Lost in the Woods

Any of Hozier’s songs could be easily argued as poetry. He weaves lyrical metaphors together in a way few other artists can match, especially in his song “In the Woods Somewhere” from his album Hozier. The song could be interpreted in many ways, but I have always thought that it was detailing someone grappling with whether to continue living after his love has died.

The most obvious device that Hozier uses to convey this struggle is the extended metaphor of the woods. The woods represent his own mind; he is lost in his subconscious as he hovers between life and death. Hozier enhances this metaphor with descriptions heavily reliant on auditory and tactile imagery:

The moon still hung

The night so black

That the darkness hummed

This vivid picture Hozier paints of a forbidding forest helps set up the ominous tone of the song. Throughout it, these dangerous woods call to the speaker:

An awful noise filled the air

I heard a scream

In the woods somewhere

The speaker’s internal conflict is tearing him apart, and the mysterious noises coming at him from his surroundings parallel his fear of his undecided fate. His confusion grows as he ventures deeper into the woods, as if falling farther into his despair.

The speaker quickly realizes that, though he thought the scream was human, it actually came from a fox:

A fox it was

He shook, afraid

I spoke no words, no sound he made

The symbolism of the fox is no doubt intentional; foxes are traditionally representations of tricks and deceit, so it seems to be encouraging the speaker’s overwhelming desire to follow his love into death. He knows that he shouldn’t, but this part of his mind is compelling him to run towards her and let himself go.

The speaker then sees that the fox has been attacked, and he decides to put it out of its misery, much as he wishes to do with himself. However, he changes his mind right as he’s about to do so, realizing that the creature that hurt the fox is coming for him as well:

The creature lunged

I turned and ran

To save a life I didn’t have

The fox has led the speaker right into the path of death, and until this moment, the speaker has been complicit in his own deceit. This is the moment, though, that he changes his perspective, realizing that he values his own life too much to give up:

Dear, in the chase

There as I flew

Forgot all prayers

Of joining you

(Hozier also uses a bit of wordplay in these lyrics, using “Dear” to connect it back to his lost love instead of “deer” like in the original saying.)

The speaker finally flees the forest, choosing to see what the rest of his life has in store for him. He has chosen to live with the grief of losing his love, rather than allowing himself to be overtaken by it. Hozier brings the metaphor to a close at the end of the song, as the speaker recognizes how he changed after finding his way out of his mind, saying:

How many years

I know I’ll bear

I found something

In the woods somewhere

3 thoughts on “Lost in the Woods

  1. Katie V.

    This is a really good post. Hozier’s songs are definitely poetry. He uses metaphors very well in them. This one sounds particularly beautiful. I liked how you talked about how he closes the metaphor at the end.

    Like

  2. Sonia Z

    It’s so wonderful how he is able to describe such an intense story in so few words. It’s also interesting to follow his patterns such as his very short sentences and lines. Hozier is definitely poetry, loved the arguments you made.

    Like

  3. Vivian P

    I was going to choose a Hozier song but I honestly couldn’t decide on which one to choose. All his lyrics are so illustrative and convey the most specific feelings. Thank you for defending him as a poet.

    Like

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