"Heathaze" as written by and Tony Banks....
No cloud, a sleepy calm
Sun baked earth that's cooled by gentle breeze
And trees with rustling leaves
Only endless days without a care
Nothing must be done

Silent as a day can be
Far off sounds of others on their chosen run
As they do all those things they feel give life some meaning
Even if they're dull

Time to stop this dreaming, must rejoin the real world
As revealed by orange lights and a smoky atmosphere

The trees and I are shaken by the same winds but whereas
The trees will lose their withered leaves
I just can't seem to let them loose
And they can't refresh me those hot winds of the south
Feel like an alien, a stranger in an alien place

Now the light is fading fast
Chances slip away, a time will come to pass
When there'll be none
Then addicted to a perfumed poison
Betrayed by its aftertaste
We shall lose the wonder and find nothing in return
Many are the substitutes but they're powerless on their own

Beware the fisherman who's casting out his line
Into a dried up river bed
But don't try to tell him 'cause he won't believe you
Throw some bread to the ducks instead, it's easier that way
Feel like an alien, a stranger in an alien place


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by paddyP

Heathaze song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI see this as being about someone who's tired of modern life and responsibilities, maybe considering deliberate homelessness. I envision a bum sitting on a stump or rock looking out at a semi-parched vista (like an orchard in summer). It's someone who sees human endeavors as pointless and doesn't "get" the agenda of most people.

    Many of us enter that mindset at times, and this song hits the right notes. Why get up to an alarm clock and commute like a lemming just to own a bunch of chattel? What's the purpose of all this mindless competition with other lemmings?

    The term "heat haze" is typically defined as a distorted view through a mirage of sorts, which fits a non-conformist vision. This song can be taken quite darkly, as if the character is on the verge of throwing in the towel. It's not upbeat but the music itself is quite powerful.
    Nick_Con May 22, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song could almost be called "EcHeathazeiastes," for its worldview: "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind." -- Ecclesiastes 1:14
    Zudrakon July 28, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe music on this song is very powerful, especially with Collins singing so powerfully "the leaves and I are shaken". This is best song Tony Banks ever wrote. I love the overall feel of the song and what the lyrics mean even if I think the lyrics themselves are kinda weak at times.

    One comment on this page suggested that this song would of fit in better on the previous Genesis album "and then there were three" than "Duke" but I disagree completely. In its original form, "Behind The Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Turn It On Again", "Duke's Travels", and "Duke's End" were one 30-minute track that told a story of the fictional character "Albert" . This song "Heathaze" to me fits right in with it and give a soulful interjection to Albert and feeling alone and like an alien, even it the song was not originally intended to be part of the Albert story.

    All that aside the lyrics overall have an excellent theme of being in a haze almost like stuck in a opioid or morphine-like dream state. I feel some of the lines are kinda flimsy or comparatively light and insubstantial or just written like a memo and not a song.. but the song (the music) and singing of Collins is so powerful that the individual weakness of some of the lines is so overcome that the true feeling and meaning and tune come out in a very strong way. There is definitely no weakness in the verse that anyone listing to can feel something:
    "The trees and I are shaken by the same winds but whereas
    The trees will lose their withered leaves
    I just can't seem to let them loose
    And they can't refresh me those hot winds of the south
    Feel like an alien, a stranger in an alien place"
    Jamsbandon May 21, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Time to stop this dreaming"... open your eyes... wake up.
    "The trees and I are shaken by the same winds but whereas
    The trees will lose their withered leaves
    I just can't seem to let them loose"... shaken by reality, it's the illusion I don't want to loose.
    "Then addicted to a perfumed poison
    Betrayed by its aftertaste"... the deadly lies we have been fed and the institutions that have betrayed people.

    "Beware the fisherman who's casting out his line
    Into a dried up river bed
    But don't try to tell him 'cause he won't believe you"... beware those who are setting up the trap for mankind... don't try to convince him, it's useless.

