Night on Bald Mountain (a journey through hell into heaven)

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 29 Aug 2023

"Burn your graves to the ground,
Leave me handcuffed to the sky"
Drive Your Brain Into The Sea


What do you do when you find yourself going down the wrong path?  When the temporary pleasures of dancing with the witches have proven to be a path to endless pain?  Is it possible to turn away from the illusion of unquenchable passions, and return to the Father?

In 1867, Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote Night on Bald Mountain about a witches' sabbath.  Galina Shakitskaya directed an animation for it in 1998.  In it, a young girl succumbs to the witches' temptations, and rides with them on her pet goat through the evening sky.  She participates in the revelry, and is seduced into an ecstatic dance by a fiery nymph.  The witches have accepted her.  She has found herself at last. 

Or so she believes.

In the version above, our heroine dances in the fire until finally she is "surrounded by all the things we love," all of which are in flames.  She realizes she is on the wrong path, and that there is no "default heaven" at which everyone arrives.  The unholy, "default heaven" in which no repentance is necessary, and whose inhabitants are self-righteous enough to believe that their hatred will be "plated with gold," is in fact a place of endless torment.  Her moment of awakening occurs when her beloved pet goat looks up at her with love and fear, pleading for mercy and salvation.  He finds himself swept along with a train of horses stampeding toward their inexorable doom, and doesn't want to go down with them.

Our heroine swoops in and saves her innocent friend from destruction, just as he is about to go careening over the edge.  The girl and the goat escape to a warm, motherly cloud, or possibly fish, where they sleep off the effects of the evening's revelry.  Like the prodigal son, she returns to her Father with her beloved pet.

One afternoon, while they're all gathering fruit and flowers, the goat's time to go home to the true Heaven finally comes.  The peaceful, smiling goat floats up into the true Heaven, where he turns into a cloud.  It's not a joyous moment, but it isn't tragic either.  They will meet their friend again.  The Father has indeed "burned their graves to the ground," and they are most definitely "handcuffed to the sky," which is no kind of confinement at all.  The true Heaven is waiting.

I sincerely hope to see you there.

The Wild Woods Are Weird

I left the Wood in a state of disarray
I passed through Salton City
like a gamma ray
a radioactive remnant
running free
I crashed like a lightning bolt
into the sea

    And the dragon in me
    screams in agony
    at the thought of what
    could have been
    Ah, the hell with it,
    you win

Tormented by flames of desire
I roamed the countryside
like a forest fire
I strolled along
the golden city walls
for whose sake am I compelled to mimic
these depraved and craven animals?

    Here she comes again
    drinking blood and gin
    she's even better than I feared
    the wild woods are weird

We'll be surrounded by all the things we love
when we get to default
heaven above
we will never die or grow old
our hatred
will be plated with gold

    We'll carry the weight of our own wit
    on shoulders of shit
    when we get
    to the end...


©2017 Nathan Payne



Drive Your Brain Into The Sea

Burn your graves
to the ground
leave me handcuffed
to the sky
drive your brain
into the sea
roll down the door
and drown the keys

Freezing rain
in my brain
wash my bad dreams
down the drain
people dancing
in the snow
how we got here
I don't know

Burn your graves
to the ground
leave me handcuffed
to the sky
drive your brain
into the sea
roll down the door
and drown the keys

©2009 Nathan Payne

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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