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

Updated on December 2, 2020
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John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

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.)


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
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."


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.


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.

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:


© 2014 John Hansen


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