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5.30-WORLD OF PAIN (Cream)

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

LISTEN

Outside my window is a tree.
Outside my window is a tree
There only for me.
And it stands in the gray of the city,
No time for pity for the tree or me.

     There is a world of pain
     In the falling rain
     Around me.

Is there a reason for today?
Is there a reason for today?
Do you remember?
I can hear all the cries of the city,
No time for pity for a growing tree.

     [Chorus]

[Break]

[Repeat First Verse]

     [Chorus]

[Coda]


The internet is against me on this, but I have always thought that World of Pain was an allusion to O'Henry's The Last Leaf--instead of hearing There only for me in the first verse I've always heard There's only four leaves. I continue to hear it this way, and it makes more sense to me. But I may be wrong.

World of Pain is another of Cream's quieter psychedelic songs, but unlike the mellow sound of Clapton's lead guitar work in the We're Going Wrong, his double tracked wah-wah lead in World of Pain sometimes is far forward and loud. In the choruses double tracked guitars seems to crunch and snarl each line. I've always thought that the song enacted the pain of illness, tying it as I have to O'Henry, though there's nothing literally in the lyric to suggest that it sings of anything more than the blues on a rainy day. Is there a reason for today? suggests that the poet is tempted to death, seeing no particular reason to continue in a life without purpose. He is only hanging on, like a leaf clinging to life while being jerked around in a cruel urban storm.

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