With all the clarity of dream
The sky so blue, the grass so green
The rank and file and the navy blue
The deep and strong, the straight and true

The blue line they got the given sign
The belts and boots march forward in time
The wood and leather the club and shield
Swept like a wave across the battlefield

Now with all the clarity of dream
The blood so red, the grass so green
The gleam of spur on chestnut flank
The cavalry did burst upon the ranks

Oh the iron will and iron hand
In England's green and pleasant land
No music for the shameful scene
That night they said it had even shocked the queen

Well alas we've seen it all before
Knights in armor, days of yore
The same old fears and the same old crimes
We haven't changed since ancient times

Lyrics submitted by Dasch

Iron Hand Lyrics as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Iron Hand song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentYes, this is about the miners strike. Apparently, Knopfler had turned the TV on one evening and caught a report about the clash between the police and the miners, and the report had said that the Queen had been shocked by the violence. He thought, 'I'm not surprised, it shocks me, too!' and the song was written from that. I love the typical Knopfler bit at the end - all the way through, it seems as if he's condemning Margaret Thatcher and the police action, and yet at the end he says, 'We haven't changed since ancient times' which puts the onus for everything squarely on all of us, and it's true! Deep down, almost everyone is capable of just about anything. Mark Knopfler's writing is exceptional, I don't think I've ever seen a song of his where he's put in a word or phrase just so that it rhymes, his lyrics are always so well thought out. I think he and Paul Simon are the most outstanding musicians/song writers of our time. And by the way, has anyone read a book called 'The Sound Of one Hand Clapping' by Fay Doxford? Because it seems to me that the lead character, a famous musician, has a lot in common with Mark Knopfler!
    guttion January 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA simple but effective anti-war song. Like most of the OES album, it aims at a fairly mediocre target and hits it.
    ShineYouDiamondon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about the fairly brutal put-downs of the miner's protest during the miner's strike in the UK in the 80s.
    arniethegovernoron January 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt relates to the Battle of Orgreave during the UK miners' strike, with Mark Knopfler remarking on how the police charge on horseback into the crowd of striking miners had reminded him of the savagery of medieval times.
    The title is most likely a reference to Margaret Thatcher's nickname, the "Iron Lady"
    LadyWriteron November 05, 2015   Link

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