Procol Harum

the Pale

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A Whiter Shade of Pale

An interpretation by Peter Dunn (2014)

The organ playing behind the voice gives this song the feeling of a moving religious experience, but I always liked it because while the experience feels religious, it seems to be a very different spirituality that is expressed, one more akin to natural law, where the song to me is a metaphor for two people who pierce the veil of common notions about propriety to express the possibility of human love, where the human love is pure and unhindered by the facade of rationality, thereby reaching into another dimension of life and universal truth.

We skipped the light fandango

Overwhelming attraction and love, recognised by both at first meeting.

Turned cartwheels cross the floor

Shared joy.

I was feeling kind of seasick

Happening fast, only a little bit of subconscious fear and scepticism.

But the crowd called out for more

Why not, the rush is on.

The room was humming harder

Heart beating faster, could this really be happening.

As the ceiling flew away

Screw the inhibitions.

When we called out for another drink

Sharing a drink, exploring each other’s feelings.

The waiter brought a tray

For real, calming down for a moment.




Making memories, which could be recanted later, a notch on the stick.

And so it was that later

[Note:  “Pale” and “pallor” are medical terms, an indication of possible sickness,

As the miller told his tale

shock, worry, or stress, when a person’s skin is lighter than usual,

That her face, at first just ghostly,

caused by unhealthy circulation, or slowed heart rate and blood pressure]

Turned a whiter shade of pale

She is a little bit scared of her own reaction, blood going to genital excitation.



She said, there is no reason

Does anyone have a rational explanation for sexual urges

And the truth is plain to see.

But it is real

But I wandered thru my playing cards

Not much to argue about here.

And would not let her be

Again, this is happening.

One of sixteen vestal virgins

Maybe this is her first time.

Who were leaving for the coast

Everyone has a maiden voyage.

And although my eyes were open

Something here is not quite socially upright.

They might just as well've been closed

But nothing is stopping us now.







She said, I'm home on shore leave,

She’s still in.

Though in truth we were at sea

But neither one of us has covered this territory before.

So I took her by the looking glass

So I looked deeply into her eyes.

And forced her to agree

And she could not resist.

Saying, you must be the mermaid

She is so beautiful,

Who took Neptune for a ride.

she could even take a Roman God.

But she smiled at me so sadly

She is really going to lose her virginity …tonight… alas, serious stuff.

That my anger straightway died

There is love.







If music be the food of love

Grapes, Greeks, Romans, lyres, and orgies.

Then laughter is its queen

Drunken with love.

And likewise if behind is in front

Society has got it all wrong.

Then dirt in truth is clean

Make love, not war.

My mouth by then like cardboard

Alcoholic dehydration.

Seemed to slip straight through my head

My conversation is moving faster than my brain.

So we crash-dived straightway quickly

Before we both passed out,

And attacked the ocean bed

We made love.




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