"Child of Dust" as written by Dustin Michael Kensrue, Edward Carrington Breckenridge, James Riley Breckenridge and Teppei Teranishi....
Dear prodigal you are my son and I
Supplied you not your spirit, but your shape.
All Eden's wealth arrayed before your eyes,
I fathomed not you wanted to escape.

And though I only ever gave you love,
Like every child you've chosen to rebel.
Uprooted flowers and filled the holes with blood,
Ask not for whom they toll, the solemn bells.

A child of dust, to mother now return,
For every seed must die before it grows.
And though above the world may toil and turn,
No prying spades will find you here below.

Now safe beneath their wisdom and their feet
Here I will teach you truly how to sleep.


Lyrics submitted by jmguindon1

"Child of Dust" as written by Edward Carrington Breckenridge Dustin Michael Kensrue

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Child of Dust song meanings
Add your thoughts

69 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General Commenti think its somewhat from the earth's POV, but at the same time its from God's POV, in such a way that God and the Earth are closely related (maybe being God the father and earth the mother, i dont know).

    the prodigal son is one who leaves his family (like the parable of the prodigal son), and it's saying "i gave you eden, which is paradise, and i can't fathom why you would want to escape"

    then, like all children, man disobeyed god, was thrown out of eden, and ever since has been destroying the earth (uprooted flowers).

    finally, he is saying that upon man's death, their body returns to the mother (like the bible says - dust to dust), for man must die before he grows (in a going-to-heaven growth kind of way), and no prying spade will find him below because he is now in heaven (i suppose they might find the body, but not the soul).
    welbutronon April 13, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think the Irony of how the song ends is that this song is being sung by men who are returning to the earth (being buried inside it by the end of the song).
    It says that only after death and loosing all their "worldly" possessions they have finally come to the realization of the utter dominance over and direct connection Earth has on us.
    Just as their "Silver Wings" song from the Air segment so beautifully and painfully tries to appeal to man even though it is mankind that is in need of Air and not the other way around. And we are the ones killing the Air with our smoke and pollutants.
    Termieon October 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo is this supposed to be the earth conversing with man? It seems that the earth is saying towards the end that all life must end and man is now dying. Earth will show man how to sleep for eternity. And at the last part of the song my version gets muffled more and more as it comes to the end. Is it supposed to be the sound maybe of someone being burried? In the making of videos I saw them recording a shovel digging into the ground. Is this what they were trying to capture at the end?
    TrendyKidsSuckon April 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this might have more similarities to The Flame Deluge than you might think.

    The term child of dust originally comes from Louise Lawrence's novel Children of Dust. The novel is about a post-apocalyptic world and the effects of a nuclear war. So this is similar to the Flame Deluge in the sense that both reference the devastation that would occur if nuclear warfare were to ensue.

    But mostly I think the song is just the Earth asking why we mistreat it and misuse it. The first two lines say how Earth feels like it took us, as mankind, under its wing, provided for us, and gave food and shelter to help us grow.

    I am not sure, but I think the end of the first stanza might talk about like space travel and how we were not content with what the Earth provided and we were so greedy that we wanted to go further. That could be totally off though, especially since we aren't even sure about what the lyrics say there. It doesn't sound like "though demons raped the earth before your eyes" to me. It is more like "All legions weld the rain before you eyes" but that really doesn't make sense.

    Anyway back on topic. The second stanza says something about burying dead with the whole uprooting flowers and filling the holes with blood. I would imagine that the blood that fills these holes is the blood shed in warfare. I guess the next stanza talks about how a nuclear holocaust and the devastation that would occur. mostly referring to death of humans.

