozelek’s unique lyrical craftsmanship—that endow ‘Carry Me Ohio’ with its unforgettable character. Through his evocative storytelling, Kozelek doesn’t just reminisce; he touches on something intrinsically human: the way we cope with our paths and our desire to find meaning amid our recollections.

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