Posts Tagged ‘song interpretations


Time and Life Part Two: Slipping Through My Fingers

In Part One we took an impersonal approach on time and life so this time we’ll try to add a little emotion. I’ll do my best not to sound too cheesy though, just enough that the guys would suffer through it while making the ladies smile. Okay, here it goes.

A few days ago I heard the song Slipping Through My Fingers by Abba. Now I’m not going to talk about the movie Mamma Mia lest the guys start packing but rather about the lines from the song and how they relate to time and life.

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while

Ah, a mother watches her young daughter leave for school every morning and gets a bittersweet pinch in the chest each time.

The feeling that I’m losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I’m glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

I guess sooner or later we will lose everything forever, every single thing dear to us. With this we should be grateful for every shared blessing and cherish it as much as we can even if we cannot really enter our loved one’s world.

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it

Nostalgic as this may already seem, how sad it would be if these experiences never happened at all, or if one is unable to connect with her own daughter:

Do I really see what’s in her mind
Each time I think I’m close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

But do we really need to see what’s in a loved one’s mind? To you freethinkers out there, did you love your parents less when you became ‘enlightened’ and you started to think of them as less enlightened than you? Of course you’d love them more if they opened their minds, but just because they didn’t when you did doesn’t mean you loved them less.

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she’s gone there’s that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can’t deny

Hmmm…breakfast is a wonderful time for bonding but unfortunately both mother and daughter still have their minds dozing in dreamland, and it is only when one has left that the other realizes what was just permanently lost.

What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did but most we didn’t
And why I just don’t know

Ah, the could have beens. It is often said that regrets on the things we did can be healed by time, but regrets on the things we did not do will haunt us forever. Mark Twain said something similar to that.

At this point the chorus about trying to capture every minute is repeated. Surely there will be moments really worth capturing – by engraving them in vivid memory or by literally taking a picture – to preserve and immortalize them, as the song’s last lines suggest:

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time

Ah, time. It does things to us, to life. Life is at the mercy of time. And while life is personal and always longing for itself, time is neutral and unforgiving. However, life is also a cycle of birth and death, and linear time is needed to keep this cycle going.

With the psychological arrow of time we remember the past but not the future. And with this time has a given us a very generous gift: memories. And although life cannot survive the funny tricks of time, our memories often do.

inner minds


Our Last Summer

We had a drink in each café
And you, you talked of politics, philosophy
And I smiled like Mona Lisa…

That was from ABBA’s Our Last Summer, a song which tells of a woman’s precious memories of Paris a long time ago. Wow, imagine having a drink in each café – that’s practically bar hopping – with someone you really like, and then you talk about politics, philosophy and stuff. Alcohol loosens the tongue and the conversation unfolds naturally. Looking at her, you know from the intensity of her gaze that she is listening to every word you say, and from her quiet smile you can see that she likes what she’s hearing.

I was so happy we had met
It was the age of no regret
Oh yes, those crazy years, that was the time


Ah, the ‘immortality’ of youth. Living for the present, where each passing moment is all that matters. Carpe diem!

But underneath we had a fear of flying
Of getting old, a fear of slowly dying
We took the chance
Like we were dancing our last dance

Imagine the feeling when you know in your heart that you may never get this happy again. When you connect with somebody at an extraordinary level. When it seems that together you can take on the world. When you could even say something as cheesy as, “I could die this moment because this is the closest to Heaven that I’ll ever get.” And no matter what happens afterward, this moment will be your own happy ending.

And now you’re working in a bank
The family man, a football fan
And your name is Harry
How dull it seems
Yet you’re the hero of my dreams


Ah, so they didn’t end up together after all. But this only makes that ‘last summer’ all the more priceless, because it will never happen again – except in her memory, where it is immortalized, frozen in time.

And that is called Life.

I can still recall our last summer
I still see it all
Walks along the Seine,
Laughing in the rain
Our last summer
Memories that remain

inner minds


Golden Slumbers

Once there was a way to get back homeward/ Once there was a way to get back home/ Sleep pretty darling do not cry/ And I will sing a lullabye/ Golden slumbers fill your eyes/ Smiles awake you when you rise/ Sleep pretty darling do not cry/ And I will sing a lullabye

I think a lot of people love this song, but do we know exactly what it means? If you google it, you’ll find that Golden Slumbers is Paul McCartney’s version of the poem Cradle Song by Thomas Dekker and that he wrote it as a lullabye to himself because he misses his mom. Paul was trying to comfort himself the way his mother used to comfort him. How poignant. How sad.

Once there was a way to get back home.

Ah, Home. Whether for good or bad, the home is probably the most significant place that shaped our lives.  Scott Peck once wrote that, surprisingly, those who live in relatively happy homes are often the ones eager to explore the world and see other places while those who grew up in oppressive homes tend to be reluctant of getting out. The reason, he explains, is that when a child is born into a happy home, he/she forms a belief that the world is a happy and safe place that one should see. But for the child born into a cruel home, the world is a cruel place where harm is everywhere out to get you anytime, and so the child would rather stay at home because at least the hurts have a predictable pattern there and one can learn to get used to these hurts.

I remember reading somewhere that if the barn is on fire, the horses mysteriously run into the barn instead of away from it. One of the explanations the experts in animal behavior came up with is that the horses have known the barn as a warm safe place they call home. A fire naturally causes alarm and distress among the horses, and so they go to the place they consider their sanctuary, even if it is the very thing on fire.

Ah, the call of home. Whether by nature or nurture, the force is undeniable. Unfortunately, while perhaps most of us consider Home as the happiest place on earth that one should always return to, for quite a few it is the saddest, and if they eventually manage to get out, they would never want to go back.

