According to the Shapes of Things Songfacts, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith told NME staffer and press officer Keith Altham that he wrote this song about the destruction of the planet. He added: “I wrote it in a bar in Chicago. I just lifted part of a Dave Brubeck fugue to a marching beat. It’s a sort of protest song.”
Shapes of things before my eyes
Just teach me to despise
Will time make men more wise?