Bluegirls come in every size
Some are wise and some otherwise,
They got pretty blue eyes.
For an hour a man may change
For an hour her face looks strange -
Looks strange, looks strange.

Marching to the promised land
Where the honey flows and takes you by the hand,
Pulls you down on your knees,
While you're down a pool appears.
The face in the water looks up,
And she shakes her head as if to say
That it's the last time you'll look like today.

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
Gone to the other side.
Sail away, away.

The face that launched a thousand ships
Is sinking fast, that happens you know,
The water gets below.
Seems not very long ago
Lovelier she was than any that I know.

Angels never know it's time
To close the book and gracefully decline,
The song has found a tale.
My, what a jealous pool is she.
The face in the water looks up
She shakes her head as if to say
That the bluegirls have all gone away.

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
They've gone to the other side.
Look into the pool,
Ripples never come back,
Dive to the bottom and go to the top
To see where they have gone
Oh, they've gone to the other side...

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
Gone to the other side.
Look into the pool,
The ripples never come back, come back,
Dive to the bottom and go to the top
To see where they have gone
They've gone to the other side
Ripples never come back
Sail away, away...

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

Ripples song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment

    Indeed, this is a great song. It is also one of the less known Genesis songs because it was from the late 70's, and it preceded the slew of mainstream songs they would produce later. A lot of the songs from this timeframe were written by Tony Banks and are AMAZING.

    BlimpyJoneson April 14, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    I believe that BlueGirls are derived from a poem by John Crowe Ransom ... and refers to adolescent school girls for whom beauty is the focus of their lives

    (snip)"In this poem, Ransom offers the girls three main lessons, which, although they seem contradictory, are really closely related:

    (1) Beauty does fade.
    (2) Use your beauty as much as you can before it fades.
    (3) Have something in your life besides beauty, so that when it fades, you are not left with nothing.

    He describes beauty as delicate and rare, unable to be established. He focuses on the lightheartedness of young girls, how they are caught up in beauty, and he warns them to be conscientious of the fact that their beauty will fade and that they cannot put all their hope on their beauty. At the same time, he encourages them to "practice" their beauty until it is gone, and he promises to celebrate that beauty as best he can, with all its value and frailty."(snip)


    IMHO, 'Ripples' is absolutely the finest musical creation ever produced by Genesis. The imagery and message of the lyrics are also piercing, if not altogether an original concept.

    meloniecon January 05, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I don't think this song is about relationships at all - it's just about growing old and losing one's looks. It is perfectly illustrated on the album cover for "Trick of the Tail" with an old hag looking into a pool of water and seeing her young, beautiful face looking back.

    geoffos42on April 19, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    8 Mins. of Beauty. Reminds me of my Best Friend, Robin.

    cjm2164on April 26, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    Not difficult to figure out, ripples never come back means we cannot get our youth back, and the attractiveness of youth is fleeting and should not be taken for granted. The reflection in the water is our self awareness, and also can be a memory of what we used to be like or how we looked years ago.

    AlanCRossion July 27, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    @MMM88 - I agree, this is in the top 3 songs on the album.

    @Voodoo Tattoo - I don't believe Genesis were into referencing prostitution, but overall I think you're spot-on. Each ripple is another day/week/year of a life passed, and each look into the pool (e.g. mirror) relects back to a person the fact of their mortality. BTW, thank you for noting the beauty of the orchestration - I think that those of us (including you, the person right now) reading this page are honestly among a relatively small breed who truly appreciate sophisticated musical beauty.

    Ironically, the one thing I take away from this song, being on this album, is that while Genesis would have a number of excellent songs to come afterward, in a sense each album hereafter was a ripple for them, slightly less beautiful then the one before.

    pushthebuttonfrankon September 27, 2007   Link
  • +1

    Magnificent!! This is my favorite Genesis song. I bought "A Trick of the Tail" just for Ripples. It turned out to be a masterpiece album--still one of my favorites. I love the analogy of ripples of water with time and how you can never get back what has already flowed by. A refreshing change of theme from traditional love songs.

    dcwsilverleighon October 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    cjm2164on June 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Graham - those holes were there to prevent the records as being sold as new, they did that to albums given away to DJs, etc.

    And I think Voodoo is spot on, the only thing that I would add is the historical reference to the "face that launched a thousand ships", Helen of Troy, with the "sail away" being those sailors who used to come visit (or fight wars for her) were all leaving, creating ripples as they left, never to return.

    princetonplayeron August 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think many of the previous interpretations are to a point correct, though I suspect some closer than others. However I personaly think there are analogies here in this song that are perhaps more closely associated with sex than any of the other interpretations get to. "for an hour a man may change" is this not refering to during the act of sex and the same for "for an hour her face looks strange" This seems to be the case in my own sexual adventures though sometimes longer and sometime less than an hour. I wonder what pools may realy be refering to while you are on your knees. I think what I am saying is like all art, unless and to some extent even if, you do have the creators first hand interpretation, it is still the case that we draw from art that which is most pertinent to ourselves. Whatever it is that you see in the lyrics and music of this masterpiece it is without doubt amazing both in the musical construction and lyrical content. I believe that Genesis has musicaly always been true to their name which meens "The coming into being of something; the origin" and you cant be a succesfull band over 4 decades without haveing many Genesis. All of which I might add has been relative to the time of production. Never have they been lame just gifted talented musicians producing music that would reflect their own current thoughts and trends of the times.

    GarethPon May 19, 2010   Link

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