What does The Poet and the Pendulum mean?

Nightwish: The Poet and the Pendulum Meaning

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Album cover for The Poet and the Pendulum album cover

The Poet and the Pendulum Lyrics

The end

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

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

One last perfect...

  1. anonymous
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    Dec 16th 2022 !⃝

    I think we need to read this poem from the beginning up to the end as in from the last strophe to the first one. Then you can understand the pendulum actually killed him

  2. anonymous
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    Jun 24th 2021 !⃝

    This is a monster of a song and its structure is a little difficult to figure out. There is a lyric video of the Wembley show that makes things a bit easier to follow.

    The basic story is to do with Nightwish’s keyboard player and song writer Tuomas. They had fired the original singer and it seemed that the band were finished or at least in a dead end musically.

    The song is in 5 parts or acts. Think of this as a play as the title suggests.

    The first act (White lands of empathica) is the end scene or imagined end scene. The first thing you hear are dark whispers at the funeral if you listen closely. Speculation and rumor abound as to the trail of events that lead up to the death of the main character. This is the set up to the story that follows. The first words sung are 'The end... which contrast cleverly to the last words in the song, 'The Beginning:

    The second act (Home) goes back in time to how events unfolded. Tuomas is drinking and Tarja is gone and with her all his hopes and dreams, all the future songs that will never be sung.
    Then a period of melancholy where he reflects on how beautiful it all started out nine years previous. 'Adventure filled days. One with every smiling face.

    Followed by anger, self loathing and despair of the current situation that he believes makes him little more than 'A whore for the cold world'

    The third Act (The Pacific) is the aftermath of his rage and a personal low point where he sits alone in his pit of despair and contemplates a future that looks dark and grim. The line' Tuck me in beneath the blue, beneath the pain beneath the rain' suggests he is contemplating drowning himself. This is an interesting allusion as Tuomas often refers to himself as the 'Oceanborn' in other words tossed about by the various currents or emotions and never having the surety of feet planted firmly on solid ground. An ocean soul is another term used by Nightwish.
    Beneath the blue is the darkness of death.

    The Fourth act (Dark passion play) is the dark depression and angry thoughts that eventualy lead to the (imagined) suicide of the main character.
    The first lines are what he imagines people’s reaction will be. This also suggests he thinks people will think so little of him that they won't bother to attend his funeral.
    'The world will rejoice today as the crows feast on the rotting poet'
    Even his friends will desert him at the end.
    ..his friends without shame spitting on his grave as they came'

    The dilemma is that he is stuck between having no more tears and not being able to die and the old resentments and feelings return where he becomes once more 'A whore for the cold world' which was the initial thought in chapter two. The swishing blade and slower heart beats complete this act and he is dead.

    The fifth act (Mother and father) is the (imagined) effect his suicide would have on those closest to him. The end of course is ambiguous. Floors sirens cries suggest a mourning mother for a lost son.
    The very last words 'The beginning' suggest the opposite. Life will go on and the music will continue as will Nightwish.

    To make this even more complicated The book by 19 century Horror/ Macabre writer Edgar Allan Poe 'The Pit and the Pendulum' is utilized in the title and background to illustrate a character caught in a dilemma from which there seems to be no escape. In the book the main character has been imprisoned and tortured in various psychological ways. One torture finds him waking up strapped to an altar with a massive razor sharp pendulum swing from the ceiling and slowly descending to slice him in half.
    The whole thing is a pure theater of tragedy of course as obviously nobody actually died although Tuomas has hinted that he came close at one point.
    These are just my thoughts on the subject and i am sure others will have more to say because there is a lot going on in this song.

  3. anonymous
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    Apr 4th 2012 !⃝

    Talk about Tuomas Holopainen and his life...!!! <3 <3 <3 MASTERPIECE

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