Peter Hammill - "Singularity" 2006

  1. Our Eyes Give It Shape
  2. Event Horizon
  3. Famous Last Words
  4. Naked to the Flame
  5. Meanwhile My Mother
  6. Vainglorious Boy
  7. Of Wire, of Wood
  8. Friday Afternoon
  9. White Dot

  10. Our Eyes Give It Shape

    I'm getting the idea, I haven't got a clue.
    As my fabulous career ends up dead in the gutter
    the stars are shining down right on cue.
    It's not much of a shock, it comes as no surprise
    that changing all the locks when the horses have bolted
    is a useless exercise.
    And play it how I will and say it as I may
    I won't pick that poison pill as a effortless exit
    from the Mystery Play.
    I'm so glad I'm still here to see this,
    the break of day at the end of the long dark night...
    All's not as it appears, this tale has many twists -
    but if I wasn't here documenting the story
    would that mean that the plot did not exist?
    Oh, would it not be absurd if there was no objective state?
    What if the unobserved always waits, insubstantial,
    till our eyes give it shape?
    I'm so glad that I'm still here to see this,
    the whole story is unfolding before my eyes;
    I'm so happy I can barely believe it...
    this simple pleasure is the mystery spice of life.
    And I am happy just to breathe in the quality of the light.
    I'm getting the idea, I'm seeing things anew,
    it's all becoming clear at this delicate juncture
    there can be no false nor true.
    I want to have it all, I want to see the whole thing through...
    It's a fifty fifty call: maybe Schr÷dinger's cat
    could be the Cheshire one too?
    I'm so glad that we're both here to see this:
    the chink of light in the tunnel of love's embrace.
    I'm so happy I can barely believe it
    A simple pleasure in the simple things makes life great.

    Event Horizon

    Flat on my back, I can feel myself falling
    into a singular state of mind;
    as if through a fog, I can hear someone calling.
    I know I'm cutting it fine,
    thinking that maybe it's time to cross the line.
    The last thing I need's any outside assistance;
    whatever I do will be what has been done
    and if force is applied, let it be from a distance.
    Right now I'm biding my time;
    hold on, I'm biting my tongue,
    hoping I'm timing my run across the line.
    It's all gone so quiet and scary,
    I can feel the bloodrush in my ears.
    If only I could keep my head,
    if only I could keep my head from spinning,
    if only I could keep my head
    I'd cross the line.
    Is that the finish in sight or a mist that's descending?
    The geometry's blurred at the edge of the scene.
    At the vanishing point there'll be no perfect ending,
    no final dotting of "i"s, no chance of crossing the "t"s -
    at last, unpicked at the seams, I'll cross the line.

    Famous Last Words

    "If I close my eyes I can pretend
    the best is still before me, the worst is at an end.
    Time for goodbyes to the audiences that adored me;
    they never realised
    just how much I came to despise all their eagerness."
    Famous last words, 
    made in jest, overheard,
    is that your best testament?
    Or are you coining a phrase
    just to see how it plays
    when you're at your wits' end.
    Famous last words,
    to the last you'll self-serve,
    what a waste of your breath.
    When you close your eyes will you pretend
    that nothing bad has happened, that we are still close friends?
    So many lies, after all the illusions are shattered
    still at all costs you must hide
    the emptiness where your true feelings used to reside.
    Famous last words, 
    they're so over-rehearsed -
    they just sound like pretence.
    You'll go out in style,
    to the last in denial
    of what anything's meant.
    Famous last words,
    to the last you'll self-serve,
    what a waste of all that breath.
    (It's a little too late for sorry...
    in a race against the clock
    now you hit that mental block
    time to take that poison cup
    now your time is all used up.)

    Naked to the Flame

    She was waxed up to face the camera like butter wouldn't melt
    in the back room Agencies hammered out a deal: points on the pelt.
    In the airlessly frenzied atmosphere she was the mistress of misrule,
    seeming careless of everything except her look, cooler than cool.
    And she's singing for her supper and she's dancing in the dark
    and she's running for her life if she but knew it.
    And though her heart is hard as stone 
    that's still the flint from which she'll spark....
    Like a moth to the flame
    she was so eager to make it
    her ambition became naked.
    How iconically arched the eyebrow pluck, how vaselined the lens.
    Now ironically even highbrow critics rush to her defence....
    And she's spinning in the spotlight, but increasingly confused
    about the context that she finds herself wrapped up in.
    Is it in this skin she's living or in the last one she abused?
    Nothing quite like a dame, was she the broken or the breaking?
    The girl, the woman became
    I preferred her in anonymity, but now that cover's blown
    and, absurdly, she stars, eponymously cast: it's Salome's show.
    Oh, be careful what you wish for as your own head might get turned
    you might find the biter bit before you know it;
    though ever eager for the spotlight she was never quite ready to be burned.
    At the end of the game the signature dish will get plated.
    She'll go out as she came, written in light as her fate is.
    The moth discovers the flame's