    And then the end part is just awesome. You can hear them shoveling dirt on to the "coffin" that encases the microphone. This is just sort of a representation of burying the dead. But it is freaking powerful. I can imagine a music video for this song. Like the members of the band would be laying in open caskets the whole time and then be carried through like a desolate area that had been clearly hit by a nuclear bomb. And at the end the casket would close (thus the muffled part would begin) and someone would begin to shovel dirt n the coffins until they were buried.
    sabioon April 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI totally disagree md, I think that Air and Earth are quite possibly the best CDs in about... 40 years? no exaggeration. and I believe you're referring to "Illusion of Safety"

    I think this works on two levels, on one, it's Earth welcoming the dead, whereas on another level, its both a lament and a warning. Earth is tired of being used constantly as a battleground, and given the world current technological advancement, were it to decide to tear itself apart at the seams, the thousands of years of ideas could be found by no prying spade.
    music1994on April 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI think this whole song is God talking to Adam, and in turn, all men.

    1-2: I created you, but your life is your own.

    3-4: I've provided this perfect paradise, and don't think you would ever want to leave.

    5-6: This one is pretty self-explanatory, and so true.

    7: Eden is destroyed and earth can be a pretty bad place now. Although I'm not sure what to make of line 8.

    9: You now live on (mother)earth.
    10: Adam fell that men might be, it is only in death that we truly live.

    11-12: Even though the world(temporal/carnal things and people) may have it's conflicts, you know what's going on, you will be fine.

    13-14: I haven't really figured this one out yet, it's really confusing. But the song does change at this point, possibly to imply something completely different?
    Vidableekon February 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm glad drummerinthesun made the point about the John Donne poem- I was going to say exactly that.

    The sonnets are my favorite parts of the Alchemy index, partly because of the musicality (I'm a music student, so bear with me if I tend to veer off in that direction) and partly because of the amazing dexterity with which these guys write their lyrics. Sonnets, of course, are among the more restrictive poetic forms, so to be able to write them so proficiently is very impressive.

    That said, I'd like to comment about some of your comments, most of which are very interesting. I will admit that, as a relatively nonreligious person, I would like to hear a few more ideas that are not so wholly biblical; though I do agree that there are biblical references, I (personally) don't view the whole song as being a retelling of any particular Bible story. Obviously, there are references to the stories of Adam and Eve, and probably the Prodigal Son (though the song does in fact use the word "prodigal," they could simply have the CONCEPT of a prodigal son- that is, someone who spends the wealth they have, only to have to rely on someone else). Though it is mentioned that the title comes from a book title, it's possible that title originally came from the "ashes to ashes" passage as well.

    However, and bear in mind that this is just my opinion, I believe this to be more of a remonstrance by Mother Nature to man than one from God. Given that the other sonnets are written from the points of view of the respective elements about which they are written, I think it makes most sense that this would be, too; Mother Earth is simply an incarnation of sorts of the element earth. Moreover, it would make sense (artistically) for them to depict earth in such a nurturing sort of role, as air is depicted similarly, and air and earth, traditionally, are opposites, in the same way that fire and water are.

    I see the line "supplied you not your spirit but your shape" as more evidence that this is in fact from earth's point of view; since earth (along with the other elements) is traditionally rooted (no pun intended) to the physical aspect of life; I suppose that, were this from God's perspective, he wouldn't be saying that he didn't supply man's spirit. Obviously, the references to Eden could be about Adam and Eve, but in more general terms, it could refer to the fact that mankind is no longer simply content with nature and its bounty, but is working more and more toward subjugating nature and making it work to our gain.

    This is echoed in the second stanza, looking at this from a parental aspect. "Though I only ever gave you love" could be intended more as a metaphor again regarding nature's bounties, and man's "rebellion" by destroying forests, polluting the waters, and poisoning the skies. Furthermore, the next two lines could be referring to our wars by saying that the only thing we're really giving back are the pools of blood (again, possibly a metaphor) from our constant warring. The reference to the Donne poem (which has already been quoted, so I won't do it again) suggests the sense of connectivity, which is also mentioned in the whole "dust to dust" idea; that is, we should consider being careful what we put in the earth, as we'll end up there someday too. Moreover, it could also be a general warning against such constant war, as, again with the connectivity, all life is connected, and the death of one affects many others (see the Butterfly Affect- though perhaps not the movie).

