‘Wish you were here’ – Pink Floyd

Written by: Kheyal

A glass half full is a glass half empty. Ironic as it is, everything in this world exists with its converse apparently giving us, humans, to form our own unique perspectives of the same, few things of this small world.

This however leads to the intricate aspects of circumstances at times, as some things or even some people may not be understood as they ‘should have been.’ Adding controversy to confusion, there is no definite way to perceive anything that one may follow. It is interesting to know, therefore, that we mostly depend on our experience to make sense out of almost everything.

Hence to err is human and err, we shall.

Pink Floyd is one of the bands that interest me. Their song ‘Wish you were here’ brings to light the same duality that characterises everything that can be named. The song is straightforward lyrically and yet challenges its very own claims making it deceivingly complicated. Roger Waters asks a couple of questions that mock the world over its conviction about right and wrong when there is hardly anything at all that is as clear as black and white.

“Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil?”

The beauty of poetry, as illustrated, makes the obvious and the banal, worth more than just a glance. Similarly, it is far from being uncommon, that every second person carries a private world within him or herself, unknown to the world outside. Just like the ‘smile that may veil’ whatever the heart feels, it is more of a trick question asked by the vocalist demanding his audience to differentiate between the two. Nevertheless, it is clear that the singer himself knows that it isn’t possible to answer his own question.

Conclusively, the song reminds us to rethink our points of view, especially when we think we know.

Despite putting the listeners in a dilemma of doubt, making them uncertain about their own assumptions, the singer expresses contrary opinion towards the end. Rather than being insecure, the song illustrates to reject the baffled judgment of one’s mind and revert to a simpler, satisfying attitude towards life. Referring to the words of Roger himself:

“Running over the same old ground, what have you found? The same old fears. . .”

According to him, we ‘waste’ the precious time of our lives confirming our suspicions and in general search for truth. A life spent like this is ‘wasted’ as we end up where we started or maybe even worse - more apprehensive than before. Therefore, the singer thinks it better to concentrate on other, rather abstract aspects of life like love. In other words, alleviating the status of loving and being loved, something that is more remarkable in spite of being simpler and fulfilling. So ending his song with the mushy desire, “wish you here” Pink Floyd make their point.

By Kheyal Azam Khalil

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Mann Erudite – Essays on Literary Works