Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday PSTSS: "Dead Man's Rope"

For someone who doesn't describe himself as a Christian, Sting has written some of the most thoughtful and moving explorations of Christian themes to be found anywhere in pop music. This one--with its dead-on assessment of the guilt and self-delusion that sin and addiction can bring into a life, and its turn from "walki[ing] away in emptiness" to "walk[ing] away from emptiness, and most especially its subtle invocation of the predicament of humankind which Christians believe Christ took upon Himself ("hanging here in space," "hanging from a dead man's rope," "suspended" between Heaven and Hell, the angel "reaching down above my head," etc.)--is one of my favorites. It's from his 2003 Sacred Love album.

A million footsteps
This left foot drags behind my right
But I keep walking
From daybreak 'til the falling night
And as days turn into weeks and years
And years turn into lifetimes
I just keep walking, like I've been walking for a thousand years

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow

If you're walking to escape
To escape from your affliction
You'd be walking in a great circle
A circle of addiction
Did you ever wonder
What you'd been carrying since the world was black?
You see yourself in a looking glass with a tombstone on your back

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
I'm just hanging here in space

Now I'm suspended
Between my darkest fears and dearest hope
Yes I've been walking
Now I'm hanging from a dead man's rope
With Hell below me
And Heaven in the sky above
I've been walking, I've been walking away from Jesus' love

Walk away in emptiness, walk away in sorrow
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow
Walk away in anger, walk away in pain
Walk away from life itself, walk into the rain

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
I'm just hanging here in space

The shadows fall
Around my bed
When the hand of an angel
The hand of an angel is reaching down above my head

All this wandering has led me to this place
Inside the well of my memory, sweet rain of forgiveness
Now I'm walking in his grace

(I'm walking in his footsteps
Walking in his footsteps
Walking in his footsteps)

All the days of my life I will walk with you
All the days of my life I will talk with you
All the days of my life I will share with you
All the days of my life I will bear with you

Walk away from emptiness, walk away from sorrow
Walk away from yesterday, walk away tomorrow
Walk away from anger, walk away from pain
Walk away from anguish, walk into the rain

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