Watcher Of The Skies – Genesis

Watcher of the Skies is the first track on Genesis’ 1972 album Foxtrot. The title is borrowed from John Keats’ 1817 poem “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”:

Then felt like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken.

The song is about an alien that comes to Earth to find it deserted. It begs the question – is it deserted because the creatures here destroyed themselves or because they have left it behind to go somewhere else. The song borrows the theme from Arthur C. Clarke’s book “Childhood’s End”.

Lyrics:

Watcher of the skies watcher of all
His is a world alone no world is his own,
He whom life can no longer surprise,
Raising his eyes beholds a planet unknown.

Creatures shaped this planets soil,
Now their reign has come to an end,
Has life again destroyed life,
Do they play elsewhere, do they know
More than their childhood games?
Maybe the lizards shed its tail,
This is the end of mans long union with earth.

Judge not this race by empty remains
Do you judge God by his creatures when they are dead?
For now, the lizards shed its tail
This is the end of mans long union with earth.

From life alone to life as one,
Think not now your journeys done
For though your ship be sturdy, no
Mercy has the sea,
Will you survive on the ocean of being?
Come ancient children hear what I say
This is my parting council for you on your way.

Sadly now your thoughts turn to the stars
Where we have gone you know you never can go.
Watcher of the skies watcher of all
This is your fate alone, this fate is your own.

Peter Gabriel, Anthony Banks, Phil Collins, Steven Hackett, Michael Rutherford

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