"The Eternal" as written by Ian Kevin Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Paul David Morris and Bernard Sumner....
Procession moves on, the shouting is over
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain

Stood by the gate at the foot of the garden
Watching them pass like clouds in the sky
Try to cry out in the heat of the moment
Possessed by a fury that burns from inside

Cry like a child, though these years make me older
With children my time is so wastefully spent
A burden to keep, though their inner communion
Accept like a curse, an unlucky deal

Played by the gate at the foot of the garden
My view stretches out from the fence to the wall
No words could explain, no actions determine
Just watching the trees and the leaves as they fall

Lyrics submitted by typo

"The Eternal" as written by Ian Kevin Curtis Bernard Sumner

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Eternal song meanings
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  • +12
    General Commentfrom what i understand, ian wrote this about a mentally impaired boy who lived down the street from him when he was growing up. the boy was never allowed to leave his family's yard. many many years later, ian retuned to the neighborhood to find that the boy was now a man, and was still confined to his family's yard. ian was struck by the fact that this man's entire world was confined just to the yard--hence the song.
    marginwalkeron September 04, 2002   Link
  • +7
    General Commentone of the greatest melodies ever, frozen eternally in the greyness of time. Seeps into your very soul. A masterpiece.
    darkmoonon April 07, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI'm listening to Joy Division for the very first time at the moment, and they are just... quite simply amazing. This song especially pulled me in, and as someone else said... It's very haunting. I just looked up "The Sound and the Fury" on wikipedia and it sounds pretty interesting, is this what he based the song on? I might have to go have a look for it at the library tomorrow.

    I can't believe I've lived over 22 years without hearing these guys :|
    MeurtreSceneon April 15, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI've heard the story about Ian writing it about a mentally disabled neighbour as well....

    I have always interpreted this song as representing the frustration of mentally disabled people at being unable to express themselves. Lyrics like "tried to cry out in the heat of the moment/possessed by a fury that burns from inside" and "no words can explain, no action determine" imply that this person has emotions, thoughts and desires like everyone else, but is unable to articulate them and make people understand him.

    The tragedy of the lyrics is how this person seems fully aware of his own disability. How "burdened" and "cursed" he is to spend his life "wastefully with children", looking out "from the fence to the wall" doing nothing but watching things go by for the rest of his life.

    An incredibly sad song....
    MisterMarcuson June 08, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is the most depressing song i've ever heard, i love it
    WorldInfernoon April 09, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow, no one has commented on this song in almost two years. We must be careful not to forget this song (although those who know it never will).

    One of great and often unstated facets of Joy Divison lyrics is that they frequently can be read almost as stand-alone poems which happen to be set to music. This song in particular I have always loved, partly for that reason. The lyrics maintain roughly an iambic tetrameter beat which allow for it readability.

    I have little to add to the above comments. This remains in my mind of one of Joy Division's most sombre and haunting songs (and there were many they did). Requiescat in pace, Ian.
    tad482on October 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song just digs down into the deepest, most dank and dark recesses of tortured, unyielding depression. It almost sounds like Ian Curtis is issuing this personal testimony of his inner demons from beyond the grave. I wonder if anything could have saved him at this point. If he had received treatment would his art be compromised? Does art even matter when a person's life is at stake? The tortured artist suffering for his art certainly can be a cliche, but in this case it was never more true.
    Irishmonkon August 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song. The first verse seems to describe a funeral.
    Songmeaningsuseron July 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe Margin is right... can't remember but i think it says it in the booklet that comes w/ the box set... or maybe i heard it somewhere else... but its seems to fit
    Girgoon May 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't wish to be too morbid but Ian seemed to be singing this from somewhere far far away...as he also seemed to do in Decades....One magazine at the time of his death had an article about the group with the title "Frozen Still On Higher Moments"...what else is there to say?
    darkmoonon April 07, 2005   Link

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