It's three miles to the river
That would carry me away
Two miles to the dusty street
That I saw you on today

It's four miles to my lonely room
Where I will hide my face
And about half a mile to the downtown bar
That I ran from in disgrace

Lord how long have I got to keep on running
Seven hours seven days or seven years?

All I know is since you've been gone
I feel like I'm drowning in a river
Drowning in a river of tears
Drowning in a river
Feel like I'm drowning
Drowning in a river

In three more days, I'll leave this town
And disappear without a trace
A year from now, maybe settle down
Where no one knows my face

I wish that I could hold you
One more time to ease the pain
But my time's run out and I got to go
Got to run away again

Still I catch myself thinking
One day I'll find my way back here
You'll save me from drowning
Drowning in a river
Drowning in a river of tears
Drowning in a river
Feels like I'm drowning
Drowning in the river

Oh, how long must this go on?
Drowning in a river
Drowning in a river of tears


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery, edited by HestiaBHN

River of Tears Lyrics as written by Simon Climie Eric Patrick Clapton

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

River Of Tears song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Comment

    River of Tears is one the deepest song there is about a break up. Depressingly uplifting. The most tear-jerking part of the song is when the soft violins introduce the words: I wish that I could hold you... One more time to ease the pain. It expresses the feelings you have when you break up with someone. Beautiful.

    badnitruson March 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    umm i think this song can not only be about a break up up but also about losing anyone... either through seperation, meaning distance, or even losing someone through death. now that is not all that this song means either. if you look into claptons life history you will see that he has not had the easiest life. this song is really the story of his diffcult life... lines like "And about half a mile to the downtown bar That I ran from in disgrace." among other lines all have reference to claptons life... that is all for now i know i will have more.

    CLAPTON IS GOD!!!

    fixxxer363on May 09, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is very emotional song for me. Obviously of the loss of a love, and possibly something more. Either way it's a pretty depressing song.

    ECisGodon December 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The song is reaaly a peach of a song! thats really a portrait of break up.I had a sever break up that reaaly made me sick for so many years and noe I still feel the meaning of being far from the one you really loved. I drownin' too. and I wish that I could hold her one more time to ease my pain.

    shangrilaon May 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    There's absolutely nothing I can find wrong with this song... from the extended instrumental intro to the opening lines to the end. It is rich and powerful and moving and meaningful and universal and ... perfect. That's it, it is simply a rare, perfect work of art.

    maze63on March 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I simply love this song. You can just feel the music when you're listening. To me this song is about someone who lost someone who was very special to them. I'm sure everyone can relate to this song. Eric Clapton, you are one of my guitar heroes as well. Thank you for making such good music!

    ruinedfirecrackeron February 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love the version off 'one more car one more rider' , when i first heard the guitar solo i was like 'wooah!'- just as much emotion in the playing as there is in the lyrics

    Indoor Use Onlyon February 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    I agree with the previous comments but also link this song to Clapton's grief over the death of his son Connor. In my view this explains the bottomless grief expressed in the song. Perhaps he needed several attempts (eg Tears in Heaven) to truly get down what he was feeling.

    Bigfooton November 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    (It's four miles to my lonely room Where I will hide my face, And about half a mile to the downtown bar That I ran from in disgrace.)

    This portion makes me think he had an affair was caught and his wife subsequently left him.

    (Lord, how long have I got to keep on running, Seven hours, seven days or seven years? All I know is, since you've been gone I feel like I'm drowning in a river, Drowning in a river of tears. Drowning in a river. Feel like I'm drowning, Drowning in a river.)

    This section seems like he is doing all that he can to avoid his feelings.

    (I wish that I could hold you One more time to ease the pain, But my time's run out and I got to go, Got to run away again)

    This section makes me think he has issues with commitment and is a coward and runs from his relationships By asking for one more embrace it seems that he does love her but just cant stay.

    (Still I catch myself thinking, One day I'll find my way back here. You'll save me from drowning, Drowning in a river, Drowning in a river of tears. Drowning in a river. Feels like I'm drowning, Drowning in the river. Lord, how long must this go on?)

    I feel he wants to go back to her and she will take him back and some how forgive and make him over come his tendency to run away from relationships. He seems to have a lot of self loathing and doesn't want to be the way he is.

    blown93coupeon January 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is an amazingly beautiful and moving song. However, the lyrics as displayed above are incorrect. It is "miles" not "months" in 3 places in the first stanza. And "Oh" not Lord" in the last stanza.

    HestiaBHNon March 28, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Led Zeppelin
This is about bronies. They communicate by stomping.
Album art
Mountain Song
Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell gives Adam Reader some heartfelt insight into Jane’s Addiction's hard rock manifesto "Mountain Song", which was the second single from their revolutionary album Nothing's Shocking. Mountain song was first recorded in 1986 and appeared on the soundtrack to the film Dudes starring Jon Cryer. The version on Nothing's Shocking was re-recorded in 1988. "'Mountain Song' was actually about... I hate to say it but... drugs. Climbing this mountain and getting as high as you can, and then coming down that mountain," reveals Farrell. "What it feels to descend from the mountain top... not easy at all. The ascension is tough but exhilarating. Getting down is... it's a real bummer. Drugs is not for everybody obviously. For me, I wanted to experience the heights, and the lows come along with it." "There's a part - 'Cash in now honey, cash in Miss Smith.' Miss Smith is my Mother; our last name was Smith. Cashing in when she cashed in her life. So... she decided that, to her... at that time, she was desperate. Life wasn't worth it for her, that was her opinion. Some people think, never take your life, and some people find that their life isn't worth living. She was in love with my Dad, and my Dad was not faithful to her, and it broke her heart. She was very desperate and she did something that I know she regrets."
Album art
No Surprises
Radiohead
Same ideas expressed in Fitter, Happier are expressed in this song. We're told to strive for some sort of ideal life, which includes getting a good job, being kind to everyone, finding a partner, getting married, having a couple kids, living in a quiet neighborhood in a nice big house, etc. But in Fitter, Happier the narrator(?) realizes that it's incredibly robotic to live this life. People are being used by those in power "like a pig in a cage on antibiotics"--being pacified with things like new phones and cool gadgets and houses while being sucked dry. On No Surprises, the narrator is realizing how this life is killing him slowly. In the video, his helmet is slowly filling up with water, drowning him. But he's so complacent with it. This is a good summary of the song. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. politicians and businessmen, perhaps) is not the way to live. But there is seemingly no way out but death. He'd rather die peacefully right now than live in this cage. While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. that is going on in the world, often run by huge yet nearly invisible organizations, corporations, and 'leaders'. It's a very hopeless song because it reflects real life.
Album art
Punchline
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran sings about missing his former partner and learning important life lessons in the process on “Punchline.” This track tells a story of battling to get rid of emotions for a former lover, whom he now realized might not have loved him the same way. He’s now caught between accepting that fact and learning life lessons from it and going back to beg her for another chance.
Album art
Page
Ed Sheeran
There aren’t many things that’ll hurt more than giving love a chance against your better judgement only to have your heart crushed yet again. Ed Sheeran tells such a story on “Page.” On this track, he is devastated to have lost his lover and even more saddened by the feeling that he may never move on from this.