"The Sleepwalkers" as written by and Peter Hammill....
At night, this mindless army, ranks unbroken by dissent,
Is moved into action and their pace does not relent.
In step, with great precision, these dancers of the night
Advance against the darkness. How implacable their might!
Eyes un-dulled by moon, their arms and legs akimbo,
They walk and live, hoping soon to surface from this limbo.
Their minds, anticipating the dawn of the day,
Shall never know what's waiting mere insight away.
Too far, too soon.

Senses dimmed in semi-sentience, only wheeling through this plane,
Only seeing fragmented images prematurely curtailed by the brain,
But breathing, living, knowing in some measure at least
The soul which roots the matter of both Beauty and the Beast.
From what tooth or claw does murder spring,
From what flesh and blood does passion?
Both cut through the air with the pendulum's swing
In deadly but delicate fashion.
And every range of feeling is there in the dream
And every logic's reeling in the force of the scream
The senses sting.
And though I may be dreaming and reality stalls
I only know the meaning of sight and that's all
And that's nothing.

The columns of the night advance,
Infectiously, their cryptic dance
Gathers converts to the fold
In time the whole raw world
Will pace these same steps on
Into the same bitter end.

Somnolent muster now the dancing dead
Forsake the shelter of their secure beds,
Awaken to a slumber whose depths they dread,
As if the ground they tread
Would give way
Beneath the solemn weight of their conception.
I'd search the hidden corners of all this world,
Make reason of the sensory whorl
If I only had time,
But soon the dream is ended.

Tonight, before you lay down to the sweetness of your sleep
Do you question your surrender to the drop from Lover's Leap
Or does the anesthetic darkness take hold on its very own?
Does your body rise in service with not one dissenting groan?
These waking dreams of life and death
In the mirror are twisted and buckled,
Lashes flicker, a catch of breath,
Skin whitening at the knuckles.
The army of sleepwalkers shake their limbs and are loose
And though I am a talker, I can phrase no excuse
Not to rise again.
In the chorus of the nighttime I belong
And I, like you, must dance to that moonlight song
And in the end I too must pay the cost of this life.
If all is lost none is known
And how could we lose what we've never owned?
Oh, I'd search out every knowledge that I could find,
Unravel all the mysteries of mind,
If I only had time,
If I only had time,
But soon my time is ended.

Lyrics submitted by inpraiseoffolly

"The Sleepwalkers" as written by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Sleepwalkers song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentzombie apocalypse?
    Aquatarkuson October 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo - not Zombies. It's about what the unconcious mind gets up to. It's one of Hammill's more recurring themes.

    This song to me was the high point of the second era Van der Graaf Generator. With Hammill playing rhythm guitar, Jaxson seemed to take affront and fills the song with so much sax that you can hardly hear the guitar! He would have been playing two saxes - taped together so that both mouthpieces were properly positioned and one hand on each set of keys. This was to get the thickness of tone and in order to play simple chords. I've never heard anyone else do this.
    PBAon June 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSleepwalking through life until rudely awoken by death. Lemmings revisited. Great song.
    Dobbo1on August 24, 2016   Link

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