In Kate Rusby's cryptic folk song "Awkward Annie" (on the album by the same name) what is happening? It seems to be something about a farm-boy who gives a farm-girl presents of various animals, and she ruins them somehow, either out of ineptitude, to reject him by rejecting and ruining his presents, or both.

The chorus runs:

"Oh Annie let me in, / I will fly, I will swim, / I will die if you don't come near me, / Oh no, don't you say so, / You are my dear, My Annie"

I can't even tell if this chorus is all the lovesick-farmboy speaking (or maybe thinking), or if it's a dialogue between him and Annie. If it's all him talking, then, when he says "Oh no, don't you say so"--what is he responding to?

Even considering that it could be a metaphor for the collapse of her first marriage or something (and isn't her middle name Anna?), it's still hard to understand.

BTW I think Kate Rusby is a great singer, and I like many of the lyrics she writes. But some of her original songs I find off-puttingly cryptic, sometimes even jarringly cryptic.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Rusby - Yes her middle name is Anna. I can't find anything official explaining the lyrics but my guess is that it's semi autobiographical on how She was feeling during and after her divorce.
    – Pat Dobson
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


It is a simple song of unrequited love as depicted from the point of view of the farmboy. It occupies themes common within folk songs, as exemplified by songs such Soldier, Soldier, Won't You Marry Me and Ally Croaker, which Kate Rusby has transposed to a homestead community.

This supported by an interview where Rusby says:

I set aside a month to sit down and write. It's a lovely way of working. The story came from something I'd read in my ballad books, then my own words that didn't make sense at first started coming out. I'm not the kind of person who will get up in the middle of the night if a thought comes to me, but I will sometimes stay up as late as three or four o'clock to work on something if I'm excited about it. If I have an idea and still remember it in the morning, I carry on with it.

There's nothing in the song which could be interpreted as a metaphor for divorce. "Awkward Annie" is a song of unrequited love, a love that never was and was never returned. It is not, and should not be read as, a break up song.

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