May Music, Day 5 – Prophetic Ghosts

Qustion 5 for day five of Twindaddy‘s musical challenge asks if there is a song that becomes caught in your mind. For me it’s not a whole song. Three lines of a song heard many, many years ago shift in and out of my mind on a fairly frequent basis. I never know what comes next and never bothered about finding out. It never troubled me.

All I knew was that the words were from a Genesis album one of my older brothers owned when I was about 12. As is the way, when you have older siblings, their musical tastes are often absorbed and become your own. I found this to be true of so many different artistes that they listened to. Later, I would find it to be true of my older husband! And now even with my kids. It makes for quite mixed musical tastes.

This particular song comes from the album, ‘Selling England by the Pound’ and the song is entitled, ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’. I couldn’t have told you that until a couple of days ago. And the only album that sprung to mind for me when I thought of Genesis was ‘A Trick of the Tail’. But, by that time, Phil Collins had taken over as lead vocalist while Peter Gabriel was still lead in the 1973 release of ‘Selling England by the Pound’.

When I researched the repeating lyrics I found myself further researching the meaning behind them. And this poem evolved. It seems to me that Peter Gabriel’s song was more than just an indictment on the seventies but a prophetic vision of the future.

Ghosts of future, past encased in music,  

spectral lyrics hint of prophecy,

reflections of a present found too wanting,

poor changes wrought for human dignity.

Genesis to revelations’ future,

selling nations, dollar, yen and pound,

drowning Thames, all rivers, countries flounder,

while money makes the world go spinning round.

Mediaeval music moving forward,

imagery writ by angel hand,

Gabriel’s voice, moving many mountains,

consumption, credit, death of earthly lands. 

‘ “Can you tell me where my country lies,” said the unifaun to his true love’s eyes.

“It lies with me,” cried the Queen of Maybe…’

intermittent medley in my mind,

no mere rhetoric in question,

Prohetically allegorical, I find.

Bathe, Fiddle, Sing

Egypt’s golden age defiled,

Historic records state,

Intangibles, all forgotten,

Resigned to fickle fate.

Bubbles of illusion burst,

Glamour all the rage,

History rewritten badly,

Burnt on to every page.

 

Rome, another, fallen thus,

All circus and a show,

Political machinations, manoeuvrings,

Citizens content to let it flow.

Corruption in the state

And in the status quo,

Learning left to others,

Leaders planned scenarios.

 

Britain in its empire days

All glory, majesty,

Worldwide fame and flags to plant,

Such a travesty.

Pride, the sin most deadly,

Altering the facts,

Blemishes on antiquity,

Everything out of whack.

 

Powerful becomes corrupt,

It’s written in the stars

And on all pages, in all books,

Dorian Gray revealed such scars.

Lessons from all ages,

From every corner found,

We look, ignore and perish,

Eyes focused on the ground.

 

Lift up our eyes,

Unto the skies,

See

The dawn arise,

Let golden glow be

Aurora’s show,

Not detonate

To die.

 

Amiss we stand,

Remiss we are,

While clowns cavort

In arena’s ring.

Nero fiddled,

Cleopatra bathed,

We dance

And laugh and sing.