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I got two strong arms
Blessings of babylon
Time to carry on
And try
For sins and false alarms
So to America the brave
Wise men save

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you

I got plans for us
Nights in the scullery
And days instead of me
I only know what to discuss
Oh for anything but light
Wise men fighting over you

It's not me you see
Pieces of valentine
With just a song of mine
To keep from burning history
Seasons of gasoline and gold
Wise men fold

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you

I got time to kill
Sly looks in corridors
Without a plan of yours
A blackbird sings on bluebird hill
Thanks to the calling of the wild
Wise mens' child

Near a tree by a river
There's a hole in the ground
Where an old man of aran
Goes around and around
And his mind is a beacon
In the veil of the night
For a strange kind of fashion
There's a wrong and a right
But he'll never, never fight over you



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/nik_kershaw/the_riddle.html

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  • k
    +1
    Katja TissariFeb 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    The man who wanted to see, fought for me. There's no superior to a warrior. U divine desire. Thru the line of fire of wrong n right w a good forsight. Your win is my gain. Everything else is insain.

    This was my favvo when 7 or sum. Ask my dad. "The questionmark house". ~~ :) Nooo-o! I don't speak in riddles. Lol
  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredJan 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm
    I thought this song was an anti nuclear war song, about early 80's cold war paranoia. Lines like the "hole in the ground" was the bunkers or missile silos,. "the old man of aran goes around and around", in tamil, aran is "defence" going around and around, the beacon in the night I took as being, maybe a radar.
    "for a strange kind of fashion there's a wrong and a right,"
    meant in the cold war both sides, for whatever reason, thought themselves to be right, and they will never fight over you, but over their political ideology. (wise men fighting over you)
    the next lines could well have meant hiding in the underground bomb shelters,. "i got plans for us, nights in the scullery... " etc.

    It's not me you see, this is a valentine just a song of mine
    to keep from burning history, seasons of gasoline and gold
    wisemen fold:
    ie, burning history, destroying all that has been created, seasons of gasoline and gold, = fighting over commodities?

    Other lines point also to fears of nuclear war, including
    "wisemen's child". The atomic bomb, (oppenheimer's toy?)
    no he'll never fight over you. The riddle was, what are they fighting over, and will it really happen?

    These are just my thoughts and personal opinion :)
  • m
    0
    Milton CrowMar 11, 2014 at 1:03 am
    Kershaw actually made up the story about the lyrics being nonsense many years after the song's release because he was sick of explaining it out of context. Obviously the rhyme and meter of the song could not just come off the top of his head, and almost all Kershaw's lyrics have a social commentary.

    The concept of the album, "The Riddle," was that each song questioned a different detrimental aspect of society: "Coming Up Roses" - environmental destruction, "Wide Boy" - adoration of celebrity, "Wild Horses" - resistance to reform, etc.

    The album's title song questions conflict over oil, particularly in the Middle East. Aran is the ancient name of Azerbaijan, where petroleum was produced to light the lamps of the Persian empire. Aran was also the birthplace of Zoroaster. "Old Man of Aran" is a double entendre of Zoroaster (source of wisdom) and petroleum (first a source of light, but eventually a source of strife).

    Everything else in the song is debatable, but to me the allusions all fit together, particularly considering Kershaw's sentiments in other songs about imperialism, espionage, pollution and warfare.

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