It was the dirty end of winter
Along the loom of the land
When I walked with sweet Sally
Hand upon hand

And the wind it bit bitter
For a boy of no means
With no shoes on his feet
And a knife in his jeans

Along the loom of the land
The mission bells peeled
From the tower at Saint Mary's
Down to Reprobate Fields

And I saw that the world
Was all blessed and bright
And Sally breathed softly
In the majestic night

O' baby please don't cry
And try to keep
Your little head upon my shoulder
Now go to sleep

The elms and the popiars
Were turning their backs
Past the rumbling station
We followed the tracks

We found an untrodden path
And followed it down
The moon in the sky
Like a dislodged crown

My hands they burned
In the folds of her coat
Breathing milky white air
From deep in her throat

O' baby please don't cry
And try to keep
Your little head upon my shoulder
Now go to sleep

I told Sally in whispers
I'll never bring you harm
Her breast it was small
And warm in my palm

I told her the moon
Was a magical thing
That it shone gold in the winter
And silver in the spring

And we walked and walked
Across the endless sands
Just me and my Sally
Along the loom of the land

O' baby please don't cry
And try to keep
Your little head upon my shoulder
Now go to sleep

Lyrics submitted by LuckyJim

Loom of the Land song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentHmmm, i never took this song as being particularly sinister. Nothing about it struck me as such. I'll say, the Lolita reference is a bit unnerving, but the whole idea that he is a pedophile isn't working for me. If the knife is significant, and only mentioned once, and if the Lolita reference is also significant (which is debatable, considering the nature of the quote) then the line "The wind it bit bitter, for a boy of no means" should also be significant. They are both young, not just the girl. Infact, the only impression we get of her being young is a small breast, and that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with age.

    I think the knife, like many of the strange details that accompany the characters from this album, serves to describe the boy. He is poor, has no shoes, and carries a knife possibly for protection, or maybe hunting.

    Once the idea that he kills her is tossed out there, the whole chorus becomes somewhat spooky. "Please don't go to sleep" .....eerie. I guess the benevolence in me never read this song as being violent, and even after hearing the claim, i'm still not sure it is. The "i'll never bring you harm" line could serve that point, but that just sounds like the kind of thing a killer in a Nick Cave songs might say right before he kills someone. The untrodden path might lend to a murder scene, but i'm still not convinced, especially since they are both there at the end. I think it's just a sad song about a poor boy and his girl, walking along the beach, staring at the moon, maybe I'm just naive and romantic.
    StickityWicketon July 09, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is the song that made me fall in love with Cave´s music once upon a time when it was released and still to this day it brings a lovely heaviness upon my chest and tears in my eyes... and so on...
    Some people suggest that the character actually kills the girl at the end of the song, but doesn´t necessarily have to be the case, does it? Although it´s a melancholy and eerie piece, not every song Cave writes is a murder ballad...
    Trivia: The line "the elms and the poplars / were turning their backs" is taken from Vladimir Nabokov´s "Lolita", Cave´s no 1 favourite novel.
    drunken_tantrumon August 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentReminds me, Florence Sally Horner was an 11 year old girl who was kidnapped by a middle aged Frank La Salle in 1948 I think. She was taken across USA as his sex slave for 2 years. It is said that this story inspired Lolita.
    bibaon November 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch a lovely song...imo.
    bear_hug20on September 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with you drunken_tantrum; although, I do think that this song is inspired by the book "Lolita" (one of my av novels also) and it is actualy about a pedophile making love to this young girl. I do not neccessarily think that he kills her. Since he says " I told Sally in whispers I'll never bring you harm, her breast it was small and warm in my palm."
    Lizzaon February 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe mentions the knife, which seems significant. Probably why many people think he kills her in the end.
    bibaon February 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a convention in plays that you don't bring a gun on stage unless somebody's going to fire it. I'm sure the same applies to knives etc in songs. He may not kill her, but the threat is there.
    morbid moragon February 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeayty,sheer beauty...Heart-melting!

    But,could any native speaker explain what the phrase "loom of the land" means?I am greek and i know a loom is an apparatus that weaves!Thanks!
    armagezonon February 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song was probably inspired by numerous sources. I was reading a short story that struck me as being somewhat similar to this song and may have been partly inspirational. It's a beautifully written and very dark story by Leonid Andreyev called The Abyss. It's free to read online if anyone is interested. It's a similar story but what triggered the comparison was the word usage that is similar to Nick Cave’s song. I just thought I'd bring it to the table for interest sake.
    bluesflameon February 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song as others mentioned has a scent of crime in the air, but not necessarily that's the beauty of it, it only guides you to some possible outcomes it gives you some signs of sorrow that you might interpret as girl got killed but it can't be for sure. I think that this contrast is used only to describe his love for the girl, as to somewhat fatal.
    Миросon July 17, 2017   Link

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