Once again a soft intro with Celtic accents leads into a complex and totally enjoyable masterpiece typical of Steve Harris. The song ends as softly as it started, closing a great album in the best way possible.
The lyrics have been loosely inspired by the 1986 animated film When The Wind Blows, itself adapted from Raymond Briggs's graphic novel of the same name. The original story is that of an ageing couple, Jim and Hilda, who prepare for a thermonuclear war, each in his own way – Jim prepares a shelter, while Hilda is preparing tea. After the nuclear explosion that has destroyed everything around their little house in the countryside, they reflect on their past and wonder about the future, all the while exposing themselves to the radiations that eventually kill them. It's a beautiful tale about the madness of the authorities and the helplessness of the people when faced with anihilation.
The song, however, takes a different view, and the couple prepare for the apocalypse so much that they end up in total denial when the news arrive that this is not going to happen. What actually happens is a mere earthquake that scares them so much that they eventually commit suicide with poison, rather than face the aftermath of total destruction. This twist of the tale is quite ironic, mostly when you consider how hard they'd been working to prepare for survival. Well, that's Steve's excellent storytelling style.