Black Swan – A Lyrical Analysis by Shreya Raj

Illustration by MoonRayy

“A dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful” 

– Martha Graham (Black Swan Art Film) 

Original Lyrics Translation 

The heart no longer races When hearing the music play Seems like time has stopped Oh that would be my first death I’ve been always afraid of 

Ocean with all light silenced shut My wandering feet held in a rut Every sound has been cut 

Sinking slowly in a trance I struggle but all I see is the ocean floor Every moment becomes eternity 

I open my eyes I’m in my workroom, it’s my studio The waves godarkly by in a throe But I’ll never get dragged away again 


Art for an artist is a means of sanity and survival, a world without it is not something I could ever imagine. It is an art that carried legacies of the past and described wonders of the future. Without it, we are bound to perish one day. 

It is somehow both order and chaos at the same time, wild and free, extending in all directions and limitless in all possible ways yet delicate with intricate details. 

What can be drawn, can be written about. What is written can flow with the music, becoming one with its melodies and what can be sung can be danced to. In this manner, all these forms come together to blend as one and only the most fortunate beings get the opportunity to experience this wonder. It is the loss of this feeling that Black Swan seems to mourn. 

An ancient greek proverb states that Swans, right before their death, sing the most beautiful song since they have been silent most of their lifetime. Black Swan seems to be a swan song to me, a song calling out for saving, yearning to feel the connection with art which over the time has become foggy. A song where artists express the fear of art fading away from their essence, the last cry before what seems to be their first death, that is disconnecting with art. 

What would I do if I couldn’t write again..? What would I ever do if the feeling of words swirling around in my head and flowing out on paper was ever taken away from me? And this is the question Black Swan poses in front of all artists. What would we do if art, which has somewhere come down to become a parallel of breathing was taken away from us? 

The lyrics talk of how music seems to no more excite the septet and I can’t help wonder what I would do if the thought of being able to read something no more made my heart pick pace, what would I do if I could never again weave words together to keep all my emotions, all my secrets, safely locked away between the pages. The mere thought makes me feel like I am tumbling down a cliff with nothing to hold onto or sinking in an ocean as the lyrics put it, going deeper and deeper, wildly thrashing around failing in my attempts to stay afloat, water slowly filling my lungs, darkness consuming me as I struggle to see a tiny bit of light. 

I tend to comfort myself with the thought that I would be writing for the rest of my life, that I would somehow manage to hold onto my art, and the way it feels to be able to pour all my emotions through it. But what of the dancers who would certainly age someday and no longer be able to perform their art, no longer able to go on the stage and dance their hearts out. It pains me to such an extent that I wonder how they are ever able to deal with it but then we all, in the end, live with the awareness of our mortality and I guess so do they. 

It is only when the lyrics mention seeing ourselves in the depths of the ocean performing our art, I realize that the song is not just mourning the loss of the way art feels but also celebrating what art is, celebrating the way we can always find solace in it, celebrating the pure joy of creations. It not only makes me fall in love with art all over again but also realize that art is our emotions being given a form which our senses could pick. Art is what separates our flesh and blood from a machine’s nuts and bolts and makes us human and that’s a reason worth celebrating life itself.

Shreya Raj is a 17-year-old Indian poet and writer. She is deeply invested in all forms of art, especially music and writing. As an artist, she hopes to provide some comfort to people through her work and make a safer environment for everyone. 

When she is not reading or fangirling over BTS, you’d find her struggling with complex mathematics as an attempt to make it toher dream college. Twitter- @Soothing_stars 

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