The song is a dramatic blues-influenced ballad, with David describing a youthful love affair with a stranger "coming from the north" - "and me, I was a child of the sun". The stranger is welcomed by the narrator's father and given lodging and work "at the old oak tree". "He shared our bread and told me words that were stronger and more beautiful than the cotton in the sky". Passion develops between the two; "Every burning hot winter our love made the earth tremble", but one day men come for the stranger. "He tried to escape but it was too late, the trap was already closing around him" and he is taken away "with his hands above his head". "They thanked my father and then they left" and the song ends with the "sun child" calling for her lover's return.
David also recorded the song in German (as "Sonnenkind", translated: "Sun Child") and Italian ("Ragazza sole", translated: "Sun Girl").