"Dominoes" as written by and Syd Barrett....
It's an idea, someday
In my tears, my dreams
Don't you want to see her proof?
Life that comes of no harm
You and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by

You and I in place
Wasting time on dominoes
A day so dark, so warm
Life that comes of no harm
You and I and dominoes, time goes by

Fireworks and heat, someday
Hold a shell, a stick or play
Overheard a lark today
Losing when my mind's astray
Don't you want to know with your pretty hair
Stretch your hand, glad feel,
In an echo for your way.

It's an idea, someday

It's an idea, someday
In my tears, my dreams
Don't you want to see her proof?
Life that comes of no harm
You and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by


Lyrics submitted by longgoodnight

"Dominoes" as written by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Dominoes song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThis is, like most of Syd's songs,a song very open to a kinds of interpretations.
    For some reason I don't think this song is necessarily about syd, but about someone else. I think I understand the gist, here's my line by line interpretation:

    It's an idea, someday
    He is fantasizing about doing something someday...

    In my tears, my dreams
    He is so depressed/lonely that he dreams up an imaginary girlfriend(next line).

    Don't you want to see her proof?
    She's real, want me to show her to you? (obviously she doesn't exist though, she is the dream)

    Life that comes of no harm
    You and I, you and I and dominoes, the day goes by
    I think he is just picturing the life they would have together, at peace, not arguing, just playing dominoes. "Dominoes" almost gives it a sort of childish feel. Almost backing up the whole imaginary friend thing.

    You and I in place
    Wasting time on dominoes
    More picturing, in place means that it's "perfect".

    A day so dark, so warm
    Life that comes of no harm
    You and I and dominoes, time goes by
    In my mind i picture the scene as being very serene and gloomy, maybe raining outside, but he and his imaginary friend are inside playing... so dark, so warm.

    Fireworks and heat, someday
    I think this confirms that they are children. "fireworks and heat" symbolizes, umm perhaps the more adult stages of a relationship..but then comes the word "someday" as if that isn't even a possibility at the moment.

    Hold a shell, a stick or play
    more proof that they are children.

    Overheard a lark today
    Losing when my mind's astray

    I think this describes the boy playing with his imaginary friend, the boy loses attention focusing on the lark so the imaginary friend wins the game. But now the song is taking place in the present! today right? so not only is he actually just imagining her in his mind, she is actually there now, a figment of his imagination.

    Don't you want to know with your pretty hair
    Stretch your hand, glad feel,
    In an echo for your way.

    I think here the imaginary friend is talking to him.
    "don't you want to know if I am real or not"
    the imaginary friend asks him to stretch and feel,to touch her to check if she's real. to check if she actually occupies space, that she is not just his vision.

    in an echo for your way is like:"well, you want me to be real don't you? so if you originally dreamed me up to be real(echo), how come you don't want to check, check that your dream has come true?"
    But the fact that the imaginary friend actually asks the boy to feel her, says something about the boy doesn't it? deep down he knows she is not actually real but just an illusion, feeling her space would only confirm that, so he decides not to, just to hold on to the slightest hope that she might actually be real.
    bissmarkon December 19, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd love to hear anyone else's comments on this. I love this song so much. I even love when Robyn Hitchcock sings it in the video made about Syd and it's about to start raining outside.
    scatterishon January 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah i agree, this is an awesome song. prolly the best from barretts 2nd cd (along with baby lem). the others are a bit too obscure for me
    teriion March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song too, though I haven't a clue what it's actually about. It sounds kind of like a wasted rainy day inside, hanging out with his girl. But there are so many lines that I don't understand. Well, it's probably meant that way. No matter, it's a great song.
    sortileguson December 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think its about yearning for a quieter simple life, settling down with a loved one and just wasting time together - The song is him suggesting this notion to his lover... Perhaps
    teddavis29on April 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the way the drums sound in this song. Two different drum beats. One in the left speaker and one in the right speaker.
    jugheadchadon June 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's pretty clearly about whiling away time.
    "It's an idea," and "someday" are things one might say if they are dreaming stuff up to do, but not actually ever doing them. For if you and I remain "in place," then we could have a "life that comes of no harm."
    laddcuratoron December 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSyd's amazing. I think it's meant to be fairly simple about simple life. The song was recorded amazingly. I think the guitar part is played backwards while the drums are normal.
    simentfon September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy take on this:

    "don't you want to see her proof?" = why believe in a God that won't reveal herself?
    "life that comes of no harm" = I'm a good person just biding my time

    "Fireworks and heat" = hell
    "Hold a shell, a stick, or play" = hide in a shell out of fear, beat the people who believe in hell in the head with a big stick, or just have fun while you still have a chance... before your eternal punishment

    the next lines = well, he's made his choice!

    I wonder if the lark reference is a reference to Shakespeare's sonnet 29. Syd liked to write songs about writing songs, and that is what sonnet 29 is.... a triple-entendre about religion, being a writer for a living, and writing sonnets as a primary source of joy. The "lark" from the sonnet "sings hymns outside heaven's gates" or something like that.

    The whole fun of Syd's music is even if you think I'm wrong, you won't sound like any less of a jackass with your explanation. :)
    steve82con February 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEither that or the lark reference could be from the 1909 poem "The Lark Ascending" which is a Christian poem about spirituality. I know Syd liked the early 1900's poets (James Joyce, for example.... see "Golden Hair").
    steve82con February 09, 2009   Link

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