The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land
plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky:
a man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers
but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking

He's haunted by the memory of a lost paradise
in his youth or a dream, he can't be precise
he's chained forever to a world that's departed
It's not enough, It's not enough

His blood has frozen & curdled with fright
his knees have trembled & given way in the night
his hand has weakened at the moment of truth
his step has faltered

One world, one soul
Time pass, the river roll

And he talks to the river of lost love and dedication
and silent replies that swirl invitation
flow dark and troubled to an oily sea
a grim intimation of what is to be

There's an unceasing wind that blows through this night
and there's dust in my eyes, that blinds my sight
and silence that speaks so much louder than words
of promises broken.



Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by hcannon


Sorrow song meanings
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58 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:This is definitely one of their most poetic songs, right up there with "Echoes." And the solo is heart wrenching.
    Paradoxon March 14, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:A nice work ... by David Gilmour ... his voice is God gifted . Whenever I listen this song I remember my friend Nasir who is a big fan of David Gilmour and the group Pink Floyd.I agree with paradox ...solo is heart wrenching .
    avion December 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:It always irritates me to see people say that David Gilmour is a bad lyricist. If you have ever seen a Pink Floyd show, you can see the precision this band has. I have only ever seen ONE recorded error at a Pink Floyd show, and it was David losing his place in the lyrics! Why would a person that precise about music show anything less than perfect precision in his lyrics?
    This song is exactly what it says it is about.... The sorrow a man feels due to having screwed up at something he felt strongly about, and due to the massive male ego, it has paralyzed him to the point where he can't get on with the living of his life. I've seen it happen dozens of times in my life!

    "The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land
    plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky:
    a man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers
    but awakes to a morning with no reason for waking"

    This is the great heavy burden of a man who has given up- who sees no point in going on. He sees his entire life as having gone up in smoke, and while he dreams (Dreams almost always represent PRAYER) of a beautiful and fertile life available to others, he doesn't see it in his own life...

    He's haunted by the memory of a lost paradise
    in his youth or a dream, he can't be precise
    he's chained forever to a world that's departed
    It's not enough, It's not enough

    He sees the memory of a mistake he has made that he thinks is irrevokable- lost love he cannnot regain- and although he isn't sure EXACTLY when it all fell apart, he is sure in his heart that it HAS fallen and left his grasp forever- Something that to the male ego is just unacceptable as an out come. It can never be repaired, so it has ruined everything he held dear forever- nothing can be recovered- He should have TRIED harder.

    His blood has frozen & curled with fright (The word should be "curdled"- as in milk)
    his knees have trembled & given way in the night
    his hand has weakened at the moment of truth
    his step has faltered

    Again re-iterating that at the very MOMENT he could have succeeded in his quest, his strength gave out, he crumpled under the weight of the burden, he FAILED, miss-stepped, and fell flat on his face, causing him a shame that he cannot regain his ground.

    One world, one soul
    Time pass, the river roll

    He had ONE chance... ONE lifetime, and he blew it so badly that he now spends the rest of his life treading water, waiting to die.

    And he talks to the river of lost love and dedication
    and silent replies that swirl invitation
    flow dark and troubled to any oily sea
    a grim intimation of what is to be

    He sits as life passes him by and relives his defeat over and over, never realizing that while he sits their torturing himself the river that he sees as his life keeps passing by, ending in a death of disgrace that didn't have to be, but he sees as terminal, with no other possible outcome.

    There's an unceasing wind that blows through this night
    and there's dust in my eyes, that blinds my sight
    and silence that speaks so much louder than words
    of promises broken.

    Whatever mistake or infidelity he has caused has left him completely blinded to any other outcome. his fragile male ego KEEPS him disabled, blind, legless, and unable to move forward. The silence of his own self-inflicted solitude has left him incapable of moving forward in any way. Due to one failure in his life, he has lost the will to go forward.

    The reason I use "male" ego, is that women are not afforded the aability to wallow in self pity and just quit- It is the women of the world who have to carry on, regardless of our miss-steps, misfortune, and broken hearts. We have to brush ourselves off, raise the children, and nurture the world in order for life to continue. Women very rarely get the opportunity of just giving up on life... Women's egos are not influenced to be the most invaluable piece of our existence. That is only a choice open to the Alpha males, whose job is to sow the seeds, and not neccesarily tend the gardens of moving forward.
    gr00vyleeon July 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:an amaing intro.
    oigreson June 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I second oigres on that one. This song has such a beautifully haunting feeling to it as well.
    ZeeQuickon July 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I agree with you all. This song is very good.
    gillianjenkinson January 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I believe this song is about realizing your going to die
    its an incredible song, haunting beutifull.
    jefrotullon March 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:'Haunted by the memories of a lost paradise.' Let's see what we can do as the human race to prevent these potentialy prophetic words.

    A few of the words above are due a re-wording. Demau can probably edit just a wee bit. Dogs of War is ahead of this on the album. I hope it's not that way in the future. All the tracks were read in order on alternate radio the week of,.........9 letters in Pink Floyd and 11 tracks of 1987's AMLOR.

    Great David Gilmour and his guitar's magic wonders!
    Malaria_Kiddon March 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:One world, one soul
    Time pass, the river roll

    :

    one world, one person
    time goes on, life goes on
    nirvanaentity013on July 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:lost my love, lost my life, not much left to live for except a meaningless existence of sorts which is mandatory...good thing there is this song...or id be down to zero...not far from it anyways.
    gofigure000on September 09, 2005   Link

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