"The Rising" as written by Kemar Mcgregor, Paul Crossdale, Stephan Warren and Owen Moncrieffe....
Can't see nothin' in front of me
Can't see nothin' coming up behind
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
I was 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, 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, 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

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


Lyrics submitted by metallifreak

"The Rising" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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The Rising song meanings
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37 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentJust thought of one more thing...Come to think of it, there's another possible interpretation for "the dream of life comes to me/like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line." Instead of suggesting that the fireman is trying to hold onto the earthly life that's slipping away from him, it could suggest that he's trying to grasp the afterlife waiting for him, that he can see it and feel it in front of him like a fisherman sees and feels a catfish dancing on the end of his fishing line, tantalizingly close but just out of reach. Again, this works well on a literal level, too, because the fireman is feeling his way through the darkness with only a rope to guide him. In this case, instead of leading him to the top of the building, it leads him to the afterlife that awaits.
    LyricallyInclinedon April 16, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBruce's new album is pretty much a concept album about September 11th. and this song seems to be a song about coming to terms and moving on, at least i think so.
    freeefallnon August 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty sure the whole first verse is from the point of view of a firefighter going into the towers. I like your interpretation, but this seems to make more sense. The "On my back's a sixty pound stone On the shoulder half mile outta line" part is talking about his oxygen tank and his hose.
    BarbedWireSockoon April 20, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree that this song is from a firefighter's perspective. It follows him into the Tower and then into the afterlife (which is contrasted with the same structure in the next song, 'Paradise', in which the suicide bomber finds no rest or peace in his afterlife). I find this song extraordinarily moving -- it makes me feel and understand 9/11 more than any of the TV coverage or other mediated responses.
    Cherub Rockon January 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"The dream of life comes to me
    Like a catfish dancin' on the end of my line."

    Obviously, The Boss's word on this is final, but for those who are having trouble understanding what he means, think of the way a fish wriggles and slips off the end of a fishing line. The fisherman grasps at it, tries to hold it, but it shimmies away and is gone. In the song, life is compared to that fish. The fireman, who is the voice of the song, feels the life he hoped for slip away from him like a fish slips away from a fisherman. This works beautifully in a literal sense, too, because we know the fireman has been climbing up the stairs with "this chain that binds me" tied around him. It is his literal lifeline, and he struggles to hold onto it as it slips away. Then, just as a fish rejoins the ocean, the fireman's spirit rejoins the endless ocean of eternity.

    This is such a powerful song because it works on so many levels. It's the story of one fireman climbing the tower and thus ascending from earth to heaven. As a chorus of other voices join in, it's the story of all the other souls rising along with his. It's the story of the survivors rising metaphorically from the blow of the attack and physically raising the remains and erecting a new structure in their wake. Springsteen is so brilliant because he takes a tragic event that resulted in thousands of untimely deaths and transforms it into a triumph of death overcome as all those innocent souls rise to life everlasting. All these years later, I still want to cry every time I hear it.
    LyricallyInclinedon April 16, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI just watched the DVD "Springsteen Storytellers" in which he is by himself...acoustic guitar or piano/harmonica with a small audience (does a question and answer session which is GREAT...so personable, funny, self-deprecating and deep). The Rising has NOTHING to do with firefighters...it is about everyone, dealing with struggles, life, etc... Take it from the man.
    brucejuiceon January 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe song jumps back and forth through different parts of time. I think there are two perspectives, one from a fireman who is a first responder and the other is from the country as a whole. The first verse is the fireman tracking through the World Trade Center. The smoke makes it so he "can't see nothing in front of me, can't see nothing coming up behind." The chorus could be from either perspective. It could be the fireman talking to someone trapped in the building who is injured or terrified saying, "take my hand, we'll get out of here." It could also be the country after 9/11 talking about how if we work together, we will rise. When he talks about the "spirits above and behind me," he's talking about all the people who have lost their lives. It's almost as if the fireman can see their spirits leaving their body and he is surrounded by them. And in the last two verses, I think the fireman dies. I think "Mary" and their "children" is symbolic for heaven. I think he is going up there with everyone else who sadly lost their lives and he can feel their arms together and feel their blood mixing with his. And while he is going up to heaven, one: he sees what the sky is filled with these sad things like "Sky of fear" and "sadness," but also, "a dream of life." That all the people he has fallen with, will now be together. And then Bruce ends it with the the chorus and the country telling everyone that we will never forget you.

    Bruce is just and unbelievable songwriter
    joeyd1515on May 28, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, but can someone please tell me what it's about?
    ManicGypsyon August 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Boss' performance on the VMA's was extremely spiritual. In the rain, middle of New York, singing a song of healing...could it get any better than that??
    Traumattizingon September 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSee Mary in the garden of a thousand sighs....makes me think of those suffering for their loved ones on 9/11 and the weeks after it..

    WTC site...The fallen towers..sky of lonely and emptiness... Sky of love sky of tears, fear, mercy, sorrow, love... all makes you think of what was lost when they came down.

    This is a song that says help someone rise from their struggles and tragedies... lay your hands in mine...

    On my back a sixty pound stone (heavy burdens and struggles) on my shoulder a half mile of line (indicates that the person trying to help you has a long history of struggles and tragedies and we must help each other to overcome them... that is part of life
    jdiaz17on October 09, 2002   Link

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