"Mission" as written by and Seung Ho Lee....
Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame
'Til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

I hear their passionate music
Read the words
That touch my heart
I gaze at their feverish pictures
The secrets that set them apart

When I feel the powerful visions
Their fire has made alive
I wish I had that instinct
I wish I had that drive

Spirits fly on dangerous missions
Imaginations on fire
Focused high on soaring ambitions
Consumed in a single desire

In the grip of
A nameless possession
A slave to the drive of obsession
A spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

I watch their images flicker
Bringing light to a lifeless screen
I walk through
Their beautiful buildings
And I wish I had their dreams

But dreams don't need
To have motion
To keep their spark alive
Obsession has to have action
Pride turns on the drive

It's cold comfort
To the ones without it
To know how they struggled
How they suffered about it

If their lives were
Exotic and strange
They would likely have
Gladly exchanged them
For something a little more plain
Maybe something a little more sane

We each pay a fabulous price
For our visions of paradise
But a spirit with a vision
Is a dream with a mission

Lyrics submitted by shed27

"Mission" as written by Alex Lifeson Geddy Lee


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Mission song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI'm surprised there are so few comments on this! I love this song

    Geddy Lee (1988): "It basically grew out of a conversation Neil and I had about the kind of people we consider ourselves to be, people who always knew what they wanted to do in their lives and always had this ambition and desire, but couldn't make a choice as to what to do. It was always very clear that we had to do what we do - whether we were a success or a failure - we knew we would always play music in some way. 'Mission' also looks sadly at the people who have never really been sure what they should be doing and have never had a clear-cut idea where to put their creative ability to reach a final, ultimate conclusion."
    Vannarothon June 29, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this is one of those songs that you will listen for the rest of your life and every time you hear it, it will sound different. The lyrics are very opened to imagination and anyone can put their thoughts and wonder the symbolism of words like spirit, vision, dream, mission. Those words are open to intepretation and for me, this song talks about the combiantion of emotions and attitude that we must have to achieve an objective, even if for that purpose we will endure a life of privation, weirdness and a sense of not belonging to a general group. To be creative, independent and achieve your ultimate desires you´ll pay a price. It´s not easy either to be different or to be a genious, but you can achieve much more than a regular alienated and boring life...
    davialexanderon August 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. It's so inspirational to me. I see it as a study of those with that driving obsession to do whatever is they do and having an earnst appreciation and some sympathy to those same people for the price they pay for their genius, whether that be a lack of social skills (common among those of high intellegence), bad relationships (never time, always obessing about work), or what have you. It also gives those of us with a vision or suttle feeling of one, the hope that it can one day come to fruition . . . 'hold your fire, keep it burning bright, hold the flame till the dream ingnites . . . ' Really, lyrically and musically, one of their most brillian works of art.
    lwyzon August 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI can't believe there is not more feedback on this song.
    I have been listening to Rush since about 1977.
    Most of the time I focused on everything pre-Signals, I did listen to all the other albums but not as frequently. Then around 1997 I really started listening to every Rush album with more intensity.

    Mission is by far my favorite Rush tune. Believe me, that's a tough choice considering their body of work, but it speaks to me in a very personal way. I don't know of any song by anyone that's more inspiring.
    BoyRDeeon February 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA beautiful and moving pice of music, without a doubt, a rush classic.
    Razormasticatoron April 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst thing, the drums in the second verse own my soul.

    Second thing, the guitar solo at the end is perfect.

    We each pay a fabulous price
    for our visions of paradise.

    I love this song.
    Julietsonon November 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMight just be my favorite Rush song. Best version is definetly on Snakes and Arrows Live
    DasBear017on November 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with davialexander and I'd really wanted you guys to pay attention to one thing: all the comments here (at least those regarding the song meaning strictly) have a strong "fisrt person appeal" thing and at the same time it doesn't sound too selfish. It's personal yet embracing at the same time. Your mission, regardless of what I might actually be, will always have to do with the fact that you will always have to connect with other individuals. The beauty of the lyrics is that it touches you in a very personal way at the same time that alerts that you only mean something while connecting with other individuals.
    jotajotaon August 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI loved this song in 1989, and still think it's great. I've been listening to Hold Your Fire a lot recently. I had been thinking Mission was about the appropriate relationship with the artists who inspire you - don't be sorry that you're not as skillful as them, because it tears you apart to be creative at the highest level, it seems to say. Sort of a followup to "Limelight".

    I just finished reading some Terence McKenna and when I listened to Mission again I heard something new. McKenna says that in ancient times, if you needed healing, the shamans would take psychedelic drugs and interpret their visions for you. I started thinking the "spriit with a vision" was the shaman, and the "dream with a mission" is you, the regular person who is trying to figure out what to do. Your dreams don't necessarily have to manifest themselves every day in your life; they still are a part of you that gives you power, if you pay attention. And the shaman's visions (perhaps this amazing songwriting, perhaps a painting or a novel you love) can flow into you and influence your dreams and desires.
    dlpond917on November 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI was exposed to Rush at the age of 11 in 1982. Ive seen them in concert over a dozen times. I can truely say they are my favorite band for a few reasons. Mission is my favorite song. It means a lot to me, and everyone i play it to. Weather its my girlfriend or children or someone else they all love the song. It is so inspiring to me and others. Dont give up, keep going. Do it your way. Read the lyrics, and read more of Rush's other songs. They are meaningful and most can relate to one degree or another. For being very simple and easy to understand they pack a huge punch and after listening, and i mean really listening you just feel like you can take on the hardest moments for life. God Bless Rush and all of you. For they truly do have a give.
    RichMoneyon September 10, 2014   Link

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