It was only one hour ago
It was all so different then
Nothing yet has really sunk in
Looks like it always did
This flesh and bone
Is just the way that we are tied in
But there's no one home
I grieve, for you
You leave, me
So hard to move on
Still loving what's gone
They say life carries on
Carries on and on and on and on

The news that truly shocks
Is the empty, empty page
While the final rattle rocks
It's empty, empty cage
And I can't handle this
I grieve, for you
You leave, me
Let it out and move on
Missing what's gone
They say life carries on
They say life carries on and on and on

Life carries on in the people I meet
In everyone that's out on the street
In all the dogs and cats
In the flies and rats
In the rot and the rust
In the ashes and the dust
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on
Just the car that we ride in
The home we reside in
The face that we hide in
The way we are tied in
As life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Did I dream this belief
Or did I believe this dream?
Now I will find relief
I grieve

Lyrics submitted by Nelly

I Grieve Lyrics as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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I Grieve song meanings
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  • +5
    General Comment

    I was just rereading "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis and came across a very familiar line... The books is an edited version of Lewis' journal in which he copes with the death of his wife, Joy Gresham. Lewis, in case you didn't know, was (and is) a popular Christian apologetic. But in this book he questions his faith. He says at one point that his faith, prior to his wife's death, must have been like a house of cards which hadn't taken a real blow. He worries that even as he writes, he may be constructing a new "card-house," rationalizing and distancing himself, etc. And he writes,

    "But there are two questions here. In which sense may it be a house of cards? Because the things I am believing are only a dream, or because I only dream that I believe them?"

    Clearly Peter Gabriel took some inspiration from Lewis. That line was always my favorite in the song and now I love it even more.

    narsilon May 31, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    People are completely missing the point calling this song depressing. It's about dealing with grief and loss and coming out of it the other side. The uptempo section is really life-affirming and positive. That's why this is such a good song when dealing with grief. One of PG's best. Wish he'd done it live.

    bixiefaceon June 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    In my opinion this song is definitely about loss in the sense of death. Personally, I know when I lost someone I kept saying to myself that 1,5,8 hours ago they were alive and everything was different. He goes on to mention the denial part of grief where it simply just does not feel real. You go home and all of their things are still in the same place and it does not look different it looks like it did yesterday.

    The lyrics continue on to talk about the body, I believe. If you believe in a soul and in heaven or whatever then when you look at the body it truly is just something that "tied" the soul into it. Though the body remains, "no one is home" because the soul no longer resides within it.

    The lyrics then talk about the difficulty of moving on when there's still so much love. The next part of the song is still confusing to me as to exactly what the artist meant. Personally, I'm thinking that it's about the funeral in which the body is buried. When the coffin is dropped into the ground perhaps that is the "empty cage" again because the body is empty itself. Funerals are definitely difficult, so exclaiming that he can't handle it sounds like that's what he's writing about.

    Then he goes on to sound more painful, and he sings that we have to let it out and move on, which is what he is trying to do by raising the volume of his voice.

    Eventually, life does indeed carry on, but we never truly recover completely. We have days where we are upbeat but then we go right back to the pain we've always felt but hid so well. We put on a face during the day and at night when we are alone we take that face off and again continue to grieve.

    Rachel1290on October 11, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Peter said on the Larry King show he rote the song I Grieve when his two daughters were in NYC on 911 and he couldn't get in touch with them

    martyoneon March 12, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love this song... it makes me wanna cry

    siren86on May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is a great song. It's very relaxing. Thanks.


    zipped6648on May 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    as morbid as it may sound, i want this song played at my funeral! it made me bawl my eyes out, when i heard it on the movie 'city of angels'

    Miss Darkkon February 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this song makes me think of my uncle...i cried my eyes out..good frou frou put it "music is worthless unless it makes a complete stranger break down and cry"

    ImagineJLennonGHon February 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is so depressing, but so beautiful at the same time. You can hear the pain in his voice as he sings "I grieve for leave hard to move on." He is singing about a loss, a loss he never regains. What's lost is utterly, and recoverably, lost forever. Is he singing about a break up of a relationship, the death of someone close, who knows. What he does say is life goes on. This song means so much to me.

    Becoon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "Life (being) just the car that we ride in, the home we reside in, the way we are tied in, (etc.)" those metaphors for the fleetingness of life is so powerfully and poetically expressed in those lyrics. What a deep and beautiful song!

    Rob Don August 26, 2005   Link

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