Album: Famous Last Words (1993)
Play Video
  • In the sapling years of the post war world
    In an English market town
    I do believe we traveled in schoolboy blue
    The cap upon the crown
    Books on knee
    Our faces pressed against the dusty railway carriage panes
    As all our lives went rolling on the clicking wheels of trains
    The school years passed like eternity
    And at last were left behind
    And it seemed the city was calling me
    To see what I might find
    Almost grown, I stood before horizons made of dreams
    I think I stole a kiss or two while rolling on the clicking
    wheels of trains
    All our lives were a whistle stop affair
    No ties or chains
    Throwing words like fireworks in the air
    Not much remains
    A photograph in your memory
    Through the coloured lens of time
    All our lives were just a smudge of smoke against the sky
    The silver rails spread far and wide
    Through the nineteenth century
    Some straight and true, some serpentine
    From the cities to the sea
    And out of sight
    Of those who rode in style there worked the military mind
    On through the night to plot and chart the twisting paths of trains
    On the day they buried Jean Juarez
    World War One broke free
    Like an angry river overflowing
    Its banks impatiently
    While mile on mile
    The soldiers filled the railway stations arteries and veins
    I see them now go laughing on the clicking wheels of trains trains
    Rolling off to the front
    Across the narrow Russian gauge
    Weeks turn into months
    And the enthusiasm wanes
    Sacrifices in seas of mud, and still you don't know why
    All their lives are just a puff of smoke against the sky
    Then came surrender, then came the peace
    Then revolution out of the east
    Then came the crash, then came the tears
    Then came the thirties, the nightmare years
    Then came the same thing over again
    Mad as the moon
    That watches over the plain
    Oh, driven insane
    But oh what kind of trains are these
    That I never saw before
    Snatching up the refugees
    From the ghettos of the war
    To stand confused
    With all their worldly goods, beneath the watching guard's disdain
    As young and old go rolling on the clicking wheels of trains
    And the driver only does this job
    With vodka in his coat
    And he turns around and he makes a sign
    With his hand across his throat
    For days on end
    Through sun and snow, the destination still remains the same
    For those who ride with death above the clicking wheels of trains
    What became of the innocence
    They had in childhood games
    Painted red or blue
    When I was young they all had names
    Who'll remember the ones who only rode in them to die
    All their lives are just a smudge of smoke against the sky
    Now forty years have come and gone
    And I'm far away from there
    And I ride the Amtrak from New York City
    To Philadelphia
    And there's a man to bring you food and drink
    And sometimes passengers exchange
    A smile or two rolling on the humming wheels
    But I can't tell you if it's them
    Or if it's only me
    But I believe when they look outside
    They don't see what I see
    Over there
    Beyond the trees it seems that I can just make out the stained
    Fields of Poland calling out to all the passing trains
    I suppose that there's nothing
    In this life remains the same
    Everything is governed
    By the losses and the gains
    Still sometimes I get caught up in the past I can't say why
    All our lives are just a smudge of smoke
    Or just a breath of wind against the sky Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 1

  • Bill from San Francisco, CaI listened to this song while sitting at the memorial in Auschwitz, in Poland. In front of me was the train line entering the compound, and on either side was the gasatoriums / crematoriums. It was a very powerful reminder of just how cruel humans have been to each other. Peace!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Andrew Farriss of INXS

Andrew Farriss of INXSSongwriter Interviews

Andrew Farriss on writing with Michael Hutchence, the stories behind "Mystify" and other INXS hits, and his country-flavored debut solo album.

Rock Revenge Songs

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

Scott Stapp

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Billy Gould of Faith No More

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"They're Playing My Song

A song he wrote and recorded from "sheer spiritual inspiration," Allen's didn't think "Southern Nights" had hit potential until Glen Campbell took it to #1 two years later.