I got two strong arms
Blessings of Babylon
Time to carry on
And try
For sins and false alarms
So to America the brave
Wise men save

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
He'll never, never fight over you

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where a old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where a old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
He'll never, never fight over you

I got plans for us
Nights in the scullery
And day instead of me
I only know what to discuss
Oh for anything but light
Wise men fighting over you

It's not me you see
Pieces of valentine
With just a song of mine
To keep from burning history
Seasons of gasoline and gold
Wise men fold

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
He'll never, never fight over you

I got time to kill
Sly looks in corridors
Without a plan of yours
A blackbird sings on bluebird hill
Thanks to the calling of the wild
Wise mens' child


Lyrics submitted by Nuklear, edited by kurozabulus

The Riddle Lyrics as written by Nik Kershaw

Lyrics © Kanjian Music, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave, Reservoir Media Management, Inc., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

The Riddle song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

18 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Comment

    It doesn't mean anything. Nik Kershaw even confirmed that the lyrics were just words thrown together to fit the music. The song was named 'The Riddle' so people would believe it was actually about something.

    HaleyHorrorshowon December 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    actually, the riddle was supposed to be a riddle, it just wasnt completed on time so there are parts missing that are filled in to make it sound good, but from what i understand i believe the river is called the euphrates river, near the mouth of the river is a tree called "the tree of life" in what is assumed to be the garden of eden and the mans name is Utnapishtim and he became immortal in the legends of babylon, that is all i have gotten so far

    ryudo420on March 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    the weirdest song ever

    Poptarts047on April 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song was originally written by nick Kershaw in the 80’s as I remember the lyrics on the song were the fill lyrics he was using to write the music and when time came to record the song he didn’t have the finished lyrics so he just used the ones he had. And he called it the riddle just to mess with peoples heads. The funny thing is the song doesn’t really mean anything

    cybrchldon June 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song was originally written by nick Kershaw in the 80’s as I remember the lyrics on the song were the fill lyrics he was using to write the music and when time came to record the song he didn’t have the finished lyrics so he just used the ones he had. And he called it the riddle just to mess with peoples heads. The funny thing is the song doesn’t really mean anything

    cybrchldon June 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Does anyone know the name of the Japanese song to this? o_o This snog has become my theme song.

    xxxLadyLuckxxxon January 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    What can I say except THIS IS 1 OF THE BEST SONGS EVER!!! I never get tired of listening to this!!!

    Maebhdhon June 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I"m thinking it means he knows some girl that all the guys if they were smart enough, would go after. "wise men fighting over you" And he thinks that he should be the one to have her

    just a guess, but i'm pretty sure i'm right

    moo_i_say_unto_theeon August 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Coffie&cigaretson July 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    its a great song, the beat is great and so is the singing still haven't figured out it means however

    theoutcasteron February 18, 2009   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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Jesse with the long hair....
Robert Earl Keen, Jr.
Classic love story true to his western tx roots. One of my favorites as a story, but I think there are alot of songs that are amazing not even listed on this site. I guess I should figure out how to add them, because I have about 8 REK cd's.
Album art
Siberian Kiss
Glassjaw
its amazing how far music can come.. 24 years after it released and its one of the most heartfelt songs ive heard
Album art
Spirit Within
Bertoldi Brothers
Warren wanted a Beach Boys thing for this one, and Carl Wilson and Billy Hinsche came in, with Carl arranging the vocal parts. The other harmony vocalists (credited as the "Gentlemen Boys") were Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Zevon's longtime backers Waddy Wachtel and Jorge Calderon, and Linda Rondstadt/Stone Poneys guitarist Kenny Edwards.
Album art
Fast Car
Tracy Chapman
"Fast car" is kind of a continuation of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." It has all the clawing your way to a better life, but in this case the protagonist never makes it with her love; in fact she is dragged back down by him. There is still an amazing amount of hope and will in the lyrics; and the lyrics themselve rank and easy five. If only music was stronger it would be one of those great radio songs that you hear once a week 20 years after it was released. The imagery is almost tear-jerking ("City lights lay out before us", "Speeds so fast felt like I was drunk"), and the idea of starting from nothing and just driving and working and denigrating yourself for a chance at being just above poverty, then losing in the end is just painful and inspiring at the same time.
Album art
Dreamwalker
Silent Planet
I think much like another song “Anti-Matter” (that's also on the same album as this song), this one is also is inspired by a horrifying van crash the band experienced on Nov 3, 2022. This, much like the other track, sounds like it's an extension what they shared while huddled in the wreckage, as they helped frontman Garrett Russell stem the bleeding from his head wound while he was under the temporary effects of a concussion. The track speaks of where the mind goes at the most desperate & desolate of times, when it just about slips away to all but disconnect itself, and the aftermath.