Summer was gone and the heat died down
And Autumn reached for her golden crown
I looked behind as I heard a sigh
But this was the time of no reply.

The sun went down and the crowd went home
I was left by the roadside all alone
I turned to speak as they went by
But this was the time of no reply.

The time of no reply is calling me to stay
There is no hello and no goodbye
To leave there is no way.

The trees on the hill had nothing to say
They would keep their dreams till another day
So they stood and thought and wondered why
For this was the time of no reply.

Time goes by from year to year
And no one asks why I am standing here
But I have my answer as I look to the sky
This is the time of no reply.

The time of no reply is calling me to stay
There`s no hello and no goodbye
To leave there is no way.


Lyrics submitted by lordofsandwiches

Time of No Reply song meanings
Add your thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentThe lyrics in this song are very depressing. It sounds to me like he so lonely and feels like there is no one to reach out to. And even if he were to, no one would be there for him. The last three lines suggests that he sees no way out of the depression.
    bibis817on October 30, 2004   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis has to be one of my favourite Nick Drake songs, its so lush with ideas or perhaps more accurately thoughts. I can really relate to this song not so much in terms of loneliness or depression, I'm not sure really. I think its a part of the beauty of Nick Drake's music, it always resonates some where within. I feel the initial 'lazy afternoon' feeling it gives can really contextualise the deeper feelings of the song. Maybe like a blue sky day with no one to really share ones understanding with.
    I could note the idea of silence as a reference to sleep or death, and whilst I can really relate to this idea, I think it is necessary to consider that this idea isn't to be feared or looked to with pity or even disdain, but something truly beautiful. Its just one of those songs, that really draws your soul out to the point you can almost physically feel the music, and a longing to be apart of it.
    Even though it seems painfully obvious, with all the suggestions of loneliness and sadness throughout the song, it feels almost shallow to say the song is about depression or some such. Because even if we can't see it, the song has so much more to offer.
    Bellaaaaaon February 26, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTime of no reply to me is about being invisible. Not being heard, not being seen... it is pretty sad.
    Loneliness is quite palpable throughout the song. Probably Nick´s best.
    medton July 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song states that you can make your mark in this world, without having to answer to anything. Nick Drake
    wasn't famous in his time,, but through time,, he has become a great influence and is not here to answer anything,, just to have his music speak for itself
    brn2sailawayon August 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI THINK THIS IS A VERY SAD SONG TOO, BUT SOME WHAT OPTIMISTIC, The trees on the hill had nothing to say
    They would keep their dreams till another day, BUT WHAT A GREAT SONG, HONESTLY NICK DRAKE IS TOO AWESOME
    MANINASHEDon November 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is what Nick Drake is all about. If I were going to introduce a friend to his music it most likely be with this song. It's like Elliott Smith and his song Independence Day. It's just him in his purest form and that's what this is. I prefer the original version but I like listening to the one on Made to Love Magic, too.

    I think this song is about how he is detached and can't speak because he is so ill in the mind as bibis817 stated with the depression.

    Drake is a legend. He inspires people every day.
    prettywhnsedatedon April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is what Nick Drake is all about. If I were going to introduce a friend to his music it most likely be with this song. It's like Elliott Smith and his song Independence Day. It's just him in his purest form and that's what this is. I prefer the original version but I like listening to the one on Made to Love Magic, too.

    I think this song is about how he is detached and can't speak because he is so ill in the mind as bibis817 stated with the depression.

    Drake is a legend. He inspires people every day.
    prettywhnsedatedon April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favourite Nick Drake songs; it has many meanings, I somehow interpret it that you don't need to have something to say to have a meaningful existence.

    I love that silence after one of the "The time of no reply is calling me to stay" choruses - just like an absence of reply!
    earthfriendon October 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song defines stillness. Drake relates himself to a tree as it stands in longing. The tree is still with nothing (including) the wind to stir it. Drake is a seeker in this song but has received no message from nature as all is passing and still. He is immobile as a tree but poetically dreaming and hoping as a tree is grounded, wise, aging and looking to the sky for its replenishment. A very simple depiction of the very human emotion of uncertainty. Poets such as Drake are so fragil as they are truly connected to the art all around them. "there is no hello and no good bye" defines the tree without spring or fall rather in between the perpetual seasons. "for me there is no way" defines Drake stands and waits for a direction and perhaps his next purpose. He gave us his journols in his songs. Beautiful.
    Mihubrison August 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the "time of no reply" is death. The warm seasons leave, the sun goes down, and death sets in. There's no hello or goodbye, and there's no way to leave because everyone dies. I find the "no way to leave" line interesting because it's rather ironic considering that you're leaving the earth when you die. Perhaps he means also that there's no real way he can make himself leave before his time (i.e. too afraid to commit suicide). I don't know; just ramblings.
    asSTARSfallxon June 16, 2010   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