Ghost Song – The Doors

Jim Morrison2

On Monday I wrote a post on A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall written by Bob Dylan to point out the power that song lyrics can have. The words of this song, Ghost Song, were written by Jim Morrison of the Doors. It was released on An American Prayer in 1978 seven years after his death of an overdose in Paris, France.

The interesting thing about this song is that it is said to be a recital by Jim Morrison of his mystic poem which was later, after his death, put to music by the remaining members of the band.

In the fifth stanza, the lyrics refer to an incident which happened when he was a young child and haunted him for the rest of his life. It is said that he and his family were travelling down a desert highway and passed a road accident where two trucks had collided, packed with many Native American workers, their dead and injured bodies scattered on the highway. Nobody seemed to care, said they were beyond help. Jim Morrison said he saw the angry souls of two victims raging and dancing on the highway and believed that their souls leapt into his soul and remained there.

Morrison never told anyone the meaning of his poems, he preferred that people try to work the meanings out for themselves. My interpretation of this poem is the loss of childhood innocence, part of his was lost after witnessing that upsetting scene on the highway. I think he is telling us to free ourselves from the conventions imposed upon us in life and to perfect our creative art. Also to escape from the modern world which separates us from our spiritual being and at the end of the poem, a bit of mythology is thrown in. The city rising from the sea, he could be referring to Atlantis and Athena was born from the brain of Zeus after a splitting headache.

Well that’s my take on it, what about you. Does anyone have a different interpretation. If so, I’d love to hear it.

Below is a youtube video of Ghost Song. At the beginning of this video Jim Morrison tells the story of the accident he saw when he was a child followed by Ghost Song. The Ghost Song track does not have the last eight lines of the poem in it, but this video adds them on at the end.

Ghost Song – The Doors

Awake.
Shake dreams from your hair
my pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
the day’s divinity
First thing you see.

A vast radiant beach and cooled jewelled moon
Couples naked race down by it’s quiet side
And we laugh like soft, mad children
Smug in the woolly cotton brains of infancy
The music and voices are all around us.

Choose they croon the Ancient Ones
the time has come again
choose now, they croon
beneath the moon
beside an ancient lake

Enter again the sweet forest
Enter the hot dream
Come with us
everything is broken up and dances.

Indians scattered,
On dawn’s highway bleeding
Ghosts crowd the young child’s,
Fragile eggshell mind

We have assembled inside,
This ancient and insane theater
To propagate our lust for life,
And flee the swarming wisdom of the streets.

The barns have stormed
The windows kept,
And only one of all the rest
To dance and save us
From the divine mockery of words,
Music inflames temperament.

Ooh great creator of being
Grant us one more hour,
To perform our art
And perfect our lives.

We need great golden copulations,

When the true kings murderers
Are allowed to roam free,
A thousand magicians arise in the land
Where are the feast we are promised?

One more thing

Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light
Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light

A city rises from the sea
I had a splitting headache
From which the future’s made

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This entry was posted in Analysis, lyrics, Poem, Poet, Poetry, Verse and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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