For those of you who do not know: Tuomas Holopainen is the composer and founder of the group Nightwish. Their latest album, Imaginaerum, was released less than two weeks ago. The last song on this album contains a 6 minute long retelling of Walt Whitman’s “Song of myself.” At first I found this retelling too simplistic in its wording but after listening to it a few times I began to love it. That is why I share it with you now. Press the link and go to youtube to hear the recitation from the poem.
Song of Myself
I see a slow, simple youngster by a busy street,
With 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 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 obese girl enters an elevator with me.
All dressed up fancy, a green butterfly on her neck.
Terribly sweeet 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 guilded 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 it’s 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 it’s 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 manboy 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
– F H Hakansson