4.31-THE SCARECROW (Pink Floyd)

Pink Floyd


The black and green scarecrow
As everyone knows,
Stood with a bird on his hat
And straw everywhere.
He didn't care....

     He stood in a field where barley grows.

His head did no thinking,
His arms didn't move
Except when the wind cut up rough
And mice ran around
On the ground.


The black and green scarecrow
Is sadder than me
But now he's resigned to his fate
Cause life's not unkind.
He doesn't mind.



Nick Mason’s percussive clip-clopping that dominates The Scarecrow sounds as if it was made by wood blocks, which gives the song the feel of being danced in sabots, while Richard Wright’s organ improvises along with an irregular beat emphasized by the tumbling lyric. The trick of metallic sliding on electric guitar in the bass registers suggest sitar music during the coda in a manner that imitates the Kinks’ Fancy.

Syd Barrett’s lyrics reflect a meditative comparison of the singer with a scarecrow in a field of barley. Perhaps the barley is a metaphor for his fans. But the scarecrow in this song is ineffectual: there’s a bird perched on its hat and mice run around at its feet—in no way does it actually protect the barley. Should Barrett’s life on the edge of LSD experimentation serve as a warning to his audience? The singer treats the scarecrow like an effigy of himself, and says that it seems sadder than the singer, resigned to his fate. But it’s not so bad being a scarecrow, because life is not unkind (in contradiction of Ruby Tuesday’s opinion about necessary dreams). The singer doesn’t explain why life is not so bad, and because of this I assume that something else might be meant which has greater development in the song—the notion that the singer and scarecrow are in some ways alike, or rather, to use a double negative, not unlike each other. The fact that the scarecrow doesn’t mind his existence may be because his head did no thinking. (In this the scarecrow is similar to that in the Wizard of Oz.) The song perhaps advises the singer to not worry about the effectiveness of his art, but be content with the song’s expression of a life.