Nevermore – “The Lotus Eaters”

In Book 9 of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus tells the Phaeacians of the perilous adventures on the high seas with his crew in their futile attempts to return from the Trojan War alive. Among the earlier set of these escapades was their arrival in the land of the Lotophagoi, i.e. the Lotus Eaters, men who spent their whole lives in a state of blissful oblivion, intoxicated by ingesting the lotus flowers that grew around them. Some of Odysseus’ crew consumed the lethean flowers, and under a narcotic spell no longer desired to return home. Their comrades had to drag them back to the ships, where they wept bitterly, coming down from their highs.

The forgetfulness of homecoming is a key theme in the Odyssey, where either Odysseus’ men or he himself at times are caught between immediate pleasures and their desire, their mission, their duty to return home to their families and restore order to the kingdom of Ithaca. In our own day, the term “lotus-eater” still denotes somebody who indulges in pleasures at the expense of practical concerns.

In this song, from their 1999 album “Dreaming Neon Black,” Nevermore identify the lotus-eaters as those who avoid concerning themselves with the deepest questions of life, of asking how our place in the world makes sense, questions for a deity that doesn’t seem to listen, care, or even exist. Some of us want to know how to get to our Ithaca, to discover the real goal of our existence. Others prefer to eat the lotus flowers, to make the pleasures of the moment the whole point of their living. Which is the better choice?

 “Why is this happening to me? Why have 
I been forsaken? Nothing numbs the pain
any longer……please….I’m slipping away

We fall into the spaces blind, the puzzle so unkind
The lotus eaters fly
we watch the random pattern form, insidious and cold
And bloom into the unknown

Please God why can’t you hear us?
Please God why aren’t you listening?

We take the hand of fate in vain, and wonder why your will
Seems cruel controlled and illogical
Do words fall on deaf ears, are we just too small?
Please make us understand

Please God why can’t you hear us?
Please God why aren’t you listening?
Please God why must we fear you?
Please God why did you take her away?

[solo J.L.]

Please God why can’t you hear us?
Please God why aren’t you listening?
Please God why must we fear you?
Please God why did you take her away?

Are we your children?
Are we lost?”

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