Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue tied and twisted just an earth bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Friction lock, set
Mixtures, rich
Propellers, fully forward
Flaps, set, ten degrees
Engine gauges and suction, check

Mixture set to maximum percent, recheck
Flight instruments
Altimeters, check both
(Garbled word) on
Navigation lights, on
Strobes, on
Confirm three-eight-echo ready for departure
Hello again, this is now 129.4
129.4, it's to go
You may commence your takeoff, winds over ten knots
Easy on the brakes, take it easy, its gonna roll this time
Just hand the power gradually, and it

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by Mellow_Harsher, digitalmanMKII

Learning To Fly Lyrics as written by Bob Ezrin Jon Carin


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Learning to Fly song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentI heard this song in a crisis time in my life and it brought me to tears about how closely and perfect it told about my feelings. This song is about overcoming your fears, whatever it might be (in relationship, in choosing your direction in life, in stopping being abused, in standing up against oppression, whatever...), because, deep inside all these problems is the desire for the human being to be free. For the human soul and spirit, this abstract energy, living in each us, given by God, nature Cosmos (whatever you call it), to be FREE.
    D-o y-o-u u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d? :)

    The following is my interpretation, in the hard point of my life:

    a fatal attraction holding me fast, how
    can I escape this irresistable grasp?
    (your own weaknesses holding you back, fatal, but still attractive, a fight with yourself)

    can't keep my eyes from the circling sky
    tongue-tied & twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
    (but deep inside that my soul is free and that I am born to raise in the sky, to the sun)
    (note the word "eyes" it will have a meaning later)

    ice is forming on the tips of my wings
    unheeded warnings, I tought I thought of everything
    no navigator to guide my way home
    unladened, empty and turned to stone
    (this is about the first flight, I am falling down with ice on my wings, despite me being sure about everything, lost all lights and lifeforce is leaving me "turned to stone")

    a soul in tension that's learning to fly
    condition grounded but determined to try
    can't keep my eyes from the -circling- skies
    tongue-tied & twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I
    ("soul in tension" says everything. This is how the deep worries and fears inside yourself are called. Your soul wants to be free and something is holding you back. Notice again the "eyes")

    above the planet on a wing and a prayer
    my grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air
    across the clouds I see my shadow fly
    out of the corner of my watering eye
    (I have finally raised in the sky, even above the planet and I need a prayer (a power of praying to the higher God, energy) to keep there. But I am almost unseen, only the halo and vapour. I have ascended.)

    a dream unthreatened by the morning light
    (anyone who has felt the feeling of being afraid to wake up, because it will bring only pain, will understand me)
    could blow this soul right through the roof of the night
    (this sounds magic, as it is. You can go "behind" the night. Physically impossible but possible by your soul. So the night (depression) what surrounds you, can be broken by your SPIRIT)

    there's no sensation to compare with this
    suspended animation, a state of bliss
    (a realization that you are now free from your problems. Forever. You have made it. Your soul, the force in you has made it)
    can't keep my mind from the circling sky
    (notice the word "MIND" in difference from the "eyes" previously - your MIND, not your eyes, is what "sees", what creates reality, your eyes only see, your ears only hear. You are there, in your head and your mind define, what the world is like for you)

    I really hope that some "soul in tension" will understand what I just wrote and come to the same realizations as I did. This is most energetically charged song, I have ever heard.
    janexxon August 20, 2009   Link
  • +4
    Song Meaning"A soul in tension that's learning to fly"
    We are 'souls' (born of 'space'), that have awoken/arrived here on Earth, and have spent eternity trying to learn how to get out into 'space', back where we came from. We are already flying; 'reality' is the wind-swept field.

    "Condition grounded but determined to try"
    We are stuck 'here' because of our misconceptions about where 'here' actually is.

    "Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies"
    Always needing to get 'out there', not realizing we've already been and got the t-shirt.

    "Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I"
    The things we've learned, chosen to believe, and then consider 'known' have trapped us more completely on this planet. We, as a race, are confused and miseducated; repeating what we're told to believe to each successive generation, each generation having slightly less ability to think for themselves and discover REAL truths.
    jgronholzon January 18, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningPink Floyd's music is almost universally about enlightenment, feedback, false-reality/perception, or a combination of the three.

