A Free Verse Interpretation of "Across the Universe" by The Beatles

Billybuc's Challenge

Bill Holland (aka. billybuc) recently wrote a hub "Like A Rolling Stone: A Free Verse Interpretation".

At the end of his hub Bill issued the following challenge:

"And now I pass the challenge on to all of you. Is anyone up for it? I get to choose the song, and you get to write the article. The song is: Across the Universe by the Beatles."

Below is my "free verse" interpretation of the song. As the words already resonate with me in my own journey as a writer I didn't deviate very far from the original, but my apologies to The Beatles (esp. Paul McCartney and John Lennon as the writers).

Across the Universe (Beatle's original: Verse 1)

"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing's gonna change my world
...."

(I cannot show the rest of the original lyrics by the Beatles on this hub due to duplicate content issues unfortunately. I originally had the words of each verse for comparison to my own. so you just have to listen to the song or check out the lyrics elsewhere.)

Source

Behind the Scenes

Part of the song's chorus - 'Jai guru deva, om' - is a Sanskrit phrase which roughly translates as 'Victory to God divine'. It was likely inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom The Beatles had met in August 1967. The Maharishi's spiritual master was called Guru Dev. 'Jai' is a Hindi word meaning 'long live' or 'victory', and 'om' is a sacred syllable in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions.

"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." John Lennon
(source: http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/across-the-universe/)
The fact that a song writer as great as John Lennon considers this to be one of the best lyrics he has ever written and can stand on words alone like a poem makes it a rather fruitless task to try to write a comparable version. You set us quite a challenge billybuc.
This being the case and as this is already a "free form" poem, my version only deviates slightly from the original. I have just changed it enough to be a little more relevant to my personal situation. I hope you enjoy my version of "Across the Universe."

Source
Source

Across the Universe (Jodah's version: Verse 1)

Vowels and consonants flow like a waterfall

Crashing endlessly through my open mind,

A whirlpool of words swirling wildly across the universe.

Pools of sorrow, waves of joy, drops of melancholy,

Possessing me, caressing me, consuming me.


The Guru says, "Meditate, contemplate, communicate."

But nothing's gonna change my world.

Source

Jodah's version: Verse 2

Shattered light, a myriad of colours through a prism,

Beckoning, calling me across the universe.

My thoughts and ideas sucked up into a tornado

Wrestling and tumbling aimlessly, helplessly,

As they make their way across the universe.


The Guru says, "Meditate, contemplate, communicate"

But nothing's gonna change my world.

Source

Jodah's version: Verse 3

Laughing voices, sounds of life are ringing through my ears

Exciting and inviting me.

Limitless undying love draws me on towards the bright and burning sun.

It calls me onward and upward, across the universe.


The Guru says, "Meditate, contemplate, communicate."

