"In God's Country" as written by and Adam Clayton U2 (a/k/a: David Evans....
Yeah

Desert sky
Dream beneath a desert sky
The rivers run but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight

Desert rose
Dreamed I saw a desert rose
Dress torn in ribbons and in bows
Like a siren she calls to me

Sleep comes like a drug
In God's country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God's country

Set me alight
We'll punch a hole right through the night
Everyday the dreamers die
See what's on the other side

She is liberty
And she comes to rescue me
Hope, faith, her vanity
The greatest gift is gold

Sleep comes like a drug
In God's country
Sad eyes, crooked crosses
In God's country

Naked flame
She stands with a naked flame
I stand with the sons of Cain
Burned by the fire of love
Burned by the fire of love


Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"In God's Country" as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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In God's Country song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentDesert sky
    Dream beneath a desert sky

    This reminds me of the story in Genesis when Jacob lies down on the ground and dreams of the staircase with angels ascending and descending on it. He then spoke to God in the dream. When he woke up, he said 'surely God is in this place', which is echoed in the title 'In God's Country'.

    This probably has little to do with the song's overall meaning, but I can't help but notice the link.
    DavidDodoga49on May 09, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRegarding the "sons of Cain".

    And Cain went away from the presence of Yahweh
    and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
    And Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch;
    And he built a city and called the name of the city by his son’s name, Enoch.

    Several generations later, Lamech was born. He had two wives. Of one Jabal was born; ‘he was the father as such as dwell in tents and have cattle.’ Of the other, two sons were born. One, JUBAL, ‘was the father of all such as play the lyre and pipe.’ The other son, Tubal-Kain, was ‘an artificer of gold and copper and iron.’

    Standing with the sons of cain may imply his work as musician, and songwriter. Burned by the fire of love is ambiguous. We are burned with passion, as well as suffering affliction, or discipline. Perhaps he is identifying with Cain in these ways.
    Joshua Treeon May 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think he meant the US as God's Country. because the Joshua Tree is so much about America why would all of a sudden give artistic views of another country? also if you see the video it makes sense that he is also talking about immigrants who come to the US to live a better life through means of work. 'dream beneath the desert sky' when immigrants cross over the borders they walk through deserts and they do dream a better life.

    She is liberty
    And she comes to rescue me
    Hope, faith, her vanity
    The greatest gift is gold

    (US is a country who was founded on ideals of liberty, the narrator or immigrant is coming to US to be rescued, yet instead of singing bible quote 'hope, faith, and love' he switches love for 'vanity' because her greatest gift is gold, America is rich. Sometimes people have ambitions for money and love gets in the way. Don't you think such a rich nation should take care of homeless people and those without health insurance??)

    Sleep comes like a drug
    In God's country
    Sad eyes, crooked crosses
    In God's country, yeah

    (sleep comes like a drug, that's pretty self explanatory. 'sad eyes, crooked crosses' can refer to almost anything,but i don't want to get into my interpretation. i just think he says the country which is founded by Judeo-Christian principles, has strayed)

    Naked flame
    She stands with a naked flame
    I stand with the sons of Cain
    Burned by the fire of love
    Burned by the fire of love

    (not sure about the naked flame, could be the torch on the statue of liberty, but I believe Bono sings that the sons of cain are like the immigrants. cause in the story we know cain killed his younger brother abel, when G-d found out, he made he wander about the earth and work for him (or toiling for food and refugee would be very hard). so in the same way cain was a refugee and had to wander the earth and work the lands really hard, that is pretty much a characteristic of the immigrants- they seek refugee for work then when they get work, they work hard for their money to survive. they have this survival instinct that cain had. obviously he doesn't mean they're murderers. sometimes musicians use actual people from the bible in their songs. its a rich source. for instance Bonnie Raitt a blues/pop singer in her song 'Thing Called Love" she says "you I know I ain't no Queen of Sheba" sheba was involved with King Solomon.... yadda yadda.)
    GrungyBeatleon April 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually I think its about both. I think the first 4 verses are about Irteland and a person realising that there's nothing left for him there (Everyday, the dreamers die, See what's on the other side) and deciding to emmigrate to America, and then findingout, as most Irish did, that he's not really wanted.
    Obsidianhexon July 22, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe last verse says "I stand with the sons of Cain". The sons of Cain are the evil seedline. Does that mean that Bono is actually evil?
    chylandon February 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWe analyzed this song pertaining to Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, in English class. It was an interesting way to look at it, but I don't think it really hit the nail on what the meaning of the song is.

    I agree that the song is about a person coming from their native land (most likely Ireland, but since Ireland doesnt have deserts, it could refer to another country. Then again, maybe by 'desert', Bono has in mind a place that's empty and barren to the person living there, which could be just about any settlement that a person's not happy with), to America, hoping that life there is better. The idea of ribbons and bows is a flowery image--this country is, in the person's mind, a beautiful land that has all of these great opportunities and seems really appealing. Sirens, in the Odyssey at least, were women who sung out and lured men towards their rocks. The idea of this better land 'sings' out to the person, and beckons him to come.

