Glimpses of Nirvana

In the darkness of the night,
only occasionally relieved by glimpses of Nirvana
as seen through other people's windows,
wallowing in a morass of self-despair
made only more painful by the knowledge
that all I am is of my own making ...

When everything around me, even the kitchen ceiling,
has collapsed and crumbled without warning.
And I am left, standing alive and well,
looking up and wondering why and wherefore.

At a time like this, which exists maybe only for me,
but is nonetheless real, if I can communicate,
and in the telling and the bearing of my soul
anything is gained, even though the words
which I use are pretentious and make you cringe
with embarrassment, let me remind you of the pilgrim
who asked for an audience with the Dalai Lama.

He was told he must first spend five years in contemplation.
After the five years, he was ushered into the Dalai Lama's
presence, who said,
'Well, my son, what do you wish to know?'
So the pilgrim said,
'I wish to know the meaning of life, father.'

And the Dalai Lama smiled and said,
'Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?'

Held close by that which some despise
which some call fake, and others lies
And somewhat small
for one so tall
a doubting Thomas who would be?
It's written plain for all to see
for one who I am with no more
it's hard at times, it's awful raw

They say that Jesus healed the sick and helped the poor
and those unsure
believed his eyes
- a strange disguise
Still write it down, it might be read
nothing's better left unsaid
only sometimes, still no doubt
it's hard to see, it all works out

Lyrics submitted by divinediscontent

In Held 'Twas In I Lyrics as written by

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

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In Held Twas In I song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentIn Held 'Twas In I is the first name of each of the songs. In-In the darkness of the night..., Held-Held close by that which some despise..., 'Twas-'Twas Teatime at the circus., In-In the autumn of my madness..., I-I know if I'd been wiser...
    But in the segment of "Autumn of My Madness", I feel that it's a non-beatle 'Paul is dead' song. First, Paul McCartney died in November, an autumn month, Next you'll hear a car horn, McCartney died from complications of a car accident, and then you'll hear sirens, people crying, and someone yelling "Paul! Paul! Paul!"
    Warren67on January 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVery interesting. Thanks. Listened to this song all my life and never asked the question why it has such a weird title. Keith Reid could be overbearing and pretentious at his worst, but I think he did a fine job here.
    sonztwinon May 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI love this song and have interpreted many ways in my life. I believe this was one of the original type songs that later were made such as in Pink Floyd's The Wall.


    I interpret the first phase as a lonely man who is also an intellectual; he can't quite understand life and the world. He flashes back to a romance with a girl others rejected, and longs for that comfort. His intellectual side begins to analyze that, and then the rest of life and stops short of being too analytic. The tea time at the circus was the start of a manic episode, and then the autumm of my madness is when the manic episode turns to depression. The sirens and screams are paranoia, and the following guitars and organs are the deep depths of despair.

    The following sub song about looking to your soul is when the singer realizes that his soul is good, despite his physical and mental condition. He comes to a denoument that having a soul is better than anything and subdues his intellectual worries and loneliness at the same time. The last instrumental with choir is the rejoicing of his spirit for having overcome such a burden, as if his spirit is engulfed by angels. At the end of the song, the singer is saved from himself through spirituality. The subtheme all along is spirituality coming to the aid of intellectual confusion.

    That's my interpretation of In Held Twas In I. I would very much like it if Gary Brooker read my interpretation. I would love to know what he thought. I also would love to hear more interpretations of this song, one of my all time favorites. John.
    JOrcaon September 10, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVERY STRANGE - - - Warren67 says this Procol Harum's PAUL IS DEAD song......

    Now, 2015, Paul Mc Cartney is STILL happily wallowing HERE, ON THIS PLANET !!!!!!

    Siegmaron August 08, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of the great existential Procol Harum songs. They always reflect a deep belief in the wisdom of Eastern-style Spirituality, and yet, the singer is always somehow mired in "a morass of self-despair". A strange paradox. He should be liberated from darkness and suffering, and as the last two verses show, he understands full well how to be liberated, but he chooses suffering and despair anyway, knowing that it's self-indulgent. It's like a novel by Dostoevsky.

    Still, the end, listened to in a certain way, can be powerfully inspiring. Because he's right. Life can seem incredibly difficult at certain times, but it really is "all so simple really if you just look to your soul". One of the most uplifting realizations that you can ever have in life. And the sound of the "Grand Finale", with the combination of Choir singing and the Robin Trower guitar solo, is awesome. Almost like an ascent into heaven.

    If they somehow decide to save a few songs the way that they save paintings for posterity to be experienced by future generations as the great artistic achievements, this deserves to be one of them.
    JT1968on April 28, 2018   Link

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