I was thinking in a idle moment about the parodic possibilities of an apocalyptic scenario involving, say, seven sea lions, when it hit me — or walruses. A walrus is a kind of seal. So naturally I put on Magical Mystery Tour to check if, by any chance, “I Am the Walrus” happens to repeat that word seven times.
I doesn’t — only four. But four is still good. The word walrus, after all, comes from “whale-horse,” and the four apocalyptic horses and horsemen are probably the best-known part of the seven seals prophecy. And, though it doesn’t have seven walruses, the song is still divided into seven parts, four of them punctuated with “I am the walrus,” and the other three with “I’m crying.”
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. (Revelation 5:1-4)
So, how well do the seven seals from the Book of Revelation match up with the seven sections of “I Am the Walrus”? Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- a conqueror with a bow — “see how they run like pigs from a gun” (the modern equivalent of a bow)
- a red horse bringing war — “stupid bloody Tuesday“
- a pair of balances (symbol of justice and the law) — “pretty little policemen in a row”
- Death on a pale horse — “yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye”
- buried martyrs waiting for the Lord to avenge them — “sitting in an English garden” (cemetery) “waiting for the Son”
- sun and moon darkened (because of dust in the atmosphere?) — “choking smokers”; all tears wiped away — “the joker laughs at you… see how they smile”
- the slaughtered wicked devoured by birds — “Edgar Allan Poe” (of “Raven” fame)
Sometime I’ll also have to take a look at the Lewis Carroll connections (the walrus is from “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” the eggman is Humpty Dumpty), but not right now.