    In Re: to "...the conclusion that i believe it is about being trapped in a trip.",

    The 'trip' we are trapped in is 'reality'. We are made of organs, made of cells, made of atoms. Atoms are simply interference patterns between freqencies of energy and are mostly "empty space" inside. WE are only frequencies and are mostly empty space, in this "3D reality"; even Einstein knew this. Gravity is a "symptom" of the fundamental force, as is EVERY other observation made. Without defining the fundamental force first, how can you attempt to explain anything that stems from it? We use magnets all the time, but still don't understand the actual mechanic behind the 'action at a distance'. That's because matter is not real, nor are emotions, left, right, up, or down. Man created ALL distinctions, empowered them with his "beliefs", and now calls them "truth" and "knowledge", which we pass on to an increasingly smarter, but less intelligent populace (more knowledge, less wisdom). Feedback diminishes over time, when it is not passed on. When we stop communicating, stop talking, to each other, we end the feedback loop, and the "human signal" begins to degrade.

    This began long before even the Great Pyramid was built and continues, today.
    "The Turning Away", present day.

    "Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies"
    There has to be more than 'this'. Ironic since noone convinced Man that 'this' is real in the first place; Man did so on his own and believes it to be true with no proof, other than the fact that it appears, to us, that this 'I' person is in control of our bodies.

    "Tongue tied and twisted Just an earth bound misfit, I"
    Who is 'I'? Is 'I' your conscious or unconscious? Is there such a thing? How can you think universally, if everything you have been taught was defined in Earth-terms? If you can only control your brain approximately half of the time, who or what is running the place while you are 'gone'? Where do you 'go' to? Musical instruments make only 'noise', when their parts do not *work together* correctly.

    Basically, the factors involved in flight and a literal, flying, human being, more specifically, were created by our belief in this limited (and complicated) reality. When we learn a new inward detail of the system, we re-affirm what we already 'know', add some new garbage to it, and then proceed to look for answers to the newly created questions. We build a scaled-up plane, and have scaled-up factors to overcome. If gravity were nullified, a single human child could toss an airplane into space easily. Yet, in our stubborn and infantile way, instead of reducing gravity's effect on us, we strive only to increase lift beyond it.

    To learn to fly then, we need to remove our restrictions, not confirm and then attempt to overpower them.

