Filtering by Tag: holocaust

It Feels Like The Apocalypse

I usually start writing a song when I feel I have what I call ‘a good starting point’. It might be a sound, an image or even an entire line.

When I began to write It Feels Like The Apocalypse, I only had its title.

Among all the songs that are part of Songs Of Fear & Agony, It Feels Like The Apocalypse is probably the least personal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s less important than the others. 

 

We saw their flesh rotting,

Their bones turning to clay.

He said: ‘It’s the apocalypse.’

I said ‘Just a play.’


We walked on the rubble

Of the Tower of Babel

He said: ‘We’ll be history’

I said: ‘Just a fable.’


Yet I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.

 

I think of it as a series of memories related to a friendship that was not meant to last because of an apocalyptic social situation. I think it’s clear, in the verses above, that I’m talking about some sort of war. 

 

My friend was no idiot,

And to me, this was clear.

He just asked me in my dispassion

To comprehend his fear.


My friend transmuted hearts

Made of lead into gold

While I just conjured demons

For fear of getting old.


Now I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.


Why was the narrator’s friend so scared? Well, I wrote this song thinking of him as one of the targets of a violent discriminating government. What do you think will happen to him?

 

The last time I saw him,

He’d been tied up in chains.

They had shattered his head,

They had trodden on his brain.


The last time I heard of him,

I was wrapped up in shame.

I groaned, it was agony,

And I cried out his name.


So I find myself shuddering

At the syncopated tune

Of my own breath.

Death is a thought

I can ignore

No more.

 

The narrator basically tells us that, in front of the reality of death, he finally realised what his friend meant when talking of fear.

Although this song might sound like a social (or even political) lament, the themes I had in mind when I was writing it were much more existential. As it happens, eventually, the song got a life of its own, and it would be difficult for me to say that it doesn’t contain any references to (historical or modern) society.

In a way, it’s funny: I’ve always tried to ignore any kinds of politics, but it seems I can’t do that anymore, not even in my art... Am I too scared?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Maus, Art Spiegelman, 1980 - 1991

Maus, Art Spiegelman, 1980 - 1991

© Black Art 2019