    "Throw some bread to the ducks instead, it's easier that way
    Feel like an alien, a stranger in an alien place"... people will laugh at what you have to say... it will make you feel like the alien you really are, in alien planet.
    ETorreson October 02, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite song and I can relate to it almost as though it could have been written by me with my interpretation which is Don't worry too much about everyone else live your own life and don't give them pity or envy no matter how you feel.
    hockeyfn16on January 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a beautiful song. The persona is singing of a desire not to conform, not to work and just to be in a place where "nothing must be done." He hears far off sounds of others doing work, all those things they feel give life some meaning. He is torn to have to rejoin the real world.

    He uses the metaphor comparing himself to the trees shaken by the winds. He can't loose the leaves or his feelings of having to conform.

    He doesn't want to be addicted to a perfumed poison which is work which gives nothing in return. He does not want to lose the wonder of life. He warns of the fisherman who's casting out his line into a dried up river bed which is fruitless work.

    With these feelings, he feels so alienated.

    Beautiful
    chodmcvon February 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song seems to me like it belongs to "and then there were three" more than "Duke". This is because I find a connection primarily with "Undertow". While "Burning Rope" is a song about someone who tried to do something with his life, here we see someone who quits all hope that anything important will ever happen...
    soboton September 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel this way quite often. The first section describes the feeling of just doing nothing but taking in the feeling of nature's breezes, sun, trees gently dancing with the early breezes of spring and summer; being in your own nature drenched blissful world if only in your mind. Then, the sounds of people carrying on in the rat race interrupts the daydream; reality steps in as you know you must return to the "real world" of the city (orange lights and smokey atmosphere) and go back to "working" to sustain the "life system" that is bestowed upon us. The trees, which I find mentioned a lot in Genesis lyrics, loose their leaves and go into hibernate mode for 3 or 4 months when the harsh winter winds are upon us. Meanwhile, the person cannot hibernate for the winter like we were meant to do in nature, but must go to work everyday to pay the bills in this "new" way of life. I feel like I don't belong here; like an alien... in a alien place so removed from a natural way of life and consumed by material things that are all perversely perpetuated by the system of money. What is it all for? Might as well throw some bread to the ducks instead...it's easier that way.
    wdsmkron May 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song but reckon it would have sounded much better if Peter Gabriel had sung it. I guess Tony Banks was inspired to write this as a result of his experiences during the long hot UK summer drought of 1976. The song expertly sums up the tremendous lethargy one feels in a heatwave; 'Nothing must be done' as well as illustrating the distressed state of the trees and how they will loose their leaves early that year, The smokey, tarry roads with their orange sodium lamps, the getting to the end of the day without having done anything (wasting another day), taking a sleeping pill (perfumed Poison) betrayed by it's aftertaste in order to be able to sleep through the heat. Of course, in the last line the futility of the obstinate fisherman who's gone mad beside the dried up river..............Feed the ducks instead, easier that way, but he won't listen....................Brilliant bit of vivid writing from Mr Banks.
    BarnabyHugheson July 16, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, as well as the entire album Duke, seem to reflect what Phil Collins was going through at the time with his failed relationship. Phil is always been a man who sings from his heart, and this album truly captures that. The song, to me, talks about a man who was in a haze due to his failed marriage or relationship. He seems to refer to seeing other people enjoying each other's company, and it really doesn't matter what what they're doing, as long as they're together with their love. Finally realizing he's in a smoky bar is a way of him snapping back into reality and realizing what his life is like. The reference to withered leaves seems to me that it refers to his thoughts of his failed relationship and how he can't seem to get past them. I've never quite understood what the duck bit is about, but perhaps it's a way of him fishing for happiness and not finding it. This album has been very therapeutic for me, as I am currently going through a failed 7-year relationship with my ex fiance who might have a child with. I can totally understand Phil's pain, and it's so great to hear him sing of it. At least this is my interpretation.
    Bryman1970on September 03, 2018   Link

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