One Track Mind: Pink Floyd, "On the Turning Away" (1988, live)

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by Tom Johnson

Listening to Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound Of Thunder, I found myself perplexed at some of the lyrics to “On The Turning Away.” Singer/guitarist David Gilmour states:

Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

I found myself wondering, “How would they know? How would the ‘speechless’ know to ‘unite in a silent accord’?” I mean, they’re speechless, and I have to take David “speechless” statement literally meaning that they are mute, at least, if not deaf, and therefore would probably have to sign to each other to unite in that silent accord. But that’s not very poetic, is it?

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Celebrating Pink Floyd’s massive 2011 reissue project, with thoughts on songs from ‘Saucerful of Secrets’ to ‘Division Bell’.]

The vision I have in my head is a gathering of silent people who just came together. My vision of this doesn’t include sign language, I’m sure yours doesn’t either. It’s much more dramatic if they just come together.

The only thing that really made sense to me was ESP. They must have all known to unite in a silent accord by sending mind-messages to each other.

I tried sending my wife the message “let’s unite in a silent accord.” She didn’t respond.

Or maybe it’s . . .

Where the speechless unite
In a silent Accord

A few “speechless” people carpool in a very, very quiet Honda Accord.

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