    Meanwhile My Mother

    Meanwhile, my mother,
    waiting for what?
    I don't know....
    The recall of a favourite memory, 
    or perhaps for a painful one to go?
    She doesn't let that much show.
    Meanwhile, above her head
    all my monologues flows.
    "What's that you're saying, dear?"
    Wading through time like it's treacle,
    her eyes looking into mine although
    she won't even notice me go.
    In the meantime I pack her things up
    and get them ready to store;
    in between times I take a good look around,
    for we'll not be visiting here much more.
    Meanwhile, my mother,
    distance encamped in her eyes,
    not quite oblivious but
    close to a state of inertia
    in which she won't even realise
    how everything's passing her by.
    Meanwhile, my mother,
    lost in a world of her own,
    turns to look out of the window
    down to the verdant earth below.
    Some journeys we make alone
    somehow we'll leave all we've known.
    Meanwhile, my mother,
    waiting for what?
    Time to go.

    Vainglorious Boy

    I said steady up, settle down, make way for the Idiot Boy.
    He's here to sell you some kind of a story;
    like a stuck-up sore thumb he'll be coming on bashful and coy,
    all of the while pumping up his vainglory.
    I said give it up, slap it down, idolise the Idiot Boy;
    love's what he wants, or at least some attention
    and he believes all the hype...
    like an archetypal Geijin-cum-goy
    he plays up the Alien Genius Pretension.
    He'd fake his own confession to get you on his side.
    Oh, I say lighten up, calm it down, time out for His Idiocy now.
    What's going to happen when the audience dwindles?
    The tide's out, the ride's up, the world's got no comfort somehow÷
    truth to tell, it'll be himself that he's swindled
    in a broken-down profession of over-weaning pride.
    Nowhere to hide....
    Heaven sent compliments that were meant sincerely fall flat
    and the bitterest pill is the one he can't swallow.
    The idiotic thing is what we have always known:
    however great success is, however far you've flown
    you'll come to face this audience:
    yourself, yourself alone.
    You'll come to face yourself alone,
    you idiot, idiot boy!

    Of Wire, of Wood


    Friday Afternoon

    Why wait for life to happen,
    when right before our eyes
    blind fate unwraps its patterns?
    I just said "See you soon".
    My piano was in tune
    when you walked out of the room.
    It felt like any normal Friday.
    At concert pitch, 440 
    the pressure's many tons;
    the weight of life befalls me.
    I wish I could pretend
    my piano's on the mend.
    You treated it like a friend, left it to settle down over the weekend.
    You've got a ticket on the terraces for the game on Saturday
    and afterwards you might go for a beer.
    On Sunday afternoon you'll take the family to the park
    and later, when it's getting dark
    you'll say "We've still got that old spark",
    you'll say "Oh, aren't we just so lucky to be here...."
    So stupid and so senseless.... 
    Sometimes we're pulled up short, quite shockingly defenceless.
    I don't know what to do: my piano's out of tune...
    it's not as if I can assume that it's ever going to get any better now.
    A liquid lunch appointment when the working week is done,
    there's time for one more just before he goes.
    A quick glance at the watch and now it's time to head for home.
    And so it's goodbye to the ladies,
    grabs the keys to his Mercedes,
    thinking "Maybe I should get a cab....". 
    But no.
    Blind drunk, he met you head on.
    On a normal Friday afternoon.

    White Dot

    Nothing is like anything else,
    everything's the same,
    our progress punctuated 
    by a series of coincidence
    to form a logical chain.
    Nothing is like everything else,
    like anything you name.
    Pomposity unpunctured,
    we're approaching a velocity
    of escape from our mortal frames.
    So nothing is like anything else,
    so everything's designed.
    We're utterly dependent on
    our self-deluding sense of what we've done
    and what we'll do if we have time
    with nothing else in mind.
    A time to think is now at a premium.
    You show bare inkling of a vital sign.
    Though in the pink 
    in every outward appearance
    inside it's white dot time.
    Oh, nothing comes to mind.
    So nothing comes to mind.
    Does nothing come to mind
    when you're finally mindful of nothing?

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