While I feel for those who never had a happy home, I consider myself blessed for having been brought up in a home where, to borrow Scott Peck’s words, discipline and love gave me the eyes to see Grace. And so no matter where my feet may take me, I know my heart will always sing, Once there was a way to get back homeward… inner minds


Truly Scrumptious (Something Sweet This Time)

Let’s take a break from the heavy stuff. (For those who still haven’t had enough, discussions are still ongoing on the previous article.) This time let’s watch one of my favorite songs from the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Truly Scrumptious is actually the name of the woman in this clip. She develops a romantic relationship with a widower. Now, will she also win his children’s hearts? Watch and find out.


I’m So Tired

I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the brink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink

No, no, no.

Those lines were from the Beatles song I’m So Tired. John Lennon wrote it in India after three weeks of transcendental mediation, and he really was too tired he couldn’t sleep.

Personally, I haven’t yet experienced being so tired that I actually couldn’t sleep. Well, after a 5k run or a few games of badminton I couldn’t easily sleep either, but that’s just the adrenaline pumping, and after it wears out I just doze off. The only problem is that sometimes I’d wake up after a few hours and find it hard to go back to sleep. So just like John Lennon, I’d wonder, should I get up and fix myself a drink? No, no, no. Next time I’ll just have my drink right after the game, so when I get home I’ll just take a quick shower and then fall into uninterrupted dreamless slumber.


Green Briar

In the movie A Love Song For Bobby Long, John Travolta sings a very nice version of Barbara Allen:

“Mother, go make my bed/ Make it long and narrow/ My true love died for me yesterday/ I shall die for him tomorrow”/ She was buried in a church house yard/ And he was buried there beside her/ And from his grave grew roses red/ From hers grew green briar/ They grew and they grew so very high/ Till they could grow no higher/ And at the top grew a true lovers’ knot/ And the rose grew ’round the briar.

Actually that last line (And the rose grew ’round the briar) was from an older version of the song, but I like it better so I used it here to replace that of John Travolta’s version, which is simply “Twined with green briar”.

Nevertheless, just imagine, two kinds of lovely plants beside each other, and they grow, at first by the inch and then by the foot, side by side, until finally they wrap around each other in a “true lovers’ knot”, representing the true hearts of those just beneath them and from which they grew.

innerminds inner minds


Nicholas and Victoria

Close your eyes and begin to relax. Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing. With each breath you become more relaxed. Imagine a brilliant white light above you, focusing on this light as it flows through your body. Allow yourself to drift off as you fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of mind. Now as I count back from ten to one, you will feel more peaceful, and calm. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. You will enter a safe place where nothing can harm you. Five. Four. Three. Two. If at any time you need to come back, all you need to do is open your eyes. One.

Though I have yet to see a real hypnosis being performed in front of me (even better if performed on me), when I first heard those words from a Dreamtheater music album several years ago, I became curious.

I read some time in the early- to mid-nineties that hypnosis, contrary to popular notion, is not actually meant to control the person being hypnotized but rather to free his/her mind.

Now I am tempted to validate this with Wikipedia (the good thing about Wikipedia is that it warns you if an article lacks citation or appears to be original research or even if it’s neutrality is questioned), but it seems too much trouble to do that now and besides, I don’t want to interrupt my string of thought, this stream of consciousness.

Before personal computers became ubiquitous, I was used to writing with pen and paper. Can you imagine. And of course I had to use a real thesaurus and dictionary for editing. I had read before that when one is in the middle of writing and got to a word whose spelling or usage he/she is unsure of, that word should be left unchecked lest the string of thought gets lost, and just edit it later. But I was the obsessive-compulsive type, and so I had to try to hold on to that string while I riffle through Webster’s pages – made of pulp paper, not pixels. Thankfully, with the online language tools available today, writing and editing have become easier.

Back to hypnosis, I still will not read about it at Wikipedia, at least not now, because there is a rather big difference between finding the best synonym and reading long articles on a topic. And the latter would surely break my string of thought.

Oh, it just actually got broken…Ah, let’s get back to the Dreamtheater hypnosis song. So the hypnotherapist is counting from ten to one and says to Nicholas, “you will enter a safe place where nothing can harm you”. Then Nicholas sings:

Safe in the light that surrounds me
Free of the fear and the pain
My subconscious mind
Starts spinning through time
To rejoin the past once again

Nothing seems real
I’m starting to feel
Lost in the haze of a dream

And as I draw near
The scene becomes clear
Like watching my life on a screen

Hello Victoria so glad to see you
My friend.

Now I’m not going to explain the relationship between Nicholas and Victoria because it’s quite complicated. Suffice it to say that Nicholas needed to find peace with the past, and it had a lot to do with this Victoria.

So while he is in the state of hypnosis a lot of things happen through Nicholas’ mind, searching beyond the years and facing buried fears to find the truth. And then Nicholas sings:

Safe in the light that surrounds me
Free of the fear and the pain
My questioning mind
Has helped me to find
The meaning in my life again
Victoria’s real
I finally feel
At peace with the girl in my dreams
And now that I’m here
Its perfectly clear
I found out what all of this means

Ah, the priceless answers. The sacred truth. Nicholas must be ecstatic at this point.

Finally, the hypnotherapist says:

You are once again surrounded by a brilliant white light. Allow the light to lead you away from your past and into this lifetime. As the light dissipates you will slowly fade back into consciousness, remembering all you have learned. When I tell you to open your eyes you will return to the present, feeling peaceful and refresh.
Open your eyes, Nicholas.

Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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