    This is an easy lead-in for the next stanza: every life will eventually end, and we will be returned to the earth, from which all life came. This again could be an indirect suggestion that we should be careful what we do with the earth while we live. This stanza (in its last two lines) suggests that the only time mankind will truly know peace is when we are dead and returned to the earth. This could be viewed religiously or secularly, but they are effectively the same: death brings relief from the pains of this life, whether one believes in heaven or not. More specifically, to that regard, the line "For every seed must die before it grows" is, in my opinion, a metaphor of reincarnation, which is present in nearly every religion in some form or another; though most people tend to associate reincarnation in its most literal sense with Eastern religions or with "New Age" philosophies, the ideas of heaven and hell in most western religions are, in fact, also an example of this idea. I think this particular line is best left up to each individual person, as it seems to be one of few lines, if not the only one, that is simply a religious one. (Though several others contain lines that could be (or most certainly are) biblical references, none of them are strictly religious; after all, referring simply to the bible is not inherently Christian, as the Bible can be viewed as simply a book...though I mean no offense to any Christians; I was raised as one).

    The final couplet most strongly emphasizes the idea that with death comes peace. The word "safe" in particular suggests this, especially with the somewhat sardonic use of the word "wisdom;" in this case, "wisdom" seems to imply exactly the opposite, that it is, in fact, the "wisdom" of mankind that causes many of the problems in the world. Pair with this, also, the traditional aspect of earth (in the ancient alchemical, as well as traditional astrological ideas) as being steady and calm, the speaker (which I am almost certain is the earth itself) is most likely suggesting that, far from frightening and tragic, death is the safest, most peaceful part of life. While this may seem depressing and maybe a little unsettling (underscored by the somewhat macabre effect of the soil being poured onto the box with the microphone) I still see it as a somewhat uplifting note at the end of a rather mournful song. That is, though the earth is lamenting the fact that mankind is destroying and that they don't think about the fact that they are part of it, they will eventually find the peace, in death, that they seem so unable to find in life.

    Again, these are simply my views on this song. I'm a bit of a tree-hugger (though to be fair, Thrice are too, to an extent) and I see these sonnets more as a cry for mankind to respect nature rather than subjugate it. One of the things I like most about the arts is that meaning lies in the eye/ear of the beholder, so while Thrice may have meant something in particular with any given song, no interpretation is wrong.
    aurelioon June 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirstly, Astrologically speaking, the earth sign has the weaknest of having trouble changing, when compared to the other signs (water changes the most). It's very helpful to know astrology when trying to interpret the Alchemy Index.

    This song is about coming back to God, kindof like Dustin's solo song Please Come Home.It is also existentialist: "not your spirit but your SHAPE"- he is saying existence preceds essence.

    "All edens wealth before your eyes I fathom not you wanted to escape'- he's talking bout rebelling; temptation; intellectuality; doubt; skepticism; sin (which is the opposite of faith, read Sickness unto Death by Kierkegaard, dustin surely did)

    He is saying, and arriving at the same conclusion as Dostoevsky, Kafka, Kierkegaard, that after so much doubting, one is still empty inside and the only turht that they will find is God's truth. Once they know that God exists, they are unable to have faith he does-and all benefits of this knowledge is lost. God does not want you to know of his existence, he asks that you have faith.
    The song is saying, that in the end, you wont be rested until you stop thinking and doubting and you just accept who and what you are and that God loves and forgives you;

    Now safe beneath their wisdom and their feet,
    Here i will teach you truly how to sleep.

    He is talking about the wisdom and the feet of (advocates of, Knight of faith, read Fear and Trembling, which is what the messenger is based on) religion; the bible and its teachings.
    Have faith, and sleep.
    Because objectivity is like fire it destroys; hence child of DUST.
    Why does it destroy? Because you lose your life in speculative thought and doubt; you cant commit to anything.
    filrefon October 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's "arrayed" not "raped", am I right? Raped doesn't make much sense in context with the meaning

    Fantastic song btw, really really moving
    renevanton April 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKeep raped, i think that makes more sense, i looked up the definition and it doesnt make sense in this context.

    But beautiful song, i think its a great way to bring the whole project to a close
    Adam393on April 10, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain