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White chalk hills are all I've known
White chalk hills will rot my bones
White chalk sticking to my shoes
White chalk playing as a child with you

White chalk sat against time
White chalk cutting down the sea line
I know Mary's by the surf
On a path cut 1500 years ago

And I know these chalk hills will rot my bones

Dorset's cliffs meet at the sea
Where I walked
(Our unborn child in me)
White chalk
(Poor scattered land)

Scratch my palms
There's blood on my hands



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/p/pj_harvey/white_chalk.html

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  • u
    +1
    UnregisteredMay 16, 2012 at 11:37 pm
    Definitely about dorset but the lyrics above are hopelessly inaccurate:
    'white chalk cutting down the sea at lyme/ i walk the valley by the cerne'

    Lyme = lyme regis, a small dorset town near where she lives
    The cerne = the cerne abbas giant - a huge white chalk figure carved in a hillside in dorset

    Possibly the character in the song is at home convalescing from an abortion - blood on my hand i.e. She feels guilty
  • u
    +1
    UnregisteredDec 27, 2011 at 6:52 am
    Analogy to the beaches of barbados which is a coral based island... Rock/hills/etc. Are all white with the coral whiteness to the point that it looks like white chalk. One growing up there and never leaving that island in the sea would only know this "white chalk" land, and living to the end of your days there, your bones will surely rot there as well. However, it's really about dorset coast from lyme regis to burton bradstock where there is a beautiful landscape of cliffs and landslides, including golden gap - at 191 metres, the highest cliff on the south coast of england. And a girl there who misses her loved one and is singing to him about their unborn child. She is anguish over his death and scratch's her palms to the point of blood as she cries from the cliffs.
  • e
    +1
    elchingenMar 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Pretty straightforward song. Polly is linked to the place she grew up in. The past of Dorset is joined to her in ways she cannot fully understand, but she feels all the same. One day, she'll fully return to the land that sprung her; the day she dies.

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