September 10, 2010

FROM THE ARCHIVES: A DREAM OF LIFE :

Signs of our enduring faith spirit (RICHARD ROEPER, September 6, 2002, Chicago Sun-Times)
"The Rising" is the first major work by a big-time artist to directly address the tragedies of 9/11, with Springsteen narrating his songs from various points of view--a grieving spouse; lovers in a politically charged interethnic romance; a rescue worker overwhelmed with survivor's guilt. There are numerous references to praying and to a higher being and to some kind of life after death, even when the narrator is a suicide bomber, as in "Paradise."

On the title track, Springsteen takes on the persona of a firefighter trapped in the World Trade Center.

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind . . .
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a 60-pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line . . .

Knowing he will not survive, the firefighter becomes aware of "spirits above and behind" and says, "Lord . . . I stand before your fiery light." He sees visions of his wife, Mary, and speaks of "holy pictures" of their children and reaches for a "sky of fullness, sky of blessed life." And, of course, there is the refrain about "The Rising," which seems to be the dawn of a second life for the fallen firefighter.

Some rock critics have said that, despite the efforts of Paul McCartney and Neil Young and Toby Keith and John Hiatt and many others, we have yet to hear the definitive Sept. 11th anthem. I invite them to play the title tune from "The Rising" again, to drop the professional cynicism and just let the music and the words and the message wash over them.

"The Rising" is that anthem.


Here's the song in its entirety:
The Rising

Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I've gone
How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my back's a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin' the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin' down here

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

There's spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin' bright
May their precious blood bind me
Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li

I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There's holy pictures of our children
Dancin' in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin' wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight


It may not be definitive but it's damn fine. [originally posted: 9/07/02] Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2010 11:59 PM
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