There's a haze on the skyline, to wish me on my way.
And there's a note on the telephone --- some roses on a tray.
And the motorway's stretching right out to us all,
as I pull on my old wings --- one white duck on your wall.
Isn't it just too damn real?
One white duck on your wall. One duck on your wall.
I'll catch a ride on your violin --- strung upon your bow.
And I'll float on your melody --- sing your chorus soft and low.
There's a picture-view postcard to say that I called.
You can see from the fireplace, one white duck on your wall.
Isn't it just too damn real?
One white duck on your wall. One duck on your wall. One duck on your wall.
So fly away Peter and fly away Paul --- from the
finger-tip ledge of contentment.
Well the long restless rustle of high-heeled boots calls.
And I'm probably bound to deceive you after all.
Something must be wrong with me and my brain ---
if I'm so patently unrewarding.
But my dreams are for dreaming and best left that
way --- and my zero to your power of ten equals
nothing at all.
There's no double-lock defense; there's no chain on my door.
And I'm available for consultation,
But remember your way in is also my way out, and
love's four-letter word is no compensation.
Well, I'm the Black Ace dog-handler: I'm a waiter on
skates --- so don't you jump to your foreskin conclusion.
Because I'm up to my deaf ears in cold breakfast trays ---
to be cleared before I can dine on your sweet Sunday
lunch confusion.


Lyrics submitted by knate15, edited by Counterparts

One White Duck / 0^{10} = Nothing At All song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningSorry your all wrong its about Ian Andersons split from his first wife in about 1974 ish

    "As I pull on my old wings" (getting ready to leave)

    "One white duck on your wall" (Poignant last look around the house before leaving)

    "Im the black ace dog handler Im a waiter on skates" (fed up with all the mundain household chores)

    "Because I'm up to my deaf ears in cold breakfast trays ---
    to be cleared before I can dine on your sweet Sunday
    lunch confusion." (Just sick of chaotic domestic life)

    "And the motorway's stretching right out to us all" (There is a way out)

    "love's four-letter word is no compensation. " (sex isnt enough to make him want to stay)

    " and my zero to your power
    of ten equals nothing at all" (no matter how much he loves her he doesnt love her)

    I could go on,
    its not that complicated!
    mickemblowon May 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, but honestly I haven't got a clue. Will somebody please tell me what the hell these lyrics mean?
    dan0311on January 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWill somebody tell me what the hell the title means, then I'll worry about the lyrics.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have no idea either (then again, I haven't heard the song), but I'm going to give the title to my calculus teacher.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne other thing - "your way in is my way out" : most people see sex as an implicit bond between two people, and a way to intimacy and psychic dependency (way in). But the speaker sees it as a path to get out of himself and experience selfless love (way out, the tantric way). The two views cannot live together without problems.
    The person being spoken to believes that love should limit intimacy to just the two involved. But the speaker in the song does not subscribe to this view: "and love's four-letter word is no compensation". Again, he will probably end up deceiving her again.
    rainwalkon March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningsorry that was suposed to read ..... no matter how much she loves him he doesnt love her

    ever arrogant people can make mistakes!
    mickemblowon May 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningmickemblow is the closest so far. This song makes more sense if you're from the UK, about the same age as Ian Anderson, and have ever gotten divorced. It's about the end of his marriage, as is Black Satin Dancer. Other on the internet understand this song my better than I and only Ian truly understands it, but here's my take.

    At the point the song takes place their marriage either is ending or has ended.

    My apologies, mickemblow, if I duplicate any of your replies.

    "There's a haze on the skyline, to wish me on my way." - he's leaving. For good.
    "And there's a note on the telephone --- some roses on a tray." - Just a observation of how normal and domestic things seem.
    "And the motorway's stretching right out to us all, as I pull on my old wings" - the road is calling him as he pulls on his shoes/boots. Probably a reference to Red Wing shoes.
    "one white duck on your wall." - It used to be common to have white ducks or other things as a decoration on the wall, sometimes one for each person living there. The fact that there's only one means she's the only one left.
    "Isn't it just too damn real?" - The pain and harshness of the split is about as "real" as it gets. You wish it was a dream, but...
    "Well the long restless rustle of high-heeled boots calls." - He's being lured by a woman, possibly a prostitute.
    "And I'm probably bound to deceive you after all." - He admits he can't be faithful.
    "Something must be wrong with me and my brain ---
    if I'm so patently unrewarding." - He knows she's not happy with him.
    "But my dreams are for dreaming and best left that way" - The marriage was a dream that he should have left as a dream.
    "and my zero to your power of ten equals nothing at all." - No matter how much she loves him, it doesn't matter if he doesn't love her.
    "There's no double-lock defense; there's no chain on my door. And I'm available for consultation," - he's not bound by the marriage and is free to be with other women.
    "But remember your way in is also my way out, and love's four-letter word is no compensation." - It could be just a reference to the door to their house being both an entrance and an exit or that she used sex to get him to marry her but he can use it to end the marriage and love, in this case, is profanity and not enough to fix things.
    "Well, I'm the Black Ace dog-handler: I'm a waiter on
    skates --- so don't you jump to your foreskin conclusion.
    Because I'm up to my deaf ears in cold breakfast trays ---
    to be cleared before I can dine on your sweet Sunday
    lunch confusion." - He's tired of having to do chores all week before they have sex once a week on Sunday, but she shouldn't assume it's all about sex.

    If I skipped any lines it's either because it's obvious or I don't know. :-)
    Counterpartson June 10, 2020   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis song always seemed to me to be about the role of sex in a relationship. "Done you jump to your foreskin conclusion" i.e. just because we have sex together don't assume I'm going to be 'monogamous' or faithful " I'm probably bound to deceive you after all".

    The speaker is someone for whom sex is not bound by relationships or modern morality : "There's no double-lock defense; there's no chain on my door. I'm available for consultation,". He sees sex as a path to spirituality and helping/healing other people : "I'm the Black Ace dog handler, I'm a waiter on skates". 'Black Ace' is a reference to death, the 'dog' the fear of death. Death and sex are inextricably linked for all of us. Conquer your sexual repression and you conquer your fear of death.

    The speaker also considers himself on a journey to find himself through this sexual shamanhood - he is currently a 'zero', with lots of work to do before he can experience divine bliss "Sunday lunch confusion".

    If a nonspiritual person is hooked on the modern idea of power and wealth, then a spiritual person cannot grow with them : "my zero to your power of ten equals
    nothing at all" - so he must leave. He must delve into the "restless rustle of high-heeled boots" - symbolizing hedonistic exploration towards experiencing life fully. To do this we must leave behind the trappings of modern comfort : "fly away... from the fingertip ledge of contentment". Most people are holding onto material comfort by their fingertips, unable to love openly and with vulnerability, as is necessary for enlightenment.

    This sounds out there, as do most of my analyses. But I'm a lifelong Buddhist, and I've come to understand that many (if not most) of Ian's songs revolve around walking the path to enlightenment, which involves not being attached to things, society, people, ... but does involve living life to its fullest through really enjoying life in the most organic way possible. And yes, that includes sex (read about Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, which became known in the west around this time).

    Also read into the song "Teacher" a bit. That song is about not understanding how a guru could find enlightenment by indulging in drinking, sunbathing, and having fun. So much so that the student can't even focus on what he says.
    rainwalkon March 21, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI think it's his answer to accepting Christianity which in the song he doesn't.

    So fly away peter and fly away Paul, from the
    Finger-tip ledge of contentment.

    and my zero to your power of ten equals
    Nothing at all
    Conchison March 24, 2019   Link

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