Nick visited Morocco in March 1967 after visiting Aix. Clothes Of Sand was recorded in November 1968 so chronologically fits with the Morocco visit being its inspiration. According to accounts from his co-travellers, it was...
Who has dressed you in strange clothes of sand
Who has taken you far from my land
Who has said that my sayings were wrong
And who will say that I stayed much too long?

Clothes of sand have covered your face
Given you meaning, taken my place
So make your way on down to the sea
Something has taken you so far from me.

Does it now seem worth all the colour of skies
To see the earth through painted eyes
To look through panes of shaded glass
See the stains of winter's grass.

Can you now return to from where you came
Try to burn your changing name
Or with silver spoons and coloured light
Will you worship moons in winter's night.

Clothes of sand have covered your face
Given you meaning but taken my place
So make your way on down to the sea
Something has taken you so far from me.

Lyrics submitted by lumosnox90, edited by Ziwdon, papple

Clothes Of Sand song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI only know Renato Russo's version, which I love. To me, this is a song about death, the death of someone he loved. To be dressed in clothes of sand means to be buried. To be taken far from my land (land of the living) and he "stayed much too long" (wished to die to be close to that person again).

    "clothes of sand have covered your face" - again, an allusion to be buried;

    "given you meaning but taken my place" - We tend to give value to people after they die, not always noticing it when they're alive. But it "took his place", he cannot have her anymore.
    Driftwood Girlon January 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentopps! sorry for the broken link...…
    jrochaon September 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'd say it's lamenting a female loved one's conversion to Islam.
    DaFaceon March 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is definitely about lament Daface but I believe that it is more about his lsd experience than anything...that website above is a nice resource but i think he fails to look too indepth at the meanings of the words in a singular sense rather than looking at this beautiful poem holistically. "does it now seem worth the color of skies/ see the air through painted eyes" this appears to me be a clear reference to lsd and also the main point of the song...clothes of sand elicits an image so magnificent at the same time so fitting to the meaning of the song..the ever changing personalities we inhabit have a way of distorting our perception of the world...he is wondering if these new perspectives are worth the trouble he has to go through and is it all worth it in the end.."will you worship moons and winter nights" which to me is a clear reference to his battle with depression...i hate to mention the lsd because so many people want to distill beautiful lyrics with imaginative metaphors to simple drug references...the meaning should be interpreted however you feel it should be which makes everyones responses valid and makes songs like this so universal in their nick drake is a genius
    DiscoDannyon July 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationObviously, to many artists - specially those from the sixties -, the use of drugs is reflected somehow in their creation. But Nick Drake wasn't the kind of artist who wrote about drug addiction or usage, he was a poet, he studied literature.

    His concern about the meaning, the placement, the rhymes and, mainly, the feelings of every single word in his compositions, was too big for him just write about some drug experience.

    Nick Drake is not the kind of artist who writes about concrete things or about the everyday, even figuratively,

    I think this song is about God and the humankind. who, in general, turned away from the Promissed Land.

    Morocco is on North Africa, but in the opposite side of the Middle East. Not so far geographically, indeed, but still far, thinking about the "promissed land".

    Think about it, the different societies which developed for thousands of years at the middle east - with own policies, economics, religions, etc - became the most influential societies in the ocident, this societys beliefs and thoughts spread out.

    But for that happened, the people of the Middle East had to move away from the land. In this process many changes occured in the relationship between man and God, some habits had to adapt to new societies, distancing the human of the "proverbs".

    The trip to Morocco just influenced Nick Drake to thought about it, I dont think he is talking about islamism - the biggest in Morocco - or other religion. (I want to be clear)

    It's about the principle of religion.

    "Sand" can be undestanded as lie, the illusions of the world. The misbelief caused by the distance between man and divine teachings.

    Clothes of sand covered the mankind face, taking out the senses and making it conceited. The song is about vanity.

    To undestands the "conceit", just remember the irony on the need "to paint eyes to see colored skies", or when the speaker questions if the listener would abandon the vanity burning his mundane identity and trying to worship again the wonders of divinity path with "colored lights" and "silver spoons" - which is a direct reference to vanity.

    The "shaded glass" line is about the futile attempt to see through something that does not offer sight, just the mirage of "stains of winter's grass" - the hope in the end of affliction, remembering, he was depressed.

    I think I covered the whole song and it's fine to undestand. I'm not a religious one and, for aught I know, NIck Drake wasn't too, but I think it is an insight, a beautiful insight, that is not tied to the God and "promisse land" (divinity) interpretation, but is an allusion to the detachment and the addiction in the material and vanity.
    rafchliszton June 04, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read somewhere that Nick wrote this song after visiting the middle east and that it might not be specifically about someone just about the general feel there and colthes of sand would be all the coverings that muslim women have to wear....
    lumosnox90on June 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe line is actually "try to burn you're changing name."
    nushion September 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI found myself this resource on the WEB:… written by Nigel Davies.
    It's a good source to Nick's music.
    jrochaon July 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby the way, i forgot to mention: i'm working on my portuguese version of this song. maybe i'll put it out someday.
    jrochaon July 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfinally, i'm done with my version. you can watch it here:…

    jrochaon September 09, 2007   Link

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