See Emily Play: Comment

On Songmeanings

   Hmm. Could it not just be a beautiful character portrait of Emily, a series of snapshots of the mysterious “she,” similar to Good Vibrations? Her sorrow is just like a glimmering light or prism refraction of the beautiful, as seen through a deep and beautiful lady. “Borrow dreams” and float on a river go together. Is it not Syd’s contact with the beautiful, similar to how each great lyricist has one love song where contact with the beautiful makes them a poet? But it is so inspired, a collage like “free games for May,” selecting magical verses that sound and look good, though one cannot say just why. I’d bet there is more about the mysterious Emily. Simon’s “For Emily…” is sometimes said to conjure Emily Dickenson, as the beatnicks and folk guys loved that Emily, so one wonders.

   Reading Stephen Greenblatt on Hamlet, back in Will and the World (pp. 314?), it occurs  that Syd here, in his Mona Lisa style portrait of the beautiful, shows inwardness, as Greenblatt notes Shakespeare does with the soliloquy in Hamlet. She tries but misunderstands, borrows dreams, and gazes at trees in silent sorrow. She floats on a river. If it is cliche to say, psychedelic music began to show the soul in a new way, here with Syd’s Pink Floyd. The whirling women at the gigs of this band are most alluring.

   And now I am thinking again of Jeff Lynne and his contact with the Anima on the shore one night. As said, contact with the anima can be shattering or it can be a gateway to knowledge, and the cause of becoming a great poet. And it could be too that breakdown of the personal psyche can allow the experience of what is called “She,”  and one can take up the question of the cause of the illusion in love. And Brian Wilson seeing the lyrics of “Good Vibrations,” Mick Jagger, Colors, and the “Romantic” poets in general who are in contact with the beautiful through the soul of love. “Oh latest born, but lovliest far of all Olympos faded hierarchy,” says Keats of Psyche in his ode to her. The study of the soul is the latest born of all the sciences, the most difficult, and perhaps the most lovely.

On Syd Barrett: “Shine On” and “Wish You Were Here:”

   Wish You Were Here is of course about Syd Barrett and the reason he is no longer with Pink Floyd. Madness is refracted light, sometimes imaged by a shattered mirror. Genius is like a diamond reflecting sunlight from many facets. When he was young, he shined like the sun…Seeing too soon is often a description of an effect of LSD, the idea being that when one ascends naturally to certain intelligible things, these are better integrated. In Plato’s Phaedo, there is the image of eclipse, the idea being that one cannot safely look at the sun with the moon in front of it, an analogy of natural philosophy. Lunar influence is similar, but different, not earth but a heavenly body of the night sky. The mad may see “demons” because something is similarly in the way.

   So you think you can tell…

   Madness is often accompanied by certainty and an inability to question ones own false apprehensions, because of the overpowering revelatory truth in the apprehensions, indeed seen, but in the wrong way. Restoration of self criticism is one remedy. The intelligible and the visible or literal must be disentangled, by patient reflection. And not that these do not fit together! Al Farabi teaches that the mad see the principles, but wrongly. The knowledge within the soul is one cause of madness, the other causes being what skews the apprehension. Roger Waters is a genius, and not mad or a casualty of the 60’s or the recording industry, but the Shining of Syd got them started.

A walk on part in a war/ For a lead role in a cage:

   Waters laments losing Syd from the life they could have had with Pink Floyd. Heroes were traded for ghosts, and the life of the Floyd Rock star for imprisonment in an institution- from which I hear Syd is now free. (There was a purpose too to the music revolution, not just money and fame.) Did they get you to trade: Waters blames the music industry, as does Chrissy Hynde in “Chain Gang,” here for dragging Syd about, drugging him to show up on stage, as in the Wall.

   For the first time, I have looked up the words to Astronomy Dimine, which I first heard about 44 years ago. I never heard Oberon, Tiania and Miranda in there. Ok, lets have the words:

Lime and limpid green, a second scene
Now fights between the blue you once knew
Floating down, the sound resounds
Around the icy waters underground
Jupiter and Saturn, Oberon, Miranda and Titania
Neptune, Titan, stars can frighten

Blinding signs flap,
Flicker, flicker, flicker blam, pow, pow
Stairway scare, Dan Dare, who’s there?

Lime and limpid green, the sounds around
The icy waters under
Lime and limpid green, the sounds around
The icy waters underground

   The descending notes, as well as the icy water underground, indicate a submerging or descent into the “unconscious.” Hence Waters later, “Thin ice,” in The Wall.” One wonders why Miranda, the Wonder or admired one, could not keep him afloat.

   Ok, then back to the begining: See Emily Play. But here is “Echoes:”

Overhead the albatross
Hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
An echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine

And no one called us to the land
And no one knows the where’s or why’s
Something stirs and something tries
Starts to climb toward the light

Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand
The best I can

And no one called us to the land
And no one crosses there alive
No one speaks and no one tries
No one flies around the sun

Almost everyday you fall
Upon my waking eyes
Inviting and inciting me
To rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning

And no one sings me lullabys
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky

(Pasted from Songmeanings)





2 thoughts on “See Emily Play: Comment

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