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The Wrong Child Lyrics

Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Green

(Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe)



I've watched the children come and go
A late long march into spring
I sit and watch those children
Jump in the tall grass
Leap the sprinkler
Walk in the ground
Bicycle clothespin spokes
The sound the smell of swingset hands

I will try to sing a happy song
I'll try and make a happy game to play
Come play with me I whispered to my new found friend
Tell me what it's like to go outside
I've never been
Tell me what it's like to just go outside
I've never been
And I never will

I'm not supposed to be like this
I'm not supposed to be like this
But it's okay

Hey, those kids are looking at me
I told my friend myself
Those kids are looking at me
They're laughing and they're running over here
They're laughing and they're running over here
What do I do?
What can I do?
What should I do?
What do I say?
What can I say?

I said I'm not supposed to be like this
Let's try to find a happy game to play
Let's try to find a happy game to play
I'm not supposed to be like this
But it's okay, okay

Comments/Interpretations

by Awakening on 10/16/2019 4:54am
My thoughts regarding the meaning of this song have changed since it was released. The wrong child is an autistic child that is misunderstood by the other kids and has overprotective parent(s). The sensory references match the way an autistic child experiences the world ( the smell of swing-set hands); he watches the others play and wants to be like everyone else. He will always view the world as an observer. Quite insightful lyrics that also have some link to Stipe’s own insecurities about being in the public eye. Stipe is an Empath that feels everything with intensity including the feelings of others. At some time we have all been the “ wrong child”; an observer not a participant longing for inclusion.








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