Progrockklassieker du jour: The Sleepwalkers

Een existentialistische beschouwing over leven en dood van de hand van Peter Hammill. Meestal verzanden dergelijke beschouwingen in pretentieus geklets, maar Hammill en Van der Graaf komen er bijna altijd mee weg. Speciale aandacht voor het werk van saxofonist David Jackson en organist Hugh Banton.

[Verse 1]
At night, this mindless army, ranks unbroken by dissent
Is moved into action and their pace does not relent
In step, with great precision, these dancers of the night
Advance against the darkness – how implacable their might!
Eyes undulled by moon, their arms and legs akimbo
They walk and live, hoping soon to surface from this limbo
Their minds, anticipating the dawn of the day
Shall never know what’s waiting mere insight away
– Too far, too soon

[Verse 2]
Senses dimmed in semi-sentience, only wheeling through this plane
Only seeing fragmented images, prematurely curtailed by the brain
But breathing, living, knowing in some measure at least
The soul which roots the matter of both Beauty and the Beast
From what tooth or claw does murder spring
From what flesh and blood does passion?
Both cut through the air with the pendulum’s swing
In deadly but delicate fashion
And every range of feeling is there in the dream
And every logic’s reeling in the force of the scream;
The senses sting
And though I may be dreaming and reality stalls
I only know the meaning of sight and that’s all
And that’s nothing

The columns of the night advance
Infectiously, their cryptic dance
Gathers converts to the fold –
In time the whole raw world will pace these same steps
On into the same bitter end


[Verse 3]
Somnolent muster – now the dancing dead
Forsake the shelter of their secure beds
Awaken to a slumber whose depths they dread
As if the ground they tread would give way
Beneath the solemn weight of their conception
Oh, I’d search the hidden corners of all this world
Make reason of the sensory whorl
If I only had time
But soon the dream is ended

[Instrumental Break]
[Saxophone Solo]

[Verse 4]
(Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!)
Tonight, before you lay down to the sweetness of your sleep
Do you question your surrender to the drop from Lover’s Leap
Or does the anaesthetic darkness take hold on its very own?
Does your body rise in service with not one dissenting groan?
These waking dreams of life and death
In the mirror are twisted and buckled;
Lashes flicker, a catch of breath
Skin whitening at the knuckles
The army of sleepwalkers shake their limbs and are loose
And though I am a talker, I can phrase no excuse
Not to rise again
In the chorus of the night-time I belong
I, like you, must dance to that moonlight song
In the end I, too, must pay the cost of this life
If all is lost none is known
And how could we lose what we’ve never owned?
Oh, I’d search out every knowledge that I could find
Unravel all the mysteries of mind
If I only had time
If I only had time
But soon my time is ended, ended, ended, ended
(Ended, ended)
(Ended, ended)
(Ended, ended)
(Ended, ended)
(Ended, ended)
(Ended, ended)

Uitgelichte afbeelding: By ceedub13 – originally posted to Flickr as 2009 Ottawa Bluesfest, CC BY 2.0,