Across the universe – Lennon/McCartney

This is my most favourite John Lennon song ever and has some my most favourite bits of verse ever. I would even daresay, it is Lennon’s best ever too. He admitted himself,

“It’s one of the best lyrics I’ve written. In fact, it could be the best. It’s good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin’ it. See, the ones I like are the ones that stand as words, without melody. They don’t have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them.”

The song’s lyrics sound largely reflective in nature, like they were the result of some random ruminations on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Though in truth, John said the song came to him when his first wife, Cynthia, had slept off after having gone “on and on” about something and he simply channelized his irritation into a “cosmic” song rather than an “irritated” song. Mean, I know. But if this is what irritation brought out of him, I am definitely not complaining.

Back to the song. It was probably written during the Beatles’ Maharishi days and hence the nod to the Guru Deva, but what amazing lines the rest of the song throws up. The imagery of some of the lines is truly breathtaking.

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup”

“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind”

“Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes”

And my most favourite of them all,

“Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box”

The gems just keep coming, one after another (or on and on, as the song says), conjuring up beautiful snapshots in our minds, vividly and oh so effortlessly. There is something almost magical about the way the words distill the still life moments and present them in all their technicolour glory.

John himself said of the song, in a interview,

“[The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom! I don’t own it, you know; it came through like that.”

The assured optimism of the refrain,

“Nothing’s gonna change my world”,

the song’s unwavering faith in love,

“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns”,

not to mention Lennon’s soothing vocals, all make listening to the song such a moving experience for me, each and every time.

Enjoy the song in its entirety.

Across the universe – John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They stumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
And calls me on and on across the universe
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world