"By This River" as written by Brian Eno, Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius....
Here we are
Stuck by this river
You and I
Underneath a sky that's ever falling down, down, down
Ever falling down

Through the day
As if on an ocean
Waiting here
Always failing to remember why we came, came, came
I wonder why we came

You talk to me
As if from a distance
And I reply
With impressions chosen from another time, time, time
From another time


Lyrics submitted by Nowhere_Girl

"By This River" as written by Dieter Moebius Brian Eno

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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By This River song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song's great...
    It's really moving and beautiful
    Nowhere_Girlon August 15, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love to listen to this and some other light, ambient Eno tracks while I'm falling asleep. It actually seems to bring about more interesting and memorable dreams
    DreamDecayon July 06, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA really beautiful, touching song. It was in the film "La stanza del figlio" ("the son's room"), and complemented the poignant story perfectly.
    venus in mohairon March 29, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI cried so much over this song. I discovered it in Nanni Moretti's movie and, as venus in mohair said, it complemented the story.
    Martha_headon April 17, 2008   Link
  • +2
    TranslationLast stanza, translating from Arabic back into English:

    "You are talking about distances as if it were to reply to the first impressions of time chosen another time again."

    Talk about surreal!
    ApesMaon March 09, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationTo me, this is one of Eno's more straightforward lyrics, although the story is told using symbolism.

    It's about a relationship (maybe friendship, but more likely romantic) that has taken a turn for the worse, gotten stagnant.

    "Here we are Stuck by this river"

    The river is the river of time, and he and his partner are just sitting there stuck, going nowhere.

    "You and I Underneath a sky that's ever falling down, down, down Ever falling down"

    This could be rain, an often used symbol for sadness, or it could be just one bad thing after another falling on the relationship. Nice how he emphasizes "down" by repetition. Over and over the sky is falling on them.

    "Through the day As if on an ocean. Waiting here"

    They go through their days adrift, helpless to stop the ups and downs of the waves. Waiting for something but it never comes, and....

    "Always failing to remember why we came, I wonder why we came"

    They have lost sight of the wonderful things that drew them together in the first place.

    "You talk to me As if from a distance"

    The partner has withdrawn emotionally, and their communication is distant.

    "And I reply With impressions chosen from another time, time, time
    From another time"

    The relationship has become so stagnant that he can only talk about its past. Again, the very repetition is itself symbolic of the narrator going over the same ground again and again.

    A brilliant picture of a relationship that has timed out. I was in one several years ago and this song became very apropos.
    Euthymiaon June 25, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the way Eno entwines space, time and movement to form such surreal abstraction.

    'Stuck', 'ever falling', 'through the day', 'waiting here', 'from a distance', 'from another time' and links it with water and air: 'this river', 'the sky' 'an ocean'.

    And all of this provides a formless context for reflecting on ourselves 'failing to remember', 'wonder why we came', 'you talk to me', 'with impressions chosen' Fabulous.

    Eno ponders apparently purposeless existence with such concise skill.
    Ozquonkon May 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Translationمن هنا نحن واقفين أنا وأنت هذا النهر القبة
    السماوية التحت من الوقوع في هذا التراجع
    خفضا تدريجيا مطلقا سقوطها


    ومن خلال هذا اليوم وكأنها تنتظر في محيط هنا
    نتذكر دائما بعدم وصل دخل وكيف أصبحنا ولست
    أدري لماذا جئنا


    أنت تتحدث إلي وكأنها من مسافات الرد على الانطباعات الأولى اختارا وقتا من الزمن زمن آخر مرة أخرى
    ApesMaon March 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"Here we are, stuck by this river..." What a strange way to begin such a beautiful song! The protagonist seems to be reclined at the side of a river, staring up into space. His thoughts appear to be drifting. He has a companion, but still seems alone. He feels "as if on an ocean" (echoing the protagonist of "Julie With..."), forgetful and isolated. His companion speaks "as if from a distance." Even his words appear alien to him, "from another time." Nothing around him seems to make sense in the moment.

    This feels to me like the flow of time, the slow progression and forgetfulness of age. The silence of approaching death -- I can see perhaps an elderly man, trapped in his thoughts, unable to express himself from within a slowly decaying body.
    msmoxwilliamson October 07, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI was quite entangled in hermetic and gnostic texts when I heard this song. The impact the lyrics in combination with the meditative sound had on me where (and are) largely colored by my search for the essence of these teachings: We are thrown into this world without a clue of our source or destination. Yet it is all right there, but we fail to see it.To me the river is a powerful symbol of life; flowing and changing, but also dangerous. Sitting by this river means that you are stuck, not able to overcome the angst of living, not able to fully embrace and be embraced by life. In stead you long for something in the past, or the future, as long as it is not in the present. It fits quite well in a movie like La stanza del figlio, I guess (haven't seen the movie). Loss of a dearly beloved one shook my world at least, and confronted me with my own inertia: fear of death and loss is fear of living. This fear clouded my view of what is. It also made me realize that the moments I have been really open to life, prepared to jump into the stream, are rare.
    Tothon June 21, 2015   Link

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