"Seven Stones" as written by Peter Gabriel, Anthony Banks, Steven Hackett and Michael Rutherford....
I heard the old man tell his tale:

Tinker, alone within a storm,
And losing hope he clears the leaves beneath a tree,
Seven stones
Lay on the ground.
Within the seventh house a friend was found.
And the changes of no consequence will pick up the reins from nowhere.

Sailors, in peril on the sea,
Amongst the waves a rock looms nearer, and not yet seen.
They see a gull
Flying by.
The Captain turns the boat and he asks not why.
And the changes of no consequence will pick up the reins from nowhere.
Nowhere.

Despair that tires the world brings the old man laughter.
The laughter of the world only grieves him,
Believe him,
The old man's guide is chance.

I heard the old man tell his tale:

Farmer, who knows not when to sow,
Consults the old man clutching money in his hand.
And with a shrug,
The old man smiled,
Took the money, left the farmer wild.
And the changes of no consequence will pick up the reins from nowhere.
Nowhere.

Despair that tires the world brings the old man laughter.
The laughter of the world only grieves him, believe him,
The old man's guide is chance.


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Seven Stones" as written by Michael Rutherford Anthony Banks

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Seven Stones song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentEasily one of the most underrated and forgotten classical Genesis tunes. Listen to it. You won't be disappointed.
    egypt123on January 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCould Tinker be a name? Anyways, what I gather from this brilliant song is that life is unpredictable, seemingly by chance, but it will work out in the end.

    In the first verse, it seems that the man is going through a rough time in his life, a "storm". He takes a walk and sits under a tree to think about his life. When he clears away the leaves, there are 7 stones. Thinking something like "what have I to lose?", he goes to the 7th house where he lives and meets a friend to help him through his problems.

    The old man is possibly the captain in verse 2. He sees a seagull and follows it, not knowing that he narrowly avoids crashing.

    In verse 3, the old man has learned that life should not be taken so seriously, but at the same time, it should not be taken too lightly.

    In verse 4 a young farmer comes to the old man, assuming the old man can help him with farming. Before seeing if the old man really knows anything, he gives him money. The old man smiles and walks away.

    ledtheater9on May 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Torrey Canyon was a supertanker capable of carrying a cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil, which was shipwrecked off the western coast of Cornwall, England in March 1967 causing an environmental disaster.
    On 18 March 1967, owing to a navigational error, the Torrey Canyon oil tanker struck Pollard's Rock on Seven Stones reef between the Cornish mainland and the Scilly Isles. An inquiry in Liberia, where the ship was registered, found Shipmaster Pastrengo Rugiati was to blame, because he took a shortcut to save time in getting to Milford Haven.



    TheProgmasteron August 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThe lyric is about superstition and cynicism.
    It's human nature to look for associations between events and the superstitious will find links where logically, none can exist.
    The repeated line "the changes of no consequence will pick up the reins from nowhere" simply warns against letting "signs" (changes of no consequence) guide you (pick up the reins).
    The bitter old man exploits the gullibility of those who take his stories of luck at face value and assume he has the wisdom to advise. In fact his wisdom is only that some things ARE just chance.
    Quite a bleak lyric really, but a great song.

    Anyhow, a stone flung up by a passing car struck my windshield this morning. Didn't break it! I wouldn't normally, but I'm off to buy a lottery ticket. I mean, today's obviously my lucky day. Right?
    fazerideron November 26, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the second verse, I think the captain turns the boat and avoids crashing into the rock. When he sees the gull he knows there must be land somewhere near, thats why "He asks not why".

    The rhyme they repeat is And the changes of no consequence will pick up the reins from nowhere.
    Meaning if you don't derive consequences of what is happening to you and don't do something about it, the reins of your fate/life will be picked from nowhere. I think its about knowing consciously where you're going and what your aim is. Otherwise life will just lead you from one disaster to another
    Ashtray-girlon October 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI perceive the "old man" to be Fate, or some external force (a very cynical one, rather often) that guides the folly or men. Fate has taught the sailors to pay attention to where the seagull flies, as this portends of rocks below the water's surface in the near distance. Fate (perhaps to some, God) can also be cruel. The "farmer", acting on good faith, provides cash to the "old man" with the expectation that the old man will provide a benevolent service. In the farmer's case, however, the old man takes the money and leaves the farmer "wild".

    Someone help me out. Is there a historical reference to "Seven Stones"? Seven certainly is a significant number in the Bible, especially as pertains to the subject of prophecy, but I know of nothing which ties seven stones directly or indirectly into relevance as regards these accounts of the fickle nature of an often malevolent and often, as well, beneficent "old man". Help me out if you have insights that might lead us to a clue! Thanks, fellow Genesisters and brothers!
    glen douglon November 02, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, and a tinker is one from seventeenth or eighteenth century England who repairs things, like kettles and pots, made of metal. I refer you to the legend of Sir John Barleycorn by Robert Burns and the lyrics of the eponymous song by Traffic. "And the tinker he can't mend kettle or pots, without a little barleycorn".
    glen douglon November 02, 2016   Link

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