"Things Behind the Sun" as written by Nick Drake....
Please beware of them that stare
They'll only smile to see you while
Your time away
And once you've seen what they have been
To win the earth just won't seem worth
Your night or your day
Who'll hear what I say.
Look around you find the ground
Is not so far from where you are
But not too wise
For down below they never grow
They're always tired and charms are hired
From out of their eyes
Never surprise.

Take your time and you'll be fine
And say a prayer for people there
Who live on the floor
And if you see what's meant to be
Don't name the day or try to say
It happened before.

Don't be shy you learn to fly
And see the sun when day is done
If only you see
Just what you are beneath a star
That came to stay one rainy day
In autumn for free
Yes, be what you'll be.
Please beware of them that stare
They'll only smile to see you while
Your time away
And once you've seen what they have been
To win the earth just won't seem worth
Your night or your day
Who'll hear what I say.

Open up the broken cup
Let goodly sin and sunshine in
Yes that's today.
And open wide the hymns you hide
You find renown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you'll say
About the farmers and the fun
And the things behind the sun
And the people around your head
Who say everything's been said
And the movement in your brain
Sends you out into the rain.


Lyrics submitted by tigerlily83

"Things Behind the Sun" as written by Nick Drake

Lyrics © A SIDE MUSIC LLC

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Things Behind the Sun song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +7
    General Commentthis song is about staying true to who you are despite what others tell you to be. its about following your heart and the urges in your brain whether others perceive them as "good" or "bad". individual vs societies ideal
    bdanon February 08, 2012   Link
  • +6
    Song MeaningThis song, to me, is about life in general. Nick sings about how people who are percieved and portrayed as heros and idols are, at a closer look, terrible, corrupt and tortured people. The truth in everything is exposed within such things as idols, heros, religions, saviors, etc. A realization that they are just as tortured as all the people who try to escape their little tragedies by looking up to those who give them hope are. The hypocrisies, contradictions and lies in the world. You see the truth and then watch as peoples idols (aka hopes for a better life) is exposed for what they are truly like and/or die so society clings to the next best thing. That you want to help and save the world but no one listens or they shun you. You become so fed up with trying to save everyone and only getting criticized and hated for your efforts. You decide to just pray and hope that they will be okay and maybe one day gain your knowledge while you keep your truth to yourself. Eventually it puts you at a depressed state while you watchthe world die and lose themselves. You then begin to lose and doubt yourself and the truth but then realize that you ARE right and see the world that is so grounded (has lost their dreams and hate their lives) that they are so close minded making them lost and confused. So you gain happiness in knowing how creaative, beautiful, strong and intelligent you actually are no matter what the world says. You try to help them and learn to take their resentment towards you and just speak the truth wearing your heart on your sleave spreading your knowledge into the world. Telling them all about what the truth is whether they like it or not and maybe one day they will realize you are right.

    Nick singing things like "please beware of them that stare, who will only smile to see you while your time away.", Means that people will only be nice and friendly to get what they want out of you such as being with them in sharing their beliefs/hopes and shun you if you are not and upon seeing what they have done and who they are you are not with them. The rest of what i said above can be connected to the song if you keep this theory in mind while listening/reading the lyrics to it.

    Enjoy.
    Zanderman14on November 25, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti believe this song is primarily about alienation. nick never really fit in, for the most part, but it was as much by choice as for any other reason, as he never really felt understood. he chose, instead, to observe the world more as an outsider; and it seems to me that he felt he was looking down at it all, though not necessarily feeling superior to it. it also seems he might have felt that most people couldn't see the forest for the trees, but that he was perhaps able to see things that others weren't...

    Take your time
    and you'll be fine
    and say a prayer
    for people there
    who live on the floor
    and if you see
    what's meant to be,
    don't name the day
    or try to say,
    "It happened before."

    although he assumed no one would really listen, he spoke through his music.
    it's often said that no one really knew nick, but i think he gave everyone the opportunity to truly know him...his only comfortable means of expression was through his music, and in it he bares his soul. too bad most people weren't listening...
    fushiaon July 20, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song leaves me with a vague sense of foreboding. It's almost sinister; it makes me want to look behind me and see what's there. The last five lines just give me chillbumps.

    I love it.
    aventurineon January 09, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGod, it took 3 times to listen to it but I finally got it. The first verse "Please beware of them that stare" is about people who create a fake facade around you and smile just to pretend everything is alright. Once you have seen through them and you know that the world (the western world anyway) is mostly full of these people who always smile, it's really not worth living among them, to be something amongst them. To "win the earth" is pointless and you'll eventually see. After all, who among them will remember you?

    I think's he's hinting at the selfishness and kind of narcisistic attitude that people continue to hold.

    I'm not sure if that made sense, it's clearer in my head and at least this information may act as a step for someone who may start their own ideas.
    Deathsdoor99on July 31, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think it's about being yourself and not living life on anyone else's terms but your own.

    If people think you're stupid or wrong for doing what you think is right for you, then ignore them.

    If you try to visualize it, the protagonist of the song is halfway between the sky and the ground. All the people on the ground are trying to change him- wrap him up and transform him into just another product of society. Winning the earth (or trying to please all those who are trying to change him) isn't worth his time. He wants to escape all that and take to the sky.
    awormwoodon April 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing song. A message from so so afar, that seem's to opena door from within.
    Gforce38on June 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"who'll hear what I say?"

    that's pretty much proved by the number of comments here.

    i think he's talking about how sadness is so attractive, and easy, and that everyone secretly knows but is too selfish to really care.
    makeartnotmathon October 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI never really got my head around what Nick was trying to say with this song, but that sounds very plausible. It reminds me of a song by Elliott Smith on the same theme, Between the Bars. It's a little more downbeat than this but a great song nonetheless.
    bladeton May 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone of my favorites of nick's. legends never die.
    plaincl0thesmanon July 23, 2005   Link

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