"And Dream of Sheep" as written by and Kate / Bush....
Little light shining
Little light will guide them to me
My face is all lit up
My face is all lit up
If they find me racing white horses
They'll not take me for a buoy

Let me be weak, let me sleep and dream of sheep
Oh I'll wake up to any sound of engines
Every gull a seeking craft
I can't keep my eyes open
Wish I had my radio
I'd tune into some friendly voices

Talking 'bout stupid things
I can't be left to my imagination
Let me be weak, let me sleep and dream of sheep
Ooh, their breath is warm
And they smell like sleep
And they say they take me home
Like poppies, heavy with seed
They take me deeper and deeper

Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"And Dream of Sheep" as written by Kate Bush

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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And Dream of Sheep song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentKate: [On “And Dream of Sheep,” the line that says 'Come here with me now.'] “When I was little, and I'd had a bad dream… [my mother would] say something like "Come here with me now." It's my mother saying this line in the track…” (gaffa.org/garden/…).

    -- The Ninth Wave opens with the Girl in the Water: terrified, exhausted, scared; wanting/fighting sleep; trying to still herself with the patience of sheep lost in snow... By the end of “And Dream of Sheep,” she is unconscious… sinking into that intermediate state between life-death and rebirth...
    -- What follows is a series of 5 dreams/nightmares, rising from her ‘unconscious’ state. (Maybe she becomes semi-conscious at some point; maybe she does not.)
    -- During the final Chorus of “Hello, Earth” she drowns. Note the philosophic, mournful ending of the song.
    -- The whispering/comforting “Come here with me now” (at the beginning/Alpha) has become the whispering/comforting “Go to sleep little earth” (at the end/Omega).
    -- The ocean = dark, deep, unconscious, id, life, grave, womb… etc, etc.

    But the Wheel of Life is a continuous wonder, thus the rebirthing “The Morning Fog.” …

    In Mahayana Buddhist soteriology the Bardo is the intermediate state between lives, when the mind experiences a series of hallucinations culminating in its next birth... To the Buddhist it is impossible to envisage 'no mind'. The state of a disembodied mind is active, hallucinatory and, depending on its karmic imprints, sometimes nightmarish.

    'To die, to sleep ... To sleep, perchance to dream.
    Ay there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause...' - Hamlet.

    Hamlet realised that 'Not to be' is not an option, there is only 'To Be' - in some state or other, pleasant or unpleasant… The Buddhist agrees with Shakespeare, rather than with the materialists, in believing that mental imprints caused by actions in previous lifetimes (karma) cause phenomenal manifestations. And those manifestations continue to be experienced as dreams or nightmares throughout the intermediate state from tomb to womb… (website.lineone.net/~kwelos/…).
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon April 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhilst this woman is in danger of drowning she has two conflicting thoughts. One is trying to stay awake - hence wishing she had a radio - otherwise if she falls asleep she might drown. The other voice actually welcomes death as she is so exhausted and afraid that a peaceful death in her sleep is preferable to the long struggle for survival in the cold harsh sea. If she sleeps and dies then she believes she will be taken somewhere more comforting.
    GaffaUKon February 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song begins the second half of the Hounds of Love album, which is subtitled "The 9th Wave." It turns out this a very complex song:

    The whole 9th Wave suite is about a woman, maybe Kate, maybe not, drowning out in an ocean and the hallucinations, experiences, and emotions that ensue. Apparently, the little light shining reference refers to the type of lifejacket with lights on them. A rescue crew finally comes to save the woman (why this is the opening track to the suite has always puzzled me, when this seems to be the end of the journey when she is rescued). The rescuers are in the water, their lifejackets shining on her face in the dark night, the woman utterly exhausted; she just wants to be weak and go to sleep.

    "If they find me racing white horses -
    They'll not take me for a buoy."

    This refers to the woman trying desperately to let herself be seen by racing white horses (or thrashing against the white-encrusted waves) so that the rescue crew won't "mistake me for a buoy."

    The rest is her just wanting to sleep forever as she is placed in the aircraft (plane? helicopter?).

    Like I said, this is the opener, but it's really the end of the 9th suite story. This song is followed by Under Ice, which appears to be when the woman first gets trapped in the water.
    starpatrolleron August 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see this song as a chic being lost at sea with just a torch or something (little light shining, guiding them to me). I always thought the ending bit, rather than being a rescue, was her finally falling asleep from hypothermia, and being led deeper and deeper by 'them'.
    Still, whatever you think it means, it's a great song, and despite being quite dark, it's very soothing and relaxing.
    rikkuon November 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis was one of my friend, Colleen's, favorite Kate songs. RIP, Colleen.
    girlybaton November 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA fragile song, heavy and exhausted.
    ‘If they find me racing white horses,
    They'll not take me for a buoy.’

