Day Is Done – The Twilight Saga of Songwriting


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Nick Drake's Day Is Done at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. An Elegy at Sunset: Unveiling the Sunset of Life
  5. A Race Against Time: The Futility of Human Pursuit
  6. Amidst Life’s Deception: The Inevitable Onset of Age
  7. The Bird’s Flight from an Empty Nest: A Mirror to Isolation
  8. The Silent Echoes of Unfulfilled Intentions

Lyrics

When the day is done
Down to earth then sinks the sun
Along with everything that was lost and won
When the day is done

When the day is done
Hope so much your race will be all run
Then you find you jumped the gun
Have to go back where you begun

When the day is done, when the night is cold
Some get by but some get old
Just to show life’s not made of gold
When the night is cold

When the bird has flown
Got no-one to call your own
No place to call your home
Now the bird has flown

When the game’s been fought
Newspaper blown across the court
Lost much sooner than you would have thought
Now the game’s been fought

When the party’s through
Seems so very sad for you
Didn’t do the things you meant to do
Now there’s no time to start anew
Now the party’s through

When the day is done
Down to earth then sinks the sun
Along with everything that was lost and won
When the day is done

Full Lyrics

In the realm of resonant folk music, Nick Drake’s ‘Day Is Done’ stands as a haunting reflection on the transience of life, painting in somber tones the sense of loss and regret we all experience. Released posthumously in the shadow of his untimely death, this track engages listeners in a ruminative journey through the fading light of departing moments.

Drake’s work often pierces the veil between simplicity and profundity. ‘Day Is Done’, with its gentle guitar plucking and melancholic melody, poses as a tender lullaby to the soul. Yet beyond its dulcet surface, it encapsulates a universal truth about the human condition in its cyclical pattern of triumph and defeat.

An Elegy at Sunset: Unveiling the Sunset of Life

The song’s repeated line, ‘When the day is done,’ operates as a metaphor not only for the conclusion of a literal day but the end stages of life itself. Drake’s narrative, one of contemplation and somber resignation, recognizes the ephemerality of existence. Here, the sinking sun is a metaphor for the unavoidable descent we must all take into the night.

Drake’s genius lies in his ability to universalize this experience. His lyrics tap into a collective consciousness that speaks to the inevitability of dusk—both the cosmic event and the twilight of our lives. There is melancholy here, but also a deep understanding that every setting sun heralds the rise of another dawn.

A Race Against Time: The Futility of Human Pursuit

‘Hope so much your race will be all run.’ This poignant line captures the essence of human efforts and ambitions against the unforgiving backdrop of time. It echoes the exhaustion of striving, perhaps in vain, towards one’s goals. Drake’s invocation of the phrase ‘jumped the gun’ implies a hasty or ill-timed start, exploring the theme of regret.

This mention of a race suggests not only the competitive nature of life but also its linear progression. Drake’s listeners are invited to examine their own lives—are we too racing towards a finish line, and what might it mean to ‘go back where you begun’? This introspective turn leads us to contemplate the circular journey that is often life’s course.

Amidst Life’s Deception: The Inevitable Onset of Age

The stark reality ‘Some get by but some get old’ tugs at the truth that, in life’s relentless march, some will succumb to the weight of years faster than others. The song captures the often-unspoken notion that age and wisdom do not distribute their gifts evenly; they can bring a growing realization that life may not hold the luster we once believed it did.

Drake’s observation ‘life’s not made of gold’ could speak to the disillusionment that arrives as youthful idealism fades. With aging, one may sense a greater divide between the life lived and the dreams one held dear, spurring a poignant reflection on the value of the experiences we gather.

The Bird’s Flight from an Empty Nest: A Mirror to Isolation

The solitude that surfaces in the line ‘No place to call your home’ strikes an emotional chord with anyone who has felt the pang of abandonment. There’s a dual sense of loss conveyed—the departure of the bird, symbolizing someone close who has left, combined with the desolation of those who remain.

Drake masterfully uses the bird’s departure to highlight the stark reality of solitude, where companionship is fleeting and the sanctuary of belonging can vanish in an instant. The heartache that accompanies such aloneness resonates through his words and music, touching that lonely place within us all.

The Silent Echoes of Unfulfilled Intentions

‘Didn’t do the things you meant to do’ encapsulating the universal regret of unaccomplished intentions. In these lines lies the soul’s lament—a catalog of dreams deferred and opportunities missed. The song serves as a reminder that time is the ultimate arbiter of our desires.

It’s under Drake’s gentle hand that this painful truth is made palpable: the closing of life’s festivities comes too soon, leaving us with unstarted ventures and resolutions only half-formed. Here, ‘Day Is Done’ becomes an ode to the unfinished symphony of human aspirations.

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