"The Poet And The Pendulum" as written by and Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen....
The end

The songwriter?s dead
The blade fell upon him
Taking him to the white lands
Of Empathica,
Of Innocence
Empathica
Innocence

The dreamer and the wine
Poet without a rhyme
A widowed writer, torn apart by chains of Hell

One last perfect verse
Yet still the same old song
Oh Christ, how I hate what I have become
Take me home

Get away, run away, fly away
Lead me astray, to dreamer?s hideaway
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, the whore for the cold world
Forgive me, I have but two faces
One for the world,
One for God save me
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, a whore for the cold world

My home was there and then
These meadows of heaven
Adventure-filled days
One with every smiling face

Please, no more words
Thoughts from a severed head
No more praise
Tell me once my heart goes right
Take me home

Get away, run away, fly away
Lead me astray, to dreamer?s hideaway
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, the whore for the cold world
Forgive me, I have but two faces
One for the world,
One for God save me
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, a whore for the cold world
Whore for the cold world
Whore for the cold world

Sparkle my scenery
With turquoise waterfall
With beauty underneath
The Ever Free

Tuck me in
Beneath the blue
Beneath the pain
Beneath the rain
Goodnight kiss for a child in time
Swaying blade my lullaby

On the shore we sat and hoped
Under the same pale moon
Whose guiding light chose you
Chose you all

I?m afraid, so afraid, of being raped
Again and again and again
I know I will die alone, but loved
You live long enough to hear the sound of guns
Long enough to find yourself screaming every night
And if you want
Live long enough to see your friends betray you
Years have I been strapped unto this altar
Now I only have three minutes and counting
I just wish the tide would catch me first
And give me a death
I always longed for

Second robber to the right of Christ
Cut in half - infacticide
The world will rejoice today
As the crows feast on the rotting poet

Everyone must bury their own
No pack to bury the heart of stone
Now he's home in Hell, serves him well
Slain by the bell, tolling for his farewell

The morning dawned upon this altar
Remains of the dark passion play
Performed by his friends without shame
Spitting on his grave as they came

Get away, run away, fly away
Lead me astray, to dreamer?s hideaway
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, the whore for the cold world
Forgive me, I have but two faces
One for the world,
One for God save me
I cannot cry ?cause the shoulder cries more
I cannot die, I, a whore for the cold world
A whore for the cold world
A whore for the cold world

Today, in the year of our Lord, 2005
Thomas was called from the cares of the world
He stopped crying at the end of each beautiful day
The music he wrote had too long been without silence
He was found naked and dead
With a smile in his face, a pen and 1000 pages of erased text

Save me!

Be still, my son
You're home
Oh when did you become so cold?
The blade will keep on descending
All you need is to feel my love

Search for beauty, find your shore
Try to save them all, bleed no more
You have such ocean's within
In the end
I will always love you

The beginning


Lyrics submitted by The_howling, edited by Sapherd

"The Poet and the Pendulum" as written by Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Poet And The Pendulum song meanings
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  • +8
    Song MeaningSorry, I managed to post this in the wrong box. There were two and I got it wrong the first time.

    I tend to agree with a lot of what I've read here. However here are a few points not made. First, what I've seen of Tuomos and Tarja, Tuomas was very much smitten by Tarja, but Tarja didn't return his feelings. In fact Tarja married Marcelo, and this resulted in the song "I wish I had an Angel". Given that Tarja's nickname was Angel, it gives the song a lot of additional meaning. Around the time that song came out, Marcelo had it out with Tuomas which resulted in the ultimatum from Marcelo that "She's mine now, and you can't have her". From that point on (feel free to check this) Tuomas's comments about Nightwish being Tarja etc. all changed to he could go on without her. As things progressed, it brought on much of the fighting that's all too well publicized and I won't replay here. The end result is the dismissal of Tarja and Tuomas going into a deep depression. So with that background this song starts to make a lot of sense.

    To start with "the end" obviously indicates the end of Tarja with Nightwish. I will note the line "A widowed writer torn apart by chains of hell" which hasn't been commented on much here. In light of what I've said, the meaning should become apparent.