    The girl has already been in the water for hours, text-book ‘racing white horses’, desperately trying to attract attention so not be mistaken for a buoy. She has confused sea gulls with search parties. She is now exhausted…

    Too tired to keep struggling, she places all her faith and hope in the little torchlight on her life-jacket… She prays, Little light will guide them to me…
    Without energy, she can do no more than fix the torch to keep her face lit up (with hope)…
    She tries to enliven, to keep racing… but is fighting sleep, wanting to shut down thinking, imagination and struggle… Don’t worry, I’ll wake up if I hear boats, engines, rescuers…

    Against losing the struggle, she wishes she had her radio… The ‘friendly voices Talking 'bout stupid things’ would now be so appreciated… keeping her awake and distracted…

    She might be using ‘stupid’ affectionately, or she might be referring to the weather reports. “Weather services tracked the formation of these storms, but failed to appreciate their rapid development in time to warn either fleet of the impending gale winds…”
    (Hinz, The Fastnet Race disaster of August 1979; and see gaffa.org/dreaming/…)

    But she is slipping fast… Let me be weak, Let me sleep And dream of sheep…

    little light=both the life-jacket torch and the hope/faith/prayer she feels.
    they say they take me home=home=death.
    poppies=opium=heroin=morphine=Morpheus (the god of dreams in Greek mythology; Morpheus sleeps surrounded by poppy flowers).
    deeper and deeper=deeper=into subconscious dream state… (leading into dream recall ‘Under Ice’).

    A sad and beautiful song, about people struggling against the odds.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOn the Fastnet Race disaster of August 1979:
    - Winds were reported at Force 6, with gusts of Force 7. Forecasters were predicting winds of Force 8.
    - In the event, competitors were caught in Force 11 hurricane strength gusts midway between Land's End and Fastnet.
    - The rescue effort included: Royal Navy ships, RAF Nimrod jets, helicopters, lifeboats, a Dutch warship, tugs, trawlers and tankers.
    - Many of the smaller yachts taking part in the competition were not equipped with a radio and were therefore not able to report their positions.
    - By the time the winds subsided, 15 people were dead, 24 crews had abandoned their yachts and five craft had sunk. 136 sailors were rescued.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment'Ev'ry gull a seeking craft...' - The gulls can fly to safety, but she must wait to be rescued...

    ‘And dream of sheep./Ooh, their breath is warm/And they smell like sleep…’
    - see THE SHEEP UNDER THE SNOW (William Kennish, W.H. Gill, etc.)
    - Shepherds searching for sheep lost in snow use probing-poles; "round breathing-holes" are formed by the heat of the sheep’s breath in the snow, which afford them partial ventilation and also attract the scent of the dog/rescuer/The Good Shepherd.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat does she mean by Like poppies, heavy with seed -
    They take me deeper and deeper. Oh I'll wake up to any sound of engines I can't be left to my imagination? i understand the rest. I love this song and until i saw these comments i thought it was about being sleepy but now i understand it!
    Katebushfan4lyfeon September 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd they say they take me home
    Like poppies heavy with seed
    They take me deeper and deeper...

    In 'And Dream Of Sheep,' KB uses the simile 'like poppies heavy with seed'. Opium is the name for the latex produced within the seed pods of the opium poppy. Morphine, the principle ingredient of opium, is named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Heroin is a processed derivative. The first period of large scale heroin smuggling into the United States since its 1923 prohibition occurred during the years 1967-71 (opioids.com/jh/…). After injecting heroin, the user reports a surge of euphoria. Most people feel 'a warm glow' ("My face is all lit up..."), and any concerns become insignificant. After the rush, they enter an alternately wakeful and drowsy state, with substantially reduced psychological pain. In ADOS, the protagonist is wanting to sleep rather than be left to her distressed imagination. She longs to dream cotton wool dreams; and the poppy simile clearly reveals that she understands opiate effects as a drug addict would. ('White Horse' is street slang for heroin or cocaine.)

    In 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' (Philip K. Dick; filmed as 'Blade Runner,' 1982) there are three distinct groups: humans, "specials," and androids. Specials are damaged humans, no longer considered real humans; they are looked down upon as sub-human. The novel questions what is human and "humanness." Key here is empathy. At the outset of the novel we see Deckard tending to his fake sheep and wishing for a real one... Since the war that caused the radioactive fallout, real animals are scarce and have become status symbols. Caring for an animal means displaying empathy, humanness, signalling that people with pets are not androids. But during the novel, we see that Deckard who is considered human by society is very cold and unfeeling, while Isidore (Sebastian) and Rachael who are considered sub- or non-human display much more emotion.

    KB's ADOS could thus be a longing for empathy and warmth, a longing to show empathy and warmth, and a compassionate longing to feel human.

    In 'Sheep in Fog,' Sylvia Plath creates a complex extended metaphor where the subject is her own spiritual experience. "Fog" is an important catalyst in this process because it indicates a state of perception and comprehension where the definite borders between concepts break down allowing the concepts to merge into each other, becoming a higher unifying concept. The higher concept necessarily causes an expansion of consciousness in the reader. The poet explicitly states the images "sheep" and "fog" only in the title. The first stanza mentions "hills" and "whiteness". These concepts already blend into "sheep" and "fog". Then the sheep are further metamorphosed into "people" and "stars" indicating a further personification and a reaching into the cosmos. (See 'Sheep in Fog,' Ariel, Sylvia Plath, 1966.)
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon January 03, 2008   Link

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