"The Carnival is Over" as written by and Lisa/perry Gerrard....
Outside
The storm clouds gathering,
Moved silently along the dusty boulevard.
Where flowers turning crane their fragile necks
So they can in turn
Reach up and kiss the sky.

They are driven by a strange desire
Unseen by the human eye
Someone is calling.

I remember when you held my hand
In the park we would play when the circus came to town.
Look! Over here.

Outside
The circus gathering
Moved silently along the rainswept boulevard.
The procession moved on the shouting is over
The fabulous freaks are leaving town.

They are driven by a strange desire
Unseen by the human eye.
The carnival is over

We sat and watched
As the moon rose again
For the very first time.



Lyrics submitted by Driftwood Girl, edited by VoVoVoioVoVoV

"The Carnival Is Over" as written by Lisa Germaine Gerrard Brendan Michael Perry

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Carnival Is Over song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI think it not a somber tune but of melancholy. So many things when we are young we take for granted as to why they do what they do. Man, animal, flora, fauna keep this world moving around us and at first we merely accept and do not ponder as to why. But when we slow down we begin to wonder what drives people to acts of selfless kindness or frightened anger. What motivates the flower to follow the sun or the 'fabulous freaks' of the carnival to continue on, often in a physically demanding, risky job with little pay or comforts. Simply the drive to perform? The 'strange desires' that propel them strike us all with wonder. Upon this sort of reflection, I think, something as common as seeing the moon rise, can feel like seeing ti for the first time.
    FurrowedBron March 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds like reminiscence. Very nostalgic. Could either be about someone he once loved or the past in general.
    Lateralus518on March 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's strange, but I heard this song first in 1994 when the cruelties in Rwanda were at the peak and tenthousands of people were killed every day. I had to stop my car to breathe, so appropriate it was.
    Storm clouds gathering: Something gloomy going to happen. Driven by a strange desire: The unexplainable drive to kill fellow men. As for the word carnival, we could read carnage.
    Of course they didn't mean it like this, but personally it will remain connected
    KrakonosNLon June 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song at first glance could be about an accual carnival, but having heard many Dead Can Dance songs, I find it hard to take any of their lyrics so literally. I feel this is about those non conformist, unconventionally, don't give a fuck what the world thinks types of people who exist as they please, who say to hell with the mainstream.
    {They are driven by a strange desire
    Unseen by the human eye
    Someone is calling.}

    Whatever motivates them to be as unique as they are, it is also what makes them who they are, what eventually defines them...society doesn't define them, they are above that)

    The song is about people who are different who some may define as freaks, but are accually some of the most beatiful & expressionate souls one could ever meet.
    {The fabulous freaks are leaving town.

    They are driven by a strange desire
    Unseen by the human eye.
    The carinval is over.}
    Moonlapse_Vertigoon February 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy interpretaion of this song is that Brian is recalling a lost love or a time tattooed into his memory of why he loves the one he is with. Either they are no longer together or they are having troubled times: "Outside, the storm clouds gathering moved silently along the dusty boulevard" this lyric fragment, other lyrics in the song and the song title I think are a metaphor for this great moment in time they shared moving on to another pair, another town. So that others can feel the same kind of happiness and love...
    BrokenImperfecton October 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBrokenImperfect - I think you are correct 100%. I feel the exact same way abotu this song and its meaning. I adore DcD.
    floridasmbon April 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have not much idea what this song is 'about' but I love it - it does something to me.

    I love the refrain. Guessing that the key to the song has someting to do with that refrain being applied to both flowers and circus freaks. There's something that ties them together. Moonlapse Vertigo (above) might be onto something. Maybe the singer sees something splendidly natural in the circus people, mysterious and strange though they seem.

    Yeah, can't really comment on what it might be a metaphor for, if at all. But the line 'driven by a strange desire' sticks with me.
    meudwenon May 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHm, or is the 'they' in the first refrain referring to the stormclouds, not the flowers?
    meudwenon May 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentin my opinion, it's about life in general, how instinctual it is to form a routine, and our ability to observe and appreciate beginnings and endings.
    nutopia101on May 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Procession moves on, the shouting is over" is from the Joy Division song "The Eternal"
    autoerraticaon October 12, 2010   Link

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