This is my first attempt at applying my poetry analysis techniques to a song. The wordcraft wielded, however, made the transition effortless. Musicality won’t be analysed as I want to concentrate on the imagery created through the use of poetics. It is my personal interpretation of this particular song. As much as I would like to pick through all the lyrics, I’ve chosen this song to discuss what I have gleaned from these words; the entwining imagery of Norse mythology and Alice falling down the rabbit hole.
The “Citadel, of hope and white fire” casts the image of Valhalla. But it appears out of reach. Reserved as the resting place of kings alone. Also a play on words with, “Crowned in teeth,” that furthers the image of royalty, that is the cap of the tooth referred to as the crown. As this “Citadel” is out of reach, another world from Norse mythology springs to mind, Midgard.
The use of the word “Anatomy” to describe “space and time” is incongruous as space and time are supposed to be infinite and intangible. It adds to the myth of how Midgard came to be.
“Flesh to flowers, blood to rivers,
My breath to the wind…”
According to this legend, the world was created when the gods killed the giant Ymir, who was the first being created. They then placed the body in the void, blackhole, at the centre of the universe and from his flesh they made the earth; his blood became the oceans; his teeth formed the cliffs; his skull was held aloft by the personifications of each point of the compass to form the heavens. The sun, moon and stars are said to be sparks within his skull.
“Anatomy..” also brings to mind this quote, “Time is the mind of space”. But that notion can remain suspended because it belongs in a post of its own!
“Gathered in veiled depths…Descendant,
Are these God’s tears in this pitch black tomb or the pain of my memories?”
Echoes of Poe’s ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ where the protagonist cannot separate dream/death/reality, and suffers through bouts of lucidity and surreality. Where tortures, real and imagined, are not enough to surpass the fear of the beyond. But I digress again.
The emptiness of the afterlife is expressed. Metaphysical ideas of what is beyond, however, captures the imagination.
Is what awaits beyond that most profound slumber (Poe, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’) just an eternal spiral wherein you are locked, within your own conscience and forced to replay past miseries? The duality of light and dark run parallel, woven in memory as the abyss is ignited. A metaphor for the end of the world presents itself.
“This Blackhole ignites,
My world in bloom”
“Ignites” kindles a fiery end while “bloom” births a fresh, new world. Norse mythology refers to this event as Ragnarok; the end of the world as we know it. I didn’t mean to quote another song there, but sometimes cliches happen. The great serpent will rise up to devour the earth. There are allusions to oceans throughout with “Abyssal” and “fathomless” used to pertain to things nautical. A picture of the world swallowed down the gullet of the Ourobouros; down the “Abyssal Wyrmwell”.
“My world in bloom,
Here I stand, Citadel…here I stand…”
A new world will rise up from the sea that consumed the old. The cycle, the serpent eating it’s own tail, will continue. The image of something that consumes to inevitably give rise to a new beginning ties in with the threads of this metaphysical conceit.
“A purging of ashes down her hourglass figure,
Inscribed on my heart – Devour me, Colossus”
Notions of death and time, always inextricably linked, surface. Alice chasing the White rabbit down into the abyss plays in my mind. Hourglasses are used in the context of life slowly passing with each grain of sand. It also symbolises Alice leaving girlhood behind; the gradual loss of her innocence. Also alluded to with the use of “hourglass figure”. She is then trapped in a room where she must foray into the unknown or risk imprisonment in limbo. “Devour me” is a reference to the cake she must consume to grow to perhaps colossal proportions. Then she must drink to shrink to a helpless diminutive size and pass this trial before she can open the door to Wonderland. A new world blooms beyond this doorway.
Duality of death and rebirth prevail, but the question still remains, what world will bloom to life on the other side?
On a side note, this analysis, nay, my very understanding of this particular song would not have been possible, or as thoroughly inspired, if it were not for a series of random occurrences. The connection with Norse mythology would not have occurred to me if I hadn’t researched Viking mythology about a month before this was written. What can I say, I had such an urge that day to look into Midgard and the Ourobouros especially. I have also heard this song many times and Alice in Wonderland was never in my mind until the morning I cast my poetry analysis eyes over it. Everything, all the glorious wordcraft intermingled with musical masterpieces, fell into place. My epiphany moments leave me exhilarated and a little scared. The human brain is capable of absorbing what happens between the lines if you choose to see it.