Posted by: The Chhamanator | March 26, 2008

Each small candle

Many readers of this blog might not be familiar with the name Roger Waters. He is the chief songwriter of the greatest band of all time – Pink Floyd. Although each member of the band is extremely talented, it is Water’s lyrics that brought Floyd’s music to life. Speaking about everything from childhood trauma to death and mental retardation, he adds a poetic touch to the words and gives new life to the music that few in the field can achieve. The famous Dark Side of the Moon album which stood in the Billboard charts for an unprecedented 741 consecutive weeks is proof of both Water’s lyrical genius as well as the band’s musical mastery.

The following song is called “Each small candle” and is written by Waters after he left the band in 1985. It reminds me of a Chinese Proverb which goes “It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark”. The song is a moving libretto about both the horrors of war and the beautiful power of  humanity that can come out of it.

A few years ago, an Italian journalist from a Florentine newspaper, involved in the Iniziativa contro la tortura, which is the initiative against torture in Northern Italy, sent to Waters some lyrics written by a South American man who had been tortured. The English translation (which represents the first stanza of the song) proved to be very moving, and was set to music. The words remained untouched.. Until Kosovo.

The London Times had a piece which told the story of a Serbian soldier who saw an Albanian woman lying wounded in a burned-out building. He left his platoon, went over and helped her, and then joined his men and marched off. There was sense in that image. The rest of the song is about that.


Not the torturer will scare me
Nor the body’s final fall
Nor the barrels of death’s rifles
Nor the shadows on the wall
Nor the night when to the ground
The last dim star of pain, is held
But the blind indifference
Of a merciless unfeeling world

Lying in the burnt out shell
Of some Albanian farm
An old Babushka
Holds a crying baby in her arms
A soldier from the other side
A man of heart and pride
Breaks ranks, lays down his rifle
And kneels by her side
He binds her wounds
He gives her food
And calms the crying child
She gives him absolution then
Across the great divide
He picks his way back through the broken
China of her life
And there at the kerb
The samaritan Serb turns..
Turns and waves.. goodbye

And each small candle
Lights a corner of the dark…



  1. Tokio

    Nice blog!

  2. Very insightful indeed. Your post makes me wanna listen to Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

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