They disembarked in 45
And no-one spoke and no-one smiled
There were to many spaces in the line.
Gathered at the cenotaph
All agreed with the hand on heart
To sheath the sacrificial Knifes.
But now
She stands upon Southampton dock
With her handkerchief
And her summer frock clings
To her wet body in the rain.
In quiet desperation knuckles
White upon the slippery reins
She bravely waves the boys Goodbye again.

And still the dark stain spreads between
His shoulder blades.
A mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves.
And when the fight was over
We spent what they had made.
But in the bottom of our hearts
We felt the final cut.



Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Southampton Dock" as written by Roger Waters

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Southampton Dock song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:From what I understand, this song, in its entirity, is about how the Western Powers, particularly the U.S. and the U.K., squandered the peace and prosperity that the soldiers of World War II - like Eric Fletcher Waters - fought and died to achieve for future generations.

    The first stanza is about the bittersweet return of British soldiers to London, "gathering at the Cenotaph" (the memorial to the Glorious Dead in the middle of town) and agreeing to "sheath the sacrificial knives" (ie: never take up arms again).

    The second stanza is a severe indictment of Margaret Thatcher, holding her accountable for the breaking of this sacred trust forged between the noble generation that sacrificed their lives to fight Fascism, and our own, by "waving the boys goodbye again" as they go to fight to retain the Falklands for Queen and Country.

    Her condition of "quiet desperation / knuckles white upon the slippery reins" (ie: reins of power) evokes an image of a Chief Executive willing to go to war and sacrifice many lives and many billions of dollars in order to keep in power.
    Antedeuson January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:about sending a loved boy/husband off to war... the woman/family is not willing for them to leave but has to do their duty helping and giving their part to the war.. this album is a very TOUCHING album... one of PINK FLOYDS greatests!
    pinkfloyd_atreyuon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:At least someone (Antedeus) seems to know what they're talking about.
    karkarinuson August 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:yep. im pretty sure Antedeus knows whats going on.

    Anyway, its a great song
    Crazy_Diamondon April 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:This song competes with A New Machine for the worst vocals of any PF song. Easily the worst on the album (one of PF's worst, though not at all bad, which is saying something) except for Not Now John, which was just unnecessary.

    Antedeus understands the song.
    inpraiseoffollyon May 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i think this song is ok, fits the theme of the Final Cut well but not my favorite off the album, Wouldnt say it has the worst vocals though.
    Id give it a 7/10...meh!
    *JoSIe*on September 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:ithis song gives me goosebumps
    sambennallickon January 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:The live version that Roger does on In the Flesh is so anthemic. Better than the studio one by far.
    Masked Mouseon January 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:1:08

    Gives Me GOOSEBUMPS!!!!

    It touches me so mush for some reason. Dunno why...
    icy_bass_claron June 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:It all makes sense, Antedeus seems to get it. But saying she's in "quiet desperation" (referencing the dark side of the moon lyric) makes her seem like a more sympathetic figure. Could just be an innocent women whose witnessed too many wars.
    Does anyone know what the meaning of
    "and still the dark stain spreads between
    his shoulder blades" is?
    LEFon October 27, 2008   Link

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