"The Wind that Shakes the Barley" as written by and Lisa (arr)/perry Gerrard....
I sat within the valley green
I sat me with my true love.
My sad heart strove the two between
The old love and the new love.
The old for her the new
That made me think on Ireland dearly.
While the soft wind blew down the glade
and shook the golden barley.
'Twas hard the woeful words to frame
To break the ties that bound us.
But harder still to bear the shame
of foreign chains around us.
And so I said the mountain glen
I'll meet at morning early.
And I'll join the bold united men
While soft winds shook the barley.
'Twas sad I kissed away her tears
My fond arm round her flinging.
When a foe, man's shot burst on our ears
From out the wild woods ringing.
A bullet pierced my true love's side
In life's young spring so early.
And on my breast in blood she died
While soft winds shook the barley.
But blood for blood without remorse
I've ta'en at oulart hollow.
I've lain my true love's clay like corpse
Where I full soon must follow.
Around her grave I've wandered drear
Noon, night, and morning early.
With breaking heart when e'er I hear
The wind that shakes the barley.


Lyrics submitted by Neon_Like

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" as written by Lisa Germaine Gerrard Brendan Michael Perry

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so amazing to hear. It's haunting and will send chills crawling down your spine, light as flower petals. Wow.
    FilthSkinon April 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always wish there was at least a 10 second pause after the song, just so you can truly realize what you just heard. The lack of music echoes the hollowness of the song.
    Blithewateron May 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard this song, I found my face wet from tears. I kept thinking "Gawd, battle-hardened by the age of 15, and one beautiful song can change that." Haunting, beautiful vocals
    angrygoatmanon March 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI adore the Sarah Jezebel Deva version of this song.

    I think the bit on "while soft winds shook the barley," the whole tie to wind, really, is just the sort of small thing that you notice and remember during a major time in life. Like when you remember something tragic, like someone's death, and you remember the shirt they were wearing, or the last thing you said to them, or the weather that day. Just that behaviorist unconnected feature that sticks in your memory... And how life continues unaware no matter what's happening to you. The world goes on, you aren't really important to the universe.
    LaDiabloon November 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Wind That Shakes the Barley is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836-1883), a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. Its title was borrowed for the Ken Loach film which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

    The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the cauldron of violence associated with the 1798 rebellion in Ireland. The references to barley in the song derive from the fact that the rebels often carried barley oats in their pockets as provisions for when on the march. This gave rise to the post-rebellion phenomenon of barley growing and marking the "croppy-holes", mass unmarked graves which slain rebels were thrown into, symbolising the regenerative nature of Irish resistance to British rule.

    The full lyrics are:
    I sat within the valley green, I sat me with my true love
    My sad heart strove the two between, the old love and the new love
    The old for her, the new that made me think on Ireland dearly
    While soft the wind blew down the glen and shook the golden barley

    'Twas hard the woeful words to frame to break the ties that bound us
    But harder still to bear the shame of foreign chains around us
    And so I said, "The mountain glen I'll seek at morning early
    And join the bold united men," while soft winds shake the barley

    While sad I kissed away her tears, my fond arms round her flinging
    A yeoman's shot burst on our ears from out the wildwood ringing
    A bullet pierced my true love's side in life's young spring so early
    And on my breast in blood she died while soft winds shook the barley

    I bore her to some mountain stream, and many's the summer blossom
    I placed with branches soft and green about her gore-stained bosom
    I wept and kissed her clay-cold corpse then rushed o'er vale and valley
    My vengeance on the foe to wreak while soft wind shook the barley

    But blood for blood without remorse I've taken at Oulart Hollow
    And laid my true love's clay cold corpse where I full soon may follow
    As round her grave I wander drear, noon, night and morning early
    With breaking heart when e'er I hear the wind that shakes the barley.
    AwreyStaron January 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song to me is about the pain of occupied Ireland and how it relates on different levels. Her love is Ireland who is cut down before its time. The intense sound of the gentle ness of the wind that shakes the barley. This is a very profound song. An phoblacht abu
    Ken1968on February 16, 2009   Link

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