Tell Me What You See – 2 of Swords
“Tell Me What You See” was recorded for the movie Help!, but the song was rejected by the film’s director Richard Lester for not being strong enough. The Beatles still decided to include it on the film’s soundtrack. Years later, Paul admitted it was just a filler song, and John dismissed it as “all Paul”, even though it seems likely he contributed at least some of the lyrics; the second verse is taken almost verbatim from a religious passage John’s Aunt Mimi had hanging on a wall in his childhood home.
The song’s lyrics represent words being spoken to a potential lover, making the case for why she would want to be with him. Each verse concludes with the request that she open her eyes and look directly at him. If she does, she will realize her love for him. By the third verse he’s growing frustrated, wondering what more he needs to say to get through. Apparently, despite his best attempts otherwise, she remains blind to how great a fit they would be together.
The 2 of Swords is a good fit for “Tell Me What You See”. This card symbolizes a choice to be made, where we have to weigh our options. The card often appears in a reading when we’re struggling with a decision or when we’re not aware of the choices available to us. Many versions of this card show someone balancing two swords while blindfolded, unable to see what is right in front of them. Both the Moon overhead and the body of water behind her suggest using intuition to expand our awareness. If we gain peace of mind, the answer will be revealed from deep within ourselves.
Listen closely and notice that the theme of the 2 of Swords is subtly depicted in the song’s arrangement. The first half of the verses vacillate between a line delivered in 2-part harmony and a line delivered by Paul alone. This interplay continuously reinforces that she has a choice: this or that, she can be with him or she can be alone. In the second half of the verses – beginning with the line “open up your eyyyyes now” – we hear him trying a different approach: both voices are in unison, signifying that the singer is being a bit more forceful in his attempt to get through to her.
The verses reach a climax with the chorus, which is just the words of the title, delivered with dynamic emphasis and sung in dramatic harmony. He makes a strong case for them being together, but will she see it the same way?
“Listen to me one more time, how can I get through?
Can’t you try to see that I’m trying to get to you?”
This is song #70 of the Beatles Song Tarot Project. Click here to learn more about this magical, mystical trip through the Beatles catalogue.