Books are burning in the main square
And I saw there, the fire eating the text
Books are burning in the still air
And you know where they burn books, people are next

I believe the printed word should be forgiven
Doesn't matter what it said
Wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living
Key to the larder for your heart and your head, unh

Books are burning in our own town
Watch us turn 'round and cast our glances elsewhere
Books are burning in the playground
Smell of burnt book is not unlike human hair

Well, I believe the printed word is more than sacred
Beyond the gauge of good or bad
The human right to let your soul fly free and naked
Above the violence of the fearful and sad, mmm mmm yeh

The church of matches
Anoints in ignorance with gasoline
The church of matches
Grows fat by breathing in the smoke of dreams, it's quite obscene

Books are burning, more each day now
And I pray now, you boys will tire of these games
Books are burning, I hope somehow
This will allow, a phoenix up from the flames

Lyrics submitted by Golgotha

Books Are Burning Lyrics as written by Andy Partridge

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Books Are Burning song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt's in a way a comment against censorship, but it stems from Andy's love of books more than anything else. There's an interview with him about lyric writing, I can't be bothered to find a link right now, but he talks about how he often comes up with ideas for songs by turning quite mundane ideas of his around. He named this song as a case in point, about how rather than sing about how he likes books, he sings about his horror at seeing books burned.
    whapcapnon June 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have to disagree with all the above comments. While the song sort of IS about Censorship and the Love of books, I believe it was meant to be about religion.

    "The church of matches
    Anoints in ignorance with gasoline
    The church of matches
    Grows fat by breathing in the smoke of dreams"

    It is saying that religion discredits science and ‘true’ knowledge, while they [religion] do nothing but study their fictitious dreams/beliefs.
    AvidWriter117on November 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems like a small comment against fascism
    pumkinhedon December 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentor maybe against censorship. Either way, it has a really nice sound to it.
    pumkinhedon February 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA beatiful song to end a grand record.
    One of my all time favorite XTC songs
    kexpseattleon August 24, 2017   Link

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