Hansel and Gretel are alive and well
And they're living in Berlin
She is a cocktail waitress
He had a part in a Fassbinder film

And they sit around at night now
Drinking schnapps and gin
And she says, 'Hansel, you're really bringing me down.'
And he says, 'Gretel, you can really be a bitch.'

He says, I've wasted my life on our stupid legend,
When my one and only love was the wicked witch.

She said, What is history?
And he said, History is an angel
Being blown
Into the future
He said: History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken

But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel
Into the future

And this storm, this storm
is called

Lyrics submitted by therealsvenden

The Dream Before song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWhen Laurie released Strange Angels, I was so amused to read that she felt angels were everywhere when she was writing—she couldn’t keep them out of the songs. I was amused because I thought I was the only one trying to hold my own with the playful and exasperating winged ones. Among my many parts in the play we were enacting, I suppose I was Gretel—lots of poetic license and my study partner was Hansel. I actually was a cocktail waitress for exactly one night before I asked the manager of the lounge to help me get my car unstuck and showered him with mud. Angel antics … And my SP and I could assuredly relate to “you’re really bringing me down” … “you can really be a bitch” and even wasting his life and mine on our stupid legend. Personally I think the wicked witch was the author of the script.

    But too late to make a long story short … I never understood the rest of the song and the other day I mentioned this. What the hell did that song mean? I wasn’t expecting an answer because angels refuse to—as they say—play trained poodles. But lo and behold …

    Some of us think we exist to move progress along as though we’re born with the tasks of combating all disease, feeding the hungry, reducing the obese, ending all war, educating everyone, building cities and lord knows what else. We need to move our century forward. And we imagine that there have been others like us before who did their parts, tossing us the baton before they died so we could pick up where they left off.

    And while this is fun, it is not a necessity and it may not even be happening. While life is all illusion, progress may well be an illusion within the illusion. And according to these angels, the storm from Paradise is blowing the angel—“lucky” me playing one in the play—backwards instead of forwards—into the future because I think this is where I need to go. And I’m being blown backwards because they want to get my attention to say this may not be what you think it is. Progress is quite possibly not the aim. If progress is the aim, why does history teach us nothing? If we’re smart enough to play the life game, how come we aren’t smart enough to do it right? Possibly because flawed as it seems—we are doing exactly what we want to. This is the desired effect.

    I can’t say this all makes sense to me yet and I can’t say that I am unique simply because a crowd of angels have decided to camp out at my place. Not only could this happen to just about anyone, it probably is but people don’t talk too much about angels except in the traditionally religious sense—which these angels dismiss as something the “wrapping paper angels”—angels that look like they leaped off Hallmark prints and not them—are doing. Face it—first you think you’re nuts and then you’re petrified everyone else will think you are. Angels. We all like the idea as long as they keep their distance.

    So I don’t know if I have the ability to understand the paradox of progress but it was unexpectedly sweet of them to offer an explanation. Needless to say, I was shocked—it was so unlike them …
    sillybunnyon July 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKnock at the door.
    Who is it?
    Love—coming for you.
    Come later on—too busy—things to do—Too busy to write. Too busy to telephone.

    No one was waiting when I opened up.
    Was it a joke?
    Did I get the name wrong?
    You said, don’t be stupid. People are watching.
    I shall write you a forest of letters.

    And in the end, what will become of us?

    My friend and I,
    threading through a morning, deeply in conversation
    So far it was funny
    Which of us is tallest?
    Who wants the banner?
    That honesty took us thirty seconds.

    And maybe I alone, speak from knowledge
    how she speaks with gentleness
    and with confusion … gives me a smile
    and says sweetly, I can go on unstable
    walking light for a while …
    sillybunnyon July 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe second half of the song, i.e., from the line, "History is an angel, . . ." is a (lovely) paraphrase of one of Walter Benjamin's theses on history. Benjamin, if you haven't encountered this name before, was a terribly important German Jewish writer and theorist who died in 1940 attempting to escape the Nazis. Benjamin quite liked Paul Klee's painting, Angelus Novus, which he appropriated in a metaphorical narrative about Klee's angel (Google "Angelus Novus" on Google images) as the angel of history being blown into the future by a storm blowing from Paradise. The angel wants to fix the mess in front of the angel, the pile of debris, but can't because the storm has been caught in the angel's wings. So, the angel is Anderson's appropriation of Benjamin's appropriation of Paul Klee's Angelus Novus. It's important to keep in mind that Benjamin lived through the first half of the 20th century and died in Port Bou, Spain, as he tired to make it to Portugal where he would catch a boat to the United States. Notions such as history as "a pile of debris" become clearer given the context of the European catastrophe.
    oldmooseon April 04, 2013   Link

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