Thursday, March 18, 2010

Southampton Dock

Southampton Dock 2:11
     (written by Roger Waters)

They disembarked in '45
And no one spoke and no one smiled
There were too many spaces in the line
And gathered at the cenotaph
All agreed with hand on heart
To sheath the sacrificial knives
But now

She stands upon Southampton dock
With her handkerchief
And her summer frock
Clings to her wet body in the rain
In quiet desperation
Knuckles white upon the slippery reins
She bravely waves the boys good-bye again

And still the dark stain
Spreads between their shoulder blades
A mute reminder of the poppy fields and graves
When the fight was over
We spent what they had made
In the bottom of our hearts
We felt the final cut

Roger Waters: "I listened to it again, very recently, and I really like some of it. I love all that Southampton Dock stuff, that little section — I'm really proud of that." [Dallas 148]

There is an implication in this song that the woman standing upon Southampton dock is Mrs Thatcher, and the slippery reins that she grips are the reins of state. This, of course, is debatable. Part of the symbolism of this song as well as Your Possible Pasts is the poppy. The poppy has been an important symbol of war in Europe ever since the First World War. The seeds of red poppies found in Europe can lay in the ground for years without germinating, and then grow after the ground has been disturbed; consequently, after the battles of WWI had violently disturbed the soil, the ground where many men had died and were buried became a blaze of beautiful colour: nature's memorial to the fallen.

Post War Dream, The
Your Possible Pasts
Hero's Return, The
Gunner's Dream, The
Paranoid Eyes
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
Fletcher Memorial Home, The
Southampton Dock
Final Cut, The
Not Now John
Two Suns in the Sunset

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