Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Gunner's Dream

Floating down through the clouds
memories come rushing up to meet me now
in the space between the heavens
and in the corner of some foreign field
I had a dream
I had a dream

goodbye Max
goodbye ma
after the service when you're walking slowly to the car
and the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
you hear the tolling bell
and touch the silk in your lapel
and as the tear drops rise to meet the comfort of the band
you take her frail hand
and hold on to the dream

A place to stay
enough to eat

somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street
where you can speak out loud
about your doubts and fears
and what's more no-one ever disappears
you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door
you can relax on both sides of the tracks
and maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control
and everyone has recourse to the law
and no-one kills the children anymore
and no-one kills the children anymore

Night after night
going round and round my brain
his dream is driving me insane

in the corner of some foreign field
the gunner sleeps tonight
whats done is done
we cannot just write off his final scene
take heed of his dream
take heed

- Released April 2, 1983

- The song starts with the sound of "the gunners dying words on the intercom" mentioned in the previous song on The Final Cut, "The Hero's Return". As the Gunner falls through the air (floating down through the clouds) he dreams of the perfect world, his heaven in which:

. . . Old heroes shuffle safely down the street
Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears,
And what's more
No one ever disappears,
You never hear their standard issue

Kicking in your door

You can relax
On both sides of the tracks,
And maniacs
Don't blow holes
In bandsmen by remote control

"In the corner of some foreign field the gunner sleeps tonight" represents the gunner's death after he has fallen from his plane to the ground. This is preceded by the screaming of the word "Insane" which echoes the screaming of the falling pilot, this line also alludes to the poem "The War Sonnets: V The Soldier" by First World War poet Rupert Brooke which contains the lines "If I should die tonight, think only this of me/ That there is a corner of some foreign field, that is forever England."

"The War Sonnets: V The Soldier"

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

Her lights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

- The saxophone player in this song is
Raphael Ravenscroft who is known as the saxophonist for the classic Gerry Rafferty song, Baker Street.

- A tail gunner or rear gunner is a crewman on a military aircraft who functions as a gunnerfighter attacks from the rear, or "tail", of the plane. defending against enemy. The tail gunner operates a flexible machine gun emplacement on either the top or tail end of the aircraft with a generally unobstructed view toward the rear of the aircraft.

- An example of a tail gunner can be viewed during this scene from the venerable movie, The World According to Garp, when the bastard son, T.S. Garp, imagines himself as his father of whom he never met because he was a tail gunner in World War II.

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