Where to now St. Peter?

I took myself a blue canoe
And I floated like a leaf
Dazzling, dancing half enchanted
In my Merlin sleep
Crazy was the feeling
Restless were my eyes
Insane they took the paddles
My arms they paralysed

Supposedly this song is about a soldier killed in the Civil War.  I can see that (especially when you think about some of the images in the second verse), but I always thought it was about someone who committed suicide and his/her journey to the other side…not knowing whether he was going to heaven or hell, but looking to St. Peter (who guards the pearly gates) for some advice.

So where to now St. Peter
If it’s true I’m in your hands
I may not be a Christian
But I’ve done all one man can
I understand I’m on the road
Where all that was is gone
So where to now St. Peter
Show me which road I’m on
Which road I’m on

However you may interpret the lyrics – or however Bernie intended them – I find this song absolutely magical.  I know that’s a strange word to use if it’s about either of the above themes.  The melody and Elton’s voice are enchanting – a perfect fit for the imagery.  And the music, well, it is superb.  I can listen to this song over and over and over again (and I usually do when I have Tumbleweed Connection in my CD player).  If you’ve never heard this song, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Show me which road I’m on, which road I’m on

Where to now St. Peter (Tumbleweed Connection – 1970)