    The verse of "My home was there 'n then
    Those meadows of heaven
    Adventure-filled days
    One with every smiling face"
    Is best linked to the song Meadows of Heaven on the same album, which shows Tuomas's desire for the innocence and joy of childhood, a common theme with him.

    I have little to add until we get to "the second robber...." There's been some debate as to the meaning here, but I take it to reference the standard story of the Crucifixion. There were two robbers crucified with Christ. The first one mocked him to the end, the second declares Christ is innocent and finally asks "Lord remember me". Christ's response was "today you will be with me in paradise". Tuomos is identifying himself with this second robber, and this has major implications for the end of the song.

    Later he refers to the "Dark Passion Play". That's a medieval term for a play depicting the death of Christ and connects strongly with him seeing himself as the second robber. He feels his friends are performing it and as such are partly responsible for his death. Many other comments made here fit with this interpretation.

    I really don't have much more to add to the death scene except to note that Tuomas said he would "die alone but loved". That line, when considered with the end as well as the strong religious references previously lead me to believe that the person speaking in the end is God and not his parents. God is often referred to as "our heavenly Father" in the Bible, and that fits in strongly with the prior references. In any case, the song ends as Tuomas finds that he has always been loved by God.

    For me, this is one of the most powerful and moving songs I've ever heard.
    Mjolnir357on March 29, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentOkay... I'm going to do my best with this one.

    This song is about Tuomas's pain in letting Tarja go from the band. The pendulum represents the day he fired her.... it was always coming, closer and closer, and he knew the ultimate pain would happen eventually.

    "For years, I have been strapped unto this altar."

    The widowed writer line refers to a writer that has lost something, e.g. a wife or a muse, i.e. Tarja.

    "Oh Christ, how I hate what I have become
    Take me home."

    He wants to forget all about these troubles and just fade away back into his childhood (the 'dreamer's hideaway').

    I think The Pacific represents the doubt - the blind eye he turned to the friction with Tarja all thoe years. Everything is perfect, the turquoise waterfalls. He wants to be tucked in beneath blue, the pain and the rain (all representingso he won't have to see it and he can pretend it's not there.
    The 'blue' doesn't have a capital B like in Dark Chest of Wonders, where it's referred to as a good thing. In this song there is no capital B, and so it refers to sadness, for example, "I'm feeling blue."

    His lullaby is the swaying blade. The problem is always lingering above him, even though he is tucked beneath it. Late at night he knows it draws near.

    "On the shore we sat and hoped."
    This is possibly a direct reference to Tarja. He invited her into his world and - his oceans - and hoped with her that the pale moon - his music - would keep them together just as it keeps the fans together
    "Whose guiding light chose you, chose you all."

    Then the music changes and the fear kicks in once again.

    "2nd robber to the right of Christ."
    In the bible, two robbers were crucified next to Jesus Christ. The first one mocked and condemned him. The second robber defended Christ, proclaiming him to be innocent and indeed the son of God. Jesus then allows this second robber to be the first soul to join him in Heaven.
    Tuomas refers to himself as this second robber, perhaps because he believed until the end that Nightwish could live on with Tarja. But it was not to be. He is torn in half and so comes the death of his inner infant, his beliefs and his innocence.

    The crows represent everyone in the world who think they have a right to judge him. They take advantage of his suffering.

    He views himelf as having a "heart of stone". He feels that he should go to Hell for doing what he did, and that everyone would be glad for it.

    "Slain by the bell tolling for his farewell."
    This line refers to the pendulum, which he always knew would ultimately bring about his farewell.

    "The Year of Our Lord" is the year that Jesus was born. Perhaps 2005 was a kind of anniversary... I'm not quite sure. This possibly hints that even though Tuomas has died, there is a coming rebirth as he is "called from the cares of the world".

    He lies with a "smile on his face" (more positivity).
    However, the "1000 pages of erased text" represents everything he has ever written and worked for in his life. As Tarja leaves it is all gone, and all his pages of hopeful poetry are rendered meaningless.

    "Save me!"

    In the end, Tuomas's soul is revived thanks to the love and support from his parents. They see that he has become cold, and warn him that "the blade will keep on descending". There will always be problems in life.
    They warm his heart and bring him back to life by reassuring him that he will alway have their love.