But nothing's gonna change my world.


~~~~~~~Just Imagine~~~~~~


No One's Gonna Change Our World, Charity Album for The World Wildlife Fund
No One's Gonna Change Our World, Charity Album for The World Wildlife Fund | Source

More Interesting Facts About the Beatle's Song

This first appeared on a charity album for the World Wildlife Fund Called ''No One's Gonna Change Our World'. Bird sounds were dubbed in to this version to give it a nature theme.
This song is often cited as an example of tensions between Lennon and McCartney over treatment of each other's songs. When The Beatles went to record it in February of 1968, both Lennon and McCartney decided they wanted falsetto harmonies on the song. No matter what he did, John said he was sounding out of tune, so Paul went outside and grabbed two fans off the street to add the background harmonies.

John is quoted as saying, "the original track was a real piece of s--t. I was singing out of tune, and instead of getting a decent choir, we got fans from outside. They came in and were singing all off-key. Nobody was interested in doing the tune originally." In another interview, he said, "The Beatles didn't make a good record of it. I think subconsciously sometimes we - I say 'we' although I think Paul did it more than the rest of us - Paul would, sort of subconsciously, try and destroy a great song... meaning we'd play experimental games with my great pieces, like 'Strawberry Fields,' which I always thought was badly recorded."

The two young women named Lizzie Bavo and Gaylene Pease, who Paul grabbed off the street to sing backup appear on the World Wildlife recording, but not on the version of the song on the 'Let It Be' album. (Source: www.songfacts.com)

Source

© 2014 John Hansen

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Comments 54 comments

firstday profile image

firstday 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Hey there Jodah I gave you a beautiful. I really enjoyed it. Be sure and check the play back on the U tube video at the bottom and keep up the good work!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks firstday, I checked that video and changed it. thanks for noticing that. You were lucky to read this quickly as it has been unpublished because it says similar content of a large part appears elsewhere (the Beatles' lyrics no doubt) I may have to delete part of it to get it passed.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I figured this would have trouble with the content. Glad to see you fixed the issue as it is an article worth reading and meditating on while listening to the fine tunes.

Why Not!?

In meditation we like to say that there is "good news and bad news",,, you feel more.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for the wise comment Eric, the Guru just told me to meditate some more. Then voila! When I looked again it was published.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

"Meditate, contemplate, communicate."

Thanks for opening my mind. Thanks to you and Jo, I can now say I am familiar with "Across the Universe" and so very happy to be sharing it with such great poets. "Imagine" is one of my all-time favorites. V+ across the hub world.

Kim


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

John, simply beautiful, a sterling job. I almost finished my version with 'imagine' great minds hey. :) Loved it.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for the kind words Kim, glad this opened your mind. I appreciate you sharing it across the 'hub world' too, but why not 'across the universe'? :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Jo, I appreciate your generous comment. Great minds do think a like but I'm kind of glad you didn't use "imagine" to finish off or I wouldn't have been able to. Your effort was wonderful however.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

I love all three verses of your version! Excellent work and interesting facts that I did not know. Fun challenge, and I do love challenges, but for me to try to write something in comparison to the Beatles ... hard to follow!!!

Blessings


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I totally agree Faith, the Beatles are certainly a hard act to follow. How can any of us hope to improve on words that John Lennon considers the best he has ever written? Thanks and blessings back.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Beautifully done, John. This was a great piece of work.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you as always Flourish. I greatly appreciate your neverending support and encouragement.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Version 3 is my favorite. Thanks for posting the song, I have heard most of the Beatles songs but this is the first I've heard this particular song. You certainly did an excellent job of bringing this message out in your article.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I remembered the song but not by name; had to hear it. Very beautiful and loved all the songs.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Dianna, I think I had heard it before but I couldn't remember the name either. I am glad I portrayed the message ok.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Same here Jackie, I didn't remember it by name either. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Ive read so many of these pieces and everyone is so unique just like your entry Jodah bless you :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Frank, "unique" is my middle name. :)


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Greatly approached with such true emotions. I voted up!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Devika, your comments and encouragement make writing here at Hub Pages a pleasure.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Beautiful as always, John. I agree with Frank...different versions, different writers, all unique and all so well done. Nicely done, John, and thank you for taking up my challenge.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Bill for issuing this challenge. It was interesting to research a Beatles' song that I wasn't really familiar with and find out some interesting background to it. Glad you approve my attempt.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Nice job, John. I couldn't help but feel sad watching The Beatles video. John had no idea at the time that something certainly would change his world - and ours.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes very true Shauna. Life looked idyllic in the video. Oh how things changed. Thanks for reading.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago from Arkansas

John, it takes a poet to do a job like this. Beautiful! It is one of my Beatles favorites, but I never listened to the words. My thanks to you, and to Bill, for making me take the time to listen to the words. It takes a lot to improve on the words of Lennon, but as we say in the hills, "son, you done good!"


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, I am struck by the beauty of your poem - it is awesome ! You are a great poet.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Jodah, this is so beautiful. I don't think i understood Bill's challenge. I didn't think it was to be the same song as his, of course i wrote one using a different song. I loved the last line, ' Imagine ' very clever...


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Beautifully done John!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for such a generous comment MizBejabbers. That's exactly why this was quite a challenge. How to improve on Lennon or even do him justice. I am so glad you think I succeeded.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Phyllis, you are too kind.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Ruby, yes I thought "Imagine" might be a nice touch. I wondered what was going on when Audrey and you selected different songs, but hey you did a good job anyway and introduced others to 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters' which is beautiful.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Audrey. I am getting a lot of "beautiful" comments...don't think I've ever had that many before for one hub. :)


paulynice roldens profile image

paulynice roldens 2 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida

I am very excited that you receive the price of best poet on hubpages.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you paulynice roldens, that is very kind of you. I was excited too to hear the news.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

Jodah, you're very good at this. My favorite is #2 and it is beautiful!

"Across the Universe" is one of my top 5 fave Beatles songs; so glad to see it chosen for this challenge!

Voted up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Beth, I wasn't that familiar with it before but I think it is now one of my favourites too. Thanks for the vote up also.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

These are lovely poems, Jodah. Bill has issued an interesting challenge! You met it very well.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

This was a lovely version of the Beatles song. You did a great job. You have skills!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Alicia, I appreciate you're reading this and yes it was an interesting challenge set by Bill.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you very much grand old lady for your kind comment. I did my best with Bill's challenge.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I have added additional interesting information here about the background to the Beatle's song and the original album it appeared on.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 19 months ago from Nashville Tn.

How did I miss this brilliant hub? Your poetry is absolutely amazing. The photos, your interpretation of this song - I love it!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Audrey, your kind comments always inspire me.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you so much Audrey, your kind comments always inspire me.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 19 months ago from New York

You certainly nailed it John. You're verses are beautiful and interesting. If I really had to pick a favorite, as a writer it would be Verse 1, but you'd really have to make me do it!

All of the information you included certainly made this more interesting. I don't think I could take up this challenge after reading this wonderful work!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your kind comment Mary. This one was kind of tricky and many people interpretted the challenge in different ways. Glad you liked my take on the song. Thanks for the vote up too.


KMSplumeau profile image

KMSplumeau 19 months ago

I absolutely love this article. I have been a huge fan of the Beatles my whole life, and it was so exciting to read this. Thank you so much for sharing!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you KM, so glad you found this enjoyable. I am a big Beatles fan too. I was a little disappointed that this article hasn't yet generated as much interest as many of my other hubs, but things seem to be picking up. I appreciate your kind comment.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 19 months ago from California

Beautiful and interesting! I love your verse here!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Audrey, such a comment mean a lot coming from a great poet like yourself.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida

I loved the movie across the universe. I even went out and bought the dvd, and I didn't buy movie very often. Thanks for reporting on the background for this song. Your poems were great. maybe I'll take up this challenge too. I haven't written any poetry in a long time. Vote up+


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Catherine, thank you for visiting. It sure must have been a good movie to encourage you to buy the dvd. So glad you enjoyed my poem and hope you do take up the challenge. There wasn't a lot of takers for this one and I'm sure Bill would appreciate another.


annasmom profile image

annasmom 10 months ago

Jodah, This is an amazing hub. I really enjoyed your interpretation of the lyrics. I also love the way you incorporated all the other elements into this hub! Awesome.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 10 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi annasmom, Thanks for the generous comment. I enjoyed writing this because surprisingly this was a Beatles' song I had never heard before. Glad you enjoyed my interpretation.

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