Sometimes, Art gives birth to more art. The lead singer of the symphonic metal band ‘Nightwish’ – one of my favourite bands, is a huge fan of the poet Walt Whitman and the 12th song on their Album ‘Imaginaerum’ – the brilliance of which I mentioned here, is inspired by one of the poet’s poems. The song is called ‘Song of Myself’ – a name it shares with the original poem. The entire ‘Song of myself’ poem is terribly long and I doubt any one of you would have the patience to read it. However, at the end of Nightwish’s song, they perform a poem of their own – also inspired by the original poem. It is painfully beautiful. If you like symphonic metal and poetry, you can listen to the song and the poem at its end here. I have taken my favourite section of the poem and transcribed it because I wanted to see these beautiful words on a page. I share this with you now.
(For a truly blissful experience, read this on a PC while playing the video embedded below from the 7:10 time marker.)
I see a slow, simple youngster by a busy street, A begging bowl in his shaking hand. Trying to smile but hurting infinitely. Nobody notices. I do, but walk by.
An old man gets naked and kisses a model-doll in his attic It’s half-light and he’s in tears. When he finally comes his eyes are cascading.
I see a beaten dog in a pungent alley. He tries to bite me. All pride has left his wild, drooling eyes. I wish I had my leg to spare.
A mother visits her son, smiles to him through the bars. She’s never loved him more.
An Arabesque girl enters an elevator with me. All dressed up fancy, a green butterfly on her neck. Terribly sweet perfume deafens me. She’s going to dinner, alone. That makes her even more beautiful.
I see a model’s face on a brick wall. A statue of porcelain perfection beside a violent city kill. A city that worships flesh.
The first thing I ever heard, was a wandering man telling his story. It was you, the grass under my bare feet. The campfire in the dead of night. The heavenly black of sky and sea
It was us, Roaming the rainy roads, combing the gilded beaches. Waking up to a new gallery of wonders every morn. Bathing in places no one’s seen before. Shipwrecked on some matt-painted island, Clad in nothing but the surf – beauty’s finest robe
Beyond all mortality we are, swinging in the breath of nature. In early air of the dawn of life. A sight to silence the heavens
I want to travel where life travels, following its permanent lead. Where the air tastes like snow music. Where grass smells like fresh-born Eden. I would pass no man, no stranger, no tragedy or rapture I would bathe in a world of sensation Love, goodness and simplicity (While violated and imprisoned by technology)
The thought of my family’s graves was the only moment I used to experience true love. That love remains infinite, as I’ll never be the man my father is.
How can you “just be yourself” when you don’t know who you are? Stop saying “I know how you feel” How could anyone know how another feels?
Who am I to judge a priest, beggar, whore, politician, wrongdoer? I am, you are, all of them already
Dear child, stop working, go play Forget every rule. There’s no fear in a dream.
“Is there a village inside this snowflake?” – a child asked me “What’s the colour of our lullaby?”
I’ve never been so close to truth as then. I touched its silver lining
Death is the winner in any war. Nothing noble in dying for your religion. For your country. For ideology, for faith. For another man, Yes
Paper is dead without words. Ink idle without a poem. All the world dead without stories. Without love and disarming beauty
Careless realism costs souls
Ever seen the Lord smile? All the care for the world made Beautiful a sad man? Why do we still carry a device of torture around our necks? Oh, how rotten your pre-apocalypse is. All you bible-black fools living over nightmare ground.
I see all those empty cradles and wonder If man will ever change.
I, too, wish to be a decent man-boy but all I am Is smoke and mirrors Still given everything, may I be deserving
And there forever remains the change from G to E-Minor