Letter from Belgium
On "Letter from Belgium"


We Shall All Be Healed




the Mountain Goats



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Letter from Belgium is the fourth song on the album We Shall All Be Healed. It was first released as an EP, along with the B-sides "Nova Scotia" and "Attention All Pickpockets."


Martin calls to say he's sending old electrical equipment
That's good: we can always use some more electrical equipment

In the cold clear light of day down here
Everyone's a monster
That's cool with all of us
We've been past the point of help since early April

Susan and her notebook
Freehand drawings of Lon Chaney
Blueprints for geodesic domes
Recipes for cake

Yeah we're all here
Chewing our tongues off
Waiting for the fever to break

When we walk out in the sunlight we tell everyone we know it hurts our eyes
When the real reason we don't like it is that it makes us wonder if we're dying

And Martin's found an old trunk full of stage makeup in the basement
And he's sending it along, we can always use more makeup
Yeah, more creams and powders

And Carrie's got the feeling
That the people next door
Will close in like a wolf pack
Should we make one small mistake

Yeah we're all here
Chewing our tongues off
Waiting for the fever to break

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "You may have a friend or two who, uh, of whom you were fond in high school.... you knew a guy, a total creative dude, right? Very nice, intelligent, smart dude, living out there on the edge, introducing you to music that you maybe might not have heard without this dude, right? And, uh, it's always a dude, by the way, um, so -- well, it is, I mean, because the women don't become junkies until a bit later, as a rule. So, you know, and then one day, after high school, you have forgotten about dude, you know -- I mean, you remember him from time to time, looking at the yearbook, 'Oh, I remember, I wonder what happened to that guy?' and then he shows up at your door because he needs ten dollars. 'Man, I didn't even hang out with you. I know you from, like, you know, wood shop class...' But anyway, he shows up to borrow money from you, and he's got this very earnest manner, that sort of seems like a very natural thing for him to do, you know. 'Hey, how you been?' And you immediately buy into that. You go, 'Oh, I'm fine, and you?' instead of 'I haven't seen you in four years and I barely know you.' 'Hey, how's it going, Jim?' Jim says, 'Ah, man, it's kind of rough, I totally need ten dollars.' And later, when you're considering what might have gone down with the ten dollars, you know, that parted ways with you when Jim left, uh, you wonder whether he plotted this whole scheme out or whether he's just a genius of improvisation. This is a song populated by a multiplicity of Jims, and it's called 'Letter from Belgium.'" -- 2010-04-11 - The Zoo - Brisbane, Australia
  • "This is a song about some friends of mine who liked methamphetamine too much." -- 2017-12-04 - Harvester Performance Center - Rocky Mount, VA

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

  • Lon Chaney was an American film actor who appeared in many early silent horror films.

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit