As the substitute Philosopher of Genesis tells us it straight. I'll be honest I've no idea what the song is about. Why has someone climbed on a burning rope? Are the people following the climber those who do not wish them well? Or people in a similar situation to the Rope Climber?
And is the Man in the Moon's seduction a romantical way of saying insanity? Nothing circumstantial is all that clear. Only the moral that Tony Banks wants us to understand:
But keep in mindAs Old Eccle'astes himself said, "Vanity, vanity". It's a lovely time of the year. Birds are mating. Sun is strengthening. And yet in temperate northern latitudes, you can see a snowflake drifting in the breeze. Take a moment. Enjoy these things. Sunrises are easy to see when the sun is rising around half past seven. Enjoy the dramatic clouds. All these things will be around after you've gone - but you've just for this chance to stop and breathe and enjoy.
Don't live today for tomorrow like you were immortal
The only survivors on this world of ours are
The warming sun, the cooling rain
The snowflake drifting on the breath of the breeze The lightning bolt that clears the sky for you
Yet only eagles seem to pass on through
The words of love, the cries of hate.
And then this future afterlife - well that's as maybe. Tony Banks don't know. Which some would see as a failure of the public school system - designed as it was to promise the rewards of a Heavenly England to compensate for the chances of dying of dysentery in a far-flung land that was forever Stolen.
The eye of Lent sees further than the Seer of Charterhouse. It sees that all we have accomplished now will just turn to dust - so don't bother clinging on to it. But it sees with David's son that a burning rope - now put out - is in fact a way upwards which angels may ascend and descend on. Beyond Lent is Easter, and beyond age and disillusion and dust is resurrection. But enjoy the snowflakes, the sun and the rain. You're only mortal once.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Eccles 12:13-14)