    The chorus refers to how immigrants dream of the better life while coming to America, and it soon becomes easier to dream than to get those dreams accomplished. In reality, many of the dreams lie broken (sad eyes, etc). By 'In God's Country', I don't see as much of a religious underlining as more of another indication of how grand the American dream is--this land that is perfect and overflowing with dreams. It almost becomes a sort of ironic description--the land has the broken dreams and 'crooked crosses', and yet we still call it God's Country, as if it was perfect and all dreams were realized.

    I don't really have much to say on the 'Set me alight...' stanza. Havent thought much on that one.

    'She is Liberty' seems to relate to the Statue of Liberty, and how the idea of her beckons to the singer to come to America and achieve all that he hopes to. He describes the positive traits that she stands for 'Hope, faith', but these seem to be mostly in his mind. The tone changes with 'Her vanity...The greatest gift is gold'. This is more like the singer finally realizing how business works in America (or has worked; I keep thinking that this song relates more to the 1800s-early 1900s than does now) and that it's not that everyone's dreams come true in this land--money and power are what are most important to succeed.

    And yet, what does the singer learn at the end of the song? Nothing, really. He sees the flame of the Statue of Liberty, and is entraced by it. However, he does not stand with her nor near her. He's instead next to 'the sons of Cain'. Now, from what I know of Biblical allusions/stories (correct me if I'm wrong), Cain was branded with a mark that never really seemed to have a positive effect, other than keeping him alive. In the New Testament, I believe, there are some negative connotations with Cain and his descendants. Although they are said to have created musical instruments, brass, and metals (so they have had some important achievements), in all they are looked down upon. I think this means that even though the singer is in the presence of the Statue of Liberty, he stands not with her but with the sons of Cain--people who go unnoticed, who are shunned from society, and have broken dreams--because he finds his place there. Although the idea of the majesty of the Statue is lovely and enrapturing, the singer knows that it is not him, and that no person can ever amount to the granduer of that symbol. He has no place being an equal by standing next to her, so instead he stands with the people more like him. Yet, even though he knows he cannot have all dreams fulfilled, and that he cannot be like this wonderful symbol, he as well as the sons of Cain, in their hardships and lack of glory, still reach out to that image of perfection, because they are so in love with the idea of it that they can never let it go.

    I think that's pretty much all I've gotten out of it. Sorry for the long comment, but I really wanted to get my thoughts out there for this song. Bono's a very talented artist.
    feyseraphon June 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationModern day traveling Gypsies are the descendants of Cain who was banished from "God's country" for killing his brother Abel and cursed to migrate from place to place. By standing with the sons of Cain, the narrator is saying he is also an outcast who is not welcome in God's Country.
    Eucaliptoon June 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is mostly about war, and more specifically European ambivalence toward American military power.

    Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", also written in the mid-1980's, shared some of its complex pro-American but anti-military themes. However, In God's Country (like many works of great art) is even more powerful in light of subsequent events, especially the two Iraq wars. Ironically, Emma Lazarus wrote the other great ode to the Statue of Liberty ("give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses..."), in 1883, before the great period of European immigration.

    The "desert sky" references may have been originally intended to refer to the North African campaign during World War II, where American soldiers were joined by the British and European resistance fighters to rescue Europe from Nazi occupation. Many members of the European resistance were former pacifists (like U2), who were inspired to fight by the American example of hope, faith, courage and devotion to liberty, all of which are mentioned in the lyrics and are underscored by the music's bass line, which sounds something like a "Bonanza" episode, representing American cowboy swagger. The line, "Set me alight, We'll punch a hole right through the night" may refer to the initial eagerness to join the fray by shelling continental Europe, but it is even more descriptive of America's early "shock and awe" campaign in Iraq.

    In contrast to the bass line, Edge's harrowing guitar solos express the horific consequences of war as viscerally as Picasso's "Guernica." The song equates war with fratricide, hence the reference to Cain, and concludes that the same American ideals (represented by Liberty's torch) that fuel the passion to defend freedom also burns those who embrace it by making them killers. Given this no-win proposition, U2 ultimately declares itself to stand on the side of the Americans, the Sons of Cain. In the final irony, God's Country (America and her supporters) is a nation of the damned, "burned by the fire of love", that is, by its own noble intentions.
    rocknrolllawschoolon May 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod, I love this song!!! How come nobody has commented on it???

    It's so beautiful, and the lyrics are so deep-I love this song!
    U2aholicon July 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOk...as for the meaning, Bono originally wrote it about Ireland, but then changed to America.

    The clues to that are, "she is liberty, and she comes to rescue me''(statue of liberty) and the constant metaphor with dreams (Bono sees America as a land of dreams, but also as a land of despair{sad eyes, crooked crosses}).

    Even though the tune is uplifting, the lyrics say otherwise.
    U2aholicon August 19, 2002   Link

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