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The Gunner's Dream

Note: Originally typed 2008-07-29T13:41:36-05:00

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.
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.
What's done is done,
We cannot just write off his final scene:
Take heed of his dream,
Take heed...

--Pink Floyd, "The Gunner's Dream"

I woke up with this song going through my head, after having had a dream in which I am pretty sure (87% confidence) that I played the part of the Gunner. The dream the Gunner has is good one, and one which I certainly hope that we can eventually meet. His expectations are not all that outrageous, if you think about it. He does not ask for a Utopia, just somewhere that there is a modicum of comfort to all, and free expression actually still works, and no one is killing anyone. Really quite simple, no?

As a sidenote to this song, the album it comes from, The Final Cut, was originally intended as a sequel to The Wall. Thus, though that intent was lost due to inter-band bickering (Waters wanted it to be more of an anti-war album, protesting the Falklands War--railroaded it through and caused much resentment in the band), there are some of the same characters in the album as in The Wall. The one that most stands out is named the Hero in this album, but is no stranger to anyone who has ever listened to The Wall and wondered why the Teacher had it in so badly for children. I suspect that he feels the way he does because of the haunting memories he has of the Gunner and the war as a whole. I also suspect that, just maybe, the Hero feels responsible for the Gunner's death (was he flying the plane? in charge of navigation? the CO on board?), and, as such, the Gunner's dream "is driving [the Hero] insane" because it is still unrealized even in part.

PS: Still no server.