‘The Infant Kiss’ is a song written by Kate Bush. It was inspired by the gothic horror movie The Innocents, which in turn was inspired by Henry James’ novel The Turn Of The Screw. The story is about a governess who believes the ghost of her predecessor’s dead lover is trying to possess the bodies of the children she is looking after. The song was released on the album Never For Ever.


There are two versions of this song: the original album version and a French version, entitled Un Baiser d’Enfant, released two years later.

Music video

American Kate Bush fan Chris WIlliams made a video for ‘The Infant Kiss’ using scenes from the movie ‘The Innocents’. According to Kate, who contacted him after she saw the video, he’d chosen the exact scenes that were in her head upon writing the song.

Cover versions

‘The Infant Kiss’ was covered by Kat Devlin and Yuri Kono.

Kate about ‘The Infant Kiss’

‘The Infant Kiss’ is about a governess. She is torn between the love of an adult man and child who are within the same body.

Kate Bush Club Newsletter, September 1980

It was based on the film, The Innocents. I saw it years ago, when I was very young, and it scared me, and when films scare you as a kid, I think they really hang there. It’s a beautiful film, quite extraordinary. This governess is supposed to look after these children, a little boy and a girl, and they are actually possessed by the spirits of the people who were in the house before. And they keep appearing to the children. It’s really scary – as scary on some levels as the idea of The Exorcist, and that terrified me. The idea of this young girl, speaking and behaving like she did was very disturbing, very distorted. But I quite like that song.

Radio Programme, Paul Gambaccini, 30 December 1980

The thing that worries me is the way people have started interpreting that song. They love the long word–paedophilia. It’s not about that at all. It’s not the woman actually fancying the young kid. It’s the woman being attracted by a man inside the child. It just worries me that there were some people catching on to the idea of there being paedophilia, rather than just a distortion of a situation where there’s a perfectly normal, innocent boy with the spirit of a man inside, who’s extremely experienced and lusty. The woman can’t cope with the distortion. She can see that there’s some energy in the child that is not normal, but she can’t place it. Yet she has a very pure maternal love for the child, and it’s onlyy little things like when she goes to give him a kiss at night, that she realizes there is a distortion, and it’s really freaking her out. She doesn’t fancy little boys, she’s got a normal, straight sexual life, yet this thing is happening to her. I really like the distortedness of the situation.

Kris Needs, ‘Fire In The Bush’. Zigzag (UK), 1980


I say good night-night
I tuck him in tight
But things are not right

What is this? An infant kiss
That sends my body tingling?

I’ve never fallen for
A little boy before
No control

Just a kid and just at school
Back home they’d call me dirty
His little hand is on my heart
He’s got me where it hurts me
Knock, knock. Who’s there in this baby?
You know how to work me

All my barriers are going
It’s starting to show
Let go. Let go. Let go.

I cannot sit and let
Something happen I’ll regret
Ooh, he scares me!

There’s a man behind those eyes
I catch him when I’m bending

Ooh, how he frightens me
When they whisper privately
(“Don’t Let Go!”)
Windy-wailey blows me

Words of caress on their lips
That speak of adult love

I want to smack but I hold back.
I only want to touch

But I must stay and find a way
To stop before it gets too much!

All my barriers are going
It’s starting to show
Let go. Let go. Let go.
(Don’t let go!)


Viol: Adam Sceaping
Lironi: Jo Sceaping
Electric guitar: Alan Murphy
String arrangement: Jo & Adam Sceaping


  • Graeme Thomson, Under The Ivy: The Life & Music Of Kate Bush, cop. 2012. ISBN 9781780381466.
  • The Infant Kiss (fan-made video). YouTube, retrieved October 10, 2014.