    And so... The beginning...
    Dark Artiston October 27, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General CommentActually, Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum" was something more than just an inspiration to Tuomas. Sufficient to say that even the cover of the whole album "Dark Passion Play" is nothing but the blade-edged pendulum described in the story! I 'm surprized that only a few comments refer to it.
    "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a story about the psychological torments that endures a victim of the Spanish Inquisition. After being judjed guilty, the narrator is put into a completely dark room. He soon discovers it is full of traps which mean to end his life. Again and again he escapes, either by chance or by his clear thought, just to realise that yet another sadistic game awaits him. His feelings switch repeatedly from agony to hope for salvation through quick death or even to hope and the joy of escape. But in the end he realizes that every possible way leads him inevitably to a torturous death. He feels only pure despair and the empty feeling that he is but a puppet and not at all master of his fate.
    One of those sadistic games is a great pendulum with a blade-edge that slowly descends towards him while he is strapped helpless on a bed. Tuomas refers to it directly(as well as metaphorically) in the rhymes:

    The blade fell upon him
    ...
    For years I've been strapped unto this altar.
    Now I only have 3 minutes and counting.
    I just wish the tide would catch me first and give me a death I always longed for
    ...
    The blade will keep on descending


    Overall, in the song, the poet describes feelings similar to those of the narrator in the story, such as:

    -agony:
    "I'm afraid. I'm so afraid.
    Being raped again, and again, and again
    I know I will die alone."

    -hope hidden in this agony:
    "But loved."

    -hope for salvation through death:
    "I just wish the tide would catch me first and give me a death I always longed for "

    Another common topic between "The Poet and the Pendulum" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" is the escape in the world of dreams. In "the Pit", E.A.Poe makes a beautiful analysis about the state of mind and soul during their return from the dream world to the cruel reality. And sleep is the only way for his hero to cheat reality even for a few moments. In the song Tuomas seeks also a hideout into the dreams:

    "Getaway, runaway, fly away
    Lead me astray to dreamer's hideaway"

    That is not something new in his songs. Dreams, fantasy and escape from reality have always been key features in Nightwish songs. And I believe that this is exactly what makes Nightwish songs so touching and beautiful.

    It is well known that Tuomas has been greatly inspired by authors of fantasy books, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, or composers of monumental and epic music, such as Hans Zimmer or Vangelis. Now he enlists along with them Edgar Allan Poe, the birthgiver of horror, crime and detective fiction. What is the common fraction of them all? It is that their mind children touch directly our soul, generating various feelings. This is what Tuomas recognized in their works and this is what he is doing through his songs.
    Leftouron January 31, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentBEAUTIFUL SONG. anette's voice is really great.
    claire_bearon October 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah it is about him. I read in an interview that this song refelcts his feelings during 2005.
    I love this song with a passion. It is incredible, and I think I'm starting to like Anette's vocals too.
    The_howlingon August 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn the end, i will always love you... is this for tarja? even though he asked her to leave the band, he still miss the friend he loved deeply?
    Fucocon September 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, I think the last 8 lines are actually the following:

    ----
    Be still my son, you're home
    Oh, when did you become so cold?
    The blade will keep on descending
    All you need is to feel my love

    Search for beauty, find your shore
    Try to save them all, bleed no more
    You have such oceans within
    In the end, I will will always love you

    The beginning
    ----

    This also makes more sence when you combine it with the previous part. It is God talking to Tuomas (as you know God is a big influence in Tuomas' songs).
    Malduneon September 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is amazing. The music itself is a masterpiece. The lyrics are icing on the cake. And while I did like Tarja's singing, Anette's voice is marvelous, too. I still cherish the old songs, but I'm loving every new song as well. Even with a different singing voice, it's really the music that holds it all together.
    AquilaCaton September 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read that Tuomas wrote this song about himself. It would seem so, since his name is in the lyrics and all.
    Krissychanon August 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is a really great song and sadly its the only one i really really really liked in their new album (at least what i already heard of it). too bad they lost tarja.....
    noufion August 15, 2007   Link

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