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Referring to famous Morrissey's "Children in pieces" b-side.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

"To be in pieces" means to be shattered or broken. On an emotional level, you can say "I'm in pieces after she dumped me"

Quite similar to it's literal sense, imagine a glass bowl in pieces i.e. it's been smashed on the floor.

The lyrics from Morrissey's song go

Children in pieces in Irish industrial schools

which is a reference to the large scale abuse that took place in those schools and thus their childhoods have been damaged.

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Thanks a lot for a splendid answer. –  Tim Bezhashvyly Aug 3 '11 at 9:02

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