"The Riddle" as written by and Nik Kershaw....
I got two strong arms
Blessings of Babylon
With time to carry on
And try
For sins and alarms
So to America the brave
Wise men save

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of Aran
Goes around and around

And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you

I got plans for us
Nights in the scullery
And days instead of me
I only know what to discuss
Of for anything but light
Wise men fighting over you

It's not me you see
Pieces of valentine
With just a song of mine
To keep from burning history
Seasons of gasoline and gold
Wise men fold

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around

And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you

I got time to kill
Sly looks in corridors
Without a plan of yours
A blackbird sings on bluebird hill
Thanks to the calling of the wild
Wise men's child

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around

And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you


Lyrics submitted by sage_morphine, edited by eucalypt

"The Riddle" as written by Nik Kershaw

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Riddle song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI've read the lyrics haven't got any kind of meaning. tey were just 'some words' that Nik put together for getting out the music and making it listen to the producer. then, producer decided it was good enough and there was no other time for finish the work.... so it remained a 'riddle'
    seira70on September 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes - that's what I heard too, and from Nik's mouth on some 80s documentary a while ago. Much like Paul McCartney had "Scrambled Eggs" before "Yesterday", all Nik had was a tune, but the lyrics stayed (I don't think Yesterday would have survived as Scrambled Eggs somehow!)

    It all turned rather embarrassing for Nik though. Pressured on live radio for a "meaning" for the Riddle, he was forced into giving a "clue". The clue was Dada - the anti-artists from the early 20th century. I think he was basically trying to say that it was utter rubbish and had no meaning at all, which shows how he felt about Dada!
    honestfion January 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song may not have a meaning, but it does have implications.

    The first verse has references to being young, strong, powerful, imperial, but also impulsive and prone to make mistakes, "sins and false alarms".

    The chorus mentions age and with it being being stuck in one's ways, but still having a certain degree of accumulated wisdom and a more peaceful attitude.

    The second verse seems to be implying the stage of youth where one is focused on getting a career started, but perhaps making the mistake of neglecting the immediate and personal in favour of one's long term ambitions

    The third verse is still about foolishness, breaking hearts, chasing money, wasting resources, forgetting the past before returning to the old man in the chorus.

    The fourth verse is once again about youth, but this time about the potential of youth, the open ended possibilities when you haven't yet become set in your ways or pre-planned your course. But of course in the end we all become old and set in our ways, if we live long enough.

    Letmeinon February 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe reason why Nik claims it doesn't mean anything, is because the riddle is a description of a very specific location. Why describe a location so exact? One possible explanation is that it is a treasure map. If I was a famous singer I would love to hide treasures and see if my fans can solve it.
    Unfortunately the location is on an island in Ireland so it's a bit complicated for me to go there and see if there's anything buried...
    TreasureMasteron July 29, 2010   Link

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