-- Planet Of The Clowns --
9 September 1981. Tenerife.

Found on:

The Trouble With Normal (1983) & (2002)

Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 4 (2014) [compilation album]

Stare into the moonlight
Silver fingers press my eyes
Probing in my heart with longing

These footprints by the sea's edge
Disappearing grain by grain
Lose their form but keep their substance

As the waves roar on the beach like a squadron of F16's
Ebb and flow like the better days they say this world has seen

Government by outrage
Hunger camps and shanty towns
Dignity and love still holding

This bluegreen ball in black space
Filled with beauty even now
battered and abused and lovely

And the waves roar on the beach like a squadron of F16's
Ebb and flow like the better days they say this world has seen

Each one in our own heart
Desperate to know where we stand
Planet of the clowns in wet shoes

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 1994 - "I had just finished reading "Shikasta" by Doris Lessing. I was in the Canary Islands sitting on the beach. That book is a work of fiction, which the author is very careful to point out in the introduction to the book. It's a beautiful myth that is built out of the myths of all cultures. The origins of the world and it's short future. It's very poignant and disturbing, but beautiful at the same time. Somehow that all went together with the imagery of the place, being on the beach under the moon. 'Planet of the Clowns' is a song I've always really liked, actually. There's that sense of standing on the edge of space, when you're near the ocean. But a person standing at the edge of the ocean is kind of comparable to the world on the edge of the galaxy. That sense of being on the edge of something so much bigger of which you are an inescapable part but which will engulf you if you don't keep yourself together." - from "Closer to the Light with Bruce Cockburn" by Paul Zollo, SongTalk, vol.4, issue 2, 1994. - Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.