"Scorched Earth" as written by and Jackson Hammill....
Just one crazy moment while the dice are cast,
He looks into the future and remembers what is past,
Wonders what he's doing on this battlefield,
Shrugs to his shadow, impatient, too proud yet to kneel.

In his wake he leaves scorched earth and work in vain;
Smoke drifts up behind him, he is free again,
Free to run before the onslaught of a deadly foe,
Leaving nothing fit for pillage, hardly leaving home.
It's far too late to turn, unless it's to stone.
Charging madly forward, tracks across the snow,
Wind screams madness to him, ever on he goes
Leaving spoor to mark his passage, trace his weary climb.
Cross the moor and make the headland
Stumbling, wayward, blind.
In the end his footprints extend as one single line.

This latest exponent of heresy is goaded into an attack,
Persuaded to charge at his enemy.
Too late, he knows it is, too late now to turn back,
Too soon by far to falter.
The past sits uneasily at his rear,
He's walking right into the trap,
Surrounded, but striving through will and fear.
Ahead of him he knows there waits an ambuscade
But the dice slip through his fingers
And he's living from day to day,
Carrying his world around upon his back,
Leaving nothing behind but the tell-tale of his track.

He will not be hostage, he will not be slave,
No snare of past can trap him, though the future may.
Still he runs and burns behind him in advanced retreat;
Still his life remains unfettered, he denies defeat.
It's far too late to turn, unless it's to stone.
Leave the past to burn, at least that's been his own.

Scorched earth, that's all that's left when he's done;
Holding nothing but beholden to no-one,
Claiming nothing, out of no false pride, he survives.
Snow tracks are all that's left to be seen
Of a man who entered the course of a dream,
Claiming nothing but the life he's known
This, at least, has been his own.

Lyrics submitted by inpraiseoffolly

"Scorched Earth" as written by Jackson Hammill

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Scorched Earth song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentPeter Hammill is a genius lyricist, no question. I think this song is about not giving in to a dull work life, not signing up with the man. This is a recurring theme with Hammill, that it is better to plough a lone true furrow through life rather than put on a suit, take the money and give in to corporate lifestyle, even at such a cost..
    Paul825on April 11, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI feel very much like the protagonist has trouble dealing with his future, though he is damn sure he can't go back to how it was (the scorched earth).
    His future is cloudy however, and he realises he can't control it: "the dice slip through his fingers". He still has a hard time dealing with it though.
    Jurgenrapon September 17, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFree will versus predestination is a recurring theme in Hammill's lyrics - Flight is a good example; The Comet, the Course, the Tail is another. Scorched Earth provides another exposition of this paradox of human existence, set in the graphic tale of a fugitive burning all behind him as he fights to preserve his individual existence against an implacable foe.
    Dobbo1on August 07, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI so love this song, but it is too vague to tag a definitive meaning to it without Peter Hammill helping out interpreting his song. Sadly he seldom does.... The bastard. Leaving us fans guessing like we do now.
    MrWillowon December 25, 2017   Link
  • -2
    General CommentThis song is about smoking weed.
    progggon August 08, 2012   Link

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