"Exiles" as written by William Scott Bruford, David Francis Cross, Robert Fripp, Jamie Muir, Richard William Palmer James and John Kenneth Wetton....
Now, in this faraway land
Strange, that the palms of my hands
Should be damp with expectancy

Spring, and the air's turning mild
City lights, and the glimpse of a child
Of the alleyway infantry

Friends, do they know what I mean
Rain, and the gathering green
Of an afternoon out-of-town

But Lord I had to go
My trail was laid too slow behind me
To face the call of fame
Or make a drunkard's name for me
Though now this better life
Has brought a different understanding
And through these endless days
Shall come a broader sympathy
And though I count the hours
To be alone's no injury

My home, was a place near the sand
Cliffs, and a military band
Blew and air of normality

ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
ooh, ooh
aah aah

Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by mrdeadbob

"Exiles" as written by James Richard William Palmer David Francis Cross

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Exiles song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretation"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" sounds very ancient to me and I feel the the songs are the first five Books of the Bible, with a day of rest (Book of Saturday) thrown in for good measure. So, Exiles the secong song would be Exodus the second Book. Try listening to it that way, Also remember this album came out at the same time as "Dark Side of the Moon." This album is so much more than merely psychedelic, it's transformative and is capable of sending you back thousands of years to the ancient world. "Dark Side" is the modern world.
    kscottson June 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    MemoryNot quite sure. I never gave the lyrics much thought. Big crimson fan so I heard this song hundreds of times before I pulled out from Dad's nursing home, who was expected to live only a few days longer. Lines of the song made me think of my father. Turns out it was my final goodbye. I said long over due things and thanked him 30 or 40 mintues before. I delayed my departure to wait for my younger sister in the parking log.

    Dad left Scotland,loving the land but went to Canada. He went to Canada in the late 50's to find more opportunity. Not quite an exile - but a journey.

    The song was playing as I pulled out of the parking lot. The line about the military made me think about dad. 40 seconds later my sister called me telling me to return. When I returned, I was informed dad passed away.

    There are lines about a broader sympathy, understanding, counting the hours. To me, that is my dad's final days.

    I am not sure I can listen to this song any longer when driving.
    damberton September 21, 2016   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationAlways been a big Crimson fan and Lark’s tongues (other than the title track from their first album) was my real introduction. I “got" these lyrics from the very beginning and they have always been an inspiration to me in so many circumstances.

    For me it was an encouragement about having the courage to step out of the safety of one’s comfort zone. Whether it was leaving your hometown, quitting a job if you will, or starting out on any new quest. And finding myself in this new place there is a kind of nervousness, an ”expectancy” for what is to come. It is being and feeling alive.

    "But lord I had to go” my trail was laid out so slow behind me” knowing that I would never accomplish anything at the present rate. Coming to understand that the only way, for me, was to exile myself, to put myself in an unfamiliar place.

    My decision to go live in a mountain cabin or move to New York or Go to Peru or move to Santa Fe. In each case, I put myself in an unknown situation, in some cases risking life and limb. And I came to know and to see and to finally trust that each time I did that, I gained new understandings, “ and in time over the many years "a broader sympathy” has made me a better person, an empathetic person, a person who feels things deeply.

    And now that though I sit here alone, I reflect back and see the course that I have taken and the course that could have been had I simply stayed in that place that "blew an air of normality”.
    ed11237111on December 11, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou know what? With many KC songs (as well as another favorite, Steely Dan) sometimes it's best to simply let the sounds of the phonemes flow over you, without really giving them much "meaning".....the mere pronunciation and verbal poly-syllabic quality of the lyric is enough to really push a good song into the stratosphere, with/without attempting to find a meaning.
    Crimson_King73on October 05, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo one? Anyone else think Fripp's solo on this is just awesome?
    Frances-The-Toolon June 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThese lyrics seem a little off. Amazing song.
    Unsoundon June 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a fantastic song! How can anyone deem the lyrics "a little off"? Stop the madness. Fripp's solo is sublime and how good is Wetton's delivery of that difficult lyrical package? Wow.
    mrdeadbobon March 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Unsound was saying that the lyrics as listed are not quite right - there are a few mistakes. Not that the song "is a little off!"

    Awesome song, and even better live on the USA album. The versions of KC with Wetton, Bruford, Fripp and any combination of others are my favorite. I love them all, but this core were fabulous together.
    YesMan1964on March 14, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone on the meaning of it? Who are the exiles and who is representing them.
    1060684108on December 11, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read a book called The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin around the time I first heard the song Exiles. My sister and I have been King Crimson fans from the beginning (haha). She first read the lyrics to me and I was blown away by the similarities to the book. Of course the song was composed long before this book came out. Ever since then, when I hear this song, I think of this great book.
    Brookey59on March 01, 2017   Link

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