"The Gunner's Dream"
The story of a gunner's thoughts as he falls or parachutes from an aircraft to his death in the midst of a war. The recording opens with radio communication to someone in what sounds like a helicopter. The lyrics begin by painting a grim picture:
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.
Next the gunner says his goodbye to his family as he imagines his own funeral service:
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.
The gunner then describes his dream [ The Gunner's Dream ], which is a place without war, and hunger, and there is freedom of speech and religion. The lyrics, "And what's more no-one ever disappears, You never hear their standard issue kicking in your door," refer to the WWII era in Germany when Jews were taken from their homes in the night. The line, "And maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control", is in reference to the infamous Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings, in which the Irish Republican Army [ IRA ] set off two bombs planted beneath bleachers killing British ceremonial bandsmen, Eleven soldiers were killed in the attack. The gunner's dream continues: "And everyone has recourse to the law And no-one kills the children anymore. And no one kills the children anymore". Everyone is protected and subject to the same laws and to justice. Meaning no one is allowed to commit murder, thus no one kills the children, the young soldiers, anymore.
A place to stay
"Oi! A real one ..."
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.
The song concludes with the words of the man who listened from the helicopter speaking about gunner's last words over the radio as he plunged to his death. Forever the words will haunt this person. At the last fourth and fifth line below Waters borrows a line, "in the corner of some foreign field..." from a famous poem called "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke. The last three lines plead that we do not let the gunner's death be in vane, that we should strive for the gunner's dream.
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.
What's done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene.
Take heed of his dream.