"Dust" as written by and Elvis Costello....
If dust could only talk
What would we hear it say?
Before it's brushed aside
Just as it's swept away

It's just the evidence
It's of no consequence
It's only flesh and bone
Why don't we leave it alone?

If dust could only gather into lines of chalk
Around a silhouette detective fiction walks
For it's the only witness that can testify
Can I spit out the truth or would you rather just swallow a lie?

Why did they dam the land?
How did they flood the plain?
Did they erase the name
And wipe away the stain?
You kept your mouth well shut
Appeared to turn your coat
Now there's a name for you but it's stuck in my throat

If dust could only mutter
Or in laughter trill
If it could warn and whisper from the windowsill
For it's the only witness that can testify
Can I spit out the truth or would you rather just swallow a lie?

Here comes the juggernaut
Here come The Poisoners
They choke the life and land
And rob the joy from us
Why do they taste of sugar
When they are made of money?
Here come the Lamb of God
And the butcher's boy, Sonny

If dust could only gather in a needle track
Then it would skip a beat and it would jump right back
If dust could only gather in a needle track
Then it would skip a beat
And all the sense I lack


Lyrics submitted by typo

"...Dust" as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Dust song meanings
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    General CommentMaybe its due to my personal experience, but this song (and #2) suggests to me the realities of asbestos.

    The dust produced from the handling and use of a variety of asbestos products: to name a very few: chalkboards, brakes, cloth-clothing, walls, floors, irrigation pipes (flood the plain), transite walls (dam the land), etc.

    Asbestos dust causes the same results that EC mentions: getting caught in ones throat, causes hearts to skip a beat (esp relating to breathing), death by poisoning, etc.

    The "poisoners" are the companies that put the product out in the market, knowing the results that would come much later in life. The companies (yes Johns Manville, especially you but many others) tried to perpetuate the lie to customers, the government and companies the fiber was sold to that asbestos was not harmful, that it was merely overreaction even though the evidence has been around since the early 1900s.

    Many times in asbestos cases, most of the witnesses that could have testified have already died of mesothelioma, cancer, asbestosis, lymphoma, etc. Hence, the only witness to testify is the dust itself.

    Companies still try to deny the evidence and suggest that its no longer a problem since its banned in many countries. However, it is still in the buildings, houses, cars, equipment that were built prior to the 21st century. Even today asbestos is merely imported to other countries without bans and we get products here in the US with asbestos whether the evidence is apparent or not. Trace the path of the sales and you will find the evidence.

    This might not have been EC's intent but thats what this song means to me.

    Retton August 07, 2009   Link

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