White chalk hills are all I've known
White chalk hills will rot my bones
White chalk sticking to my shoes
White chalk playing as a child with you

White chalk stands against time
White chalk cutting down the sea at Lyme
I walk families by the Cerne
On a path cut fifteen hundred years ago

And I know
These chalk hills will rot my bones

Dorset's cliffs meet at the sea
Where I walked our unborn child in me
White chalk, gorse-scattered land
Scratched my palms, there's blood on my hands

Lyrics submitted by stentorian, edited by Home777, Mathiwn, TheCritic

White Chalk Lyrics as written by Polly Jean Harvey

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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White Chalk song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentBittersweet Melancholia...
    She loves the white chalk but it's also smothering.
    xdvron September 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my creazy interpretation: it's around 1901, her name is annabel and she's rich. she was in love with a soldier and had an affair with him. he went to war and she realized she's pregnant with him. than he was killed on the battle field and her body is not strong enough to keep the baby alive. and now after a year she's standing on the dorset cliff and watching the sea, wondering if she should jump. she knows she will never love anyone else, that she's ment to live her life alone...and she feels like it's going to be a long and sad road til finally these hills will bury her bones...
    indiaaon October 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think its about being in the same place for too long, growing up and dying in the same town you were born in.
    1min 44 is so gorgeous!
    Imaginaryboyon November 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteh . . screw 'em indiaa . . .
    you have a lovely imagination and sometimes you get associations with certain words of a song. You are entitled.
    zekenzoeyon October 10, 2008   Link
  • +1

    White chalk hills are all Ive known.
    White chalk hills will rot my bones.
    White chalk sticking to my shoes.
    White chalk playing as a child with you.

    White chalk south against time.
    White chalk cutting down the sea at Lyme.
    I walk the valleys by the Cerne,
    on a path cut fifteen hundred years ago,

    and I know, these chalk hills will rot my bones.

    Dorsets cliffs meet at the sea,
    where I walked, our unborn child in me.
    White chalk, gorse-scattered land,
    scratched my palms, theres blood on my hands.
    NashvilleShaneon August 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIndiaa, what the hell?
    Anus_Presleyon October 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, what the hell, indiaa? I know this is a place for interpretations...but I didn't think that included chewing mushroms before posting.
    I think this song is indeed about having enough with the same life you've led so far. Playing as a child, when I carried your unborn child. Enough. I need fresh air. Yet, it's part of who you are. This song is just about "one of those days"...
    stentorianon December 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe that this song is about her going through a deep depression.. drug use.. and abortion.

    "Where I walked our unborn child in me
    White chalk poor scattered land

    Scratched my palms
    There's blood on my hands."
    OhDarling_ItsOveron December 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about tradition.
    it's about where you're from.
    'sticking to my shoes' - always with you.
    and the reference to 'rot my bones' - she'll be burried there.
    Unborn child - tradition will carry on.

    I don't think it's a depressing song at all, I think it's very uplifting!
    I'm not sure about the last lines.. i mean I'm guessing she's scratched her palms against the hills...
    I mean wasnt PJ born in Dorset??
    stinaribenaon February 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, PJ was born in Dorset.

    I don't think this song meant to be sad. I think it's about always being tied in your heart to a certain place. The place where the narrator grew up, the place she played as a child, the place she had kids. Those hills have been around longer than her, and they'll be there once she's gone. No matter where she goes, she'll always end up back at those hills.
    MadnessMethodon April 13, 2008   Link

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