    With this in mind, I invite you to re-listen to YOUR favorite PF song! Forget, for a moment, what you think/believe/know about the song, the way you have always remembered it, and why you feel that way about it; remove the distinctions you've created and try to see a new, more universal meaning in the intimately familiar place you thought you had already fully explored.
    jgronholzon January 18, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationLearning To Fly is about becoming aware of our thoughts, awakening, and they were ahead of their time and are still relevant. For example: "Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night, There's no sensation to compare with this, Suspended animation, a state of bliss." An out-of-body experience that can happen spontaneously for eg. listening to music, by way of (Tantra) Yoga routine, or perhaps drug induced (and becoming Comfortably Numb to sedate the experience of awareness). A Kundalini experience when it rises up the spine ecstatically and your soul/essence/lightbody exits out your 3rd eye or crown chakra while your body lies sleeping. You/mind/essence goes through a gray area then settles in a holding area. You are imbued/made up of an energy that can only be described as love; it responds to your thoughts because you are your thoughts; bounce and you feel it, etc. You realize you're a soul. You are 'above the planet' above your head as it were with no direction... you have to try to get your bearings. "Out of the corner of my watering eye" is that you have eyes to see but no corporal body... this is similar to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" (replete with zen terms like 'wasted land') not about the place but about a trip to the astral "with no provision but an open face" with your mind thoughts only. PF other song "Keep Talking"... "Why won't you talk to me, You never talk to me, What are you thinking, What are you feeling, Why won't you talk to me, You never talk to me, What are you thinking, Where do we go from here," is about the thoughts you have in your head when you become aware of your thoughts; it's a if a dialogue is going on between you (asking questions) and your Higher Self (your true self); you may even experience "blinking" "yes" "no" "maybe" (depending on what you believe), after you have finished a thought, and Suddenly songs and words have two meanings.. for eg. a love song could be about you talking to yourself. The Beatles "Let It Be" is about this internal talk (Robert Plant calls it the ceaseless roar on his new album), sometimes you ask yourself a question and don't have the answer so just let it be there will be an answer (I've had to google alot!). I know it sounds a little weird or crazy but the band can vouch for this explanation. By way of comparison, Led Zeppelin's "Going To California" is not about the place, it's about a trip (probably drug induced hence "jet plane") to the astral aka the 4th/5th dimension to find his soulmate; "I think I might be sinking" is falling out of the blissful state. "Ride a white mare" is Pegasus the couple's horse, "in the footsteps of dawn (or dome) is the 3rd eye (inner seeing); "wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today" is when you are (up) in this bodiless state you are your thought one thought at a time, no past, no future, positive thoughts appear to expand you and vice versa. Divy, July 4/98 Toronto
    Divion November 23, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThats probably true and all. But when he got up there to fly, that is what inspired the writing of the song, not the getting the license. I think that he was up there, looking down and just had his eyes opened to a whole new perspective and he realized that quite possibly he himself was learning to fly not in the sense of getting in a plane and taking off, but as in how he feels about life.
    BuLlEtZoFtHeWicKeDon May 19, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhat is so amazing about this song to me is that it sort of makes you feel like you are flying. the ups and downs in the melody and in the vocal track just seem to sweep and soar. love it.
    ramtharon July 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, it has inuendo, the song is talking about flying (i.e. being high)
    misDKfitson September 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have just read thru most all of the interpretations of this song and, I am amazed at the vastly different perceptions on it's meaning. But I think that is really cool that the song has so much richness that it pulls forth so many different interpretations. Yea yea, some say they know the "True" meaning of why this song was written, and maybe they do...I don't know about all that, so I will just give you my interpretation: I think it's about exactly what it says it's about...The soul journey. We are a Soul in a body struggling as part of our purpose to fly free from the confines of the physical body and world...The song directly and metaphorically says this. I think the song is an absolute spiritual masterpiece. I think Gilmore knew exactly that he was writing about a soul journey. The song is too rich and full of wisdom to have accidentally been written about literally learning to fly a plane. Pink Floyd has always always been my favorite band for it's mastery of composing such music. Syd is still the heart and soul...Waters was part of the metamorphasis, but it's Gilmore who continues with the spiritual genius.
    LeaLusciouson July 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti highly doubt that this song is literally about flying.
    for starters pink floyd repeatively use metaphors in alot of their songs, so why would this one be different, and secondly all you have to do is have a read of the lyrics with an open mind and you realise that flying and the lyrics of this song have little in common, which is especially common in the chorus'tongue-tied & twisted just an earth-bound misfit'
    After reading the lyrics to this song i instantly thought of being under the influence of a drug, which wouldnt be uncommon for pink floyd to write a song about. but not everything matched up. so i read other peoples views on this song, which gave me ideas that it could be about love, suicide, death etc. but again not all the lyrics matched up
    i re-read the lyrics again with an open mind and really thought about what it could be about and came to the conclusion that i believe it is about being trapped in a trip.
    In the opening verse the lyrics are talking about first taking the trip and realising you are stuck in the trip..consider the lines
    "a fatal attraction holding me fast, how
    can I escape this irresistable grasp?"
    "Into the distance, a ribbon of black
    stretched to the point of no turning back"

    it then goes onto talking about the realisation of being actually stuck in the trip, shown by the lines
    "unheeded warnings, I tought I thought of everything
    no navigator to guide my way home
    unladened, empty and turned to stone"

    part 1
    southsEEEARCHon June 14, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationLearning to fly = Your Soul Separating from The Body at death ~ as You Loose all control & LEARN TO FLY ... We Will all FLY But only ONCE ... & You Can't come back to explain it ~ So Here It is REFLECTED ~ In Poetry of Floyd Imagination ...
    TCKARDOSon January 23, 2014   Link

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