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The Madonna Timeline: Song #128 – ‘Messiah’ – Winter 2015

md messiah 101

{Note: The Madonna Timeline is an ongoing feature, where I put the iPod on shuffle, and write a little anecdote on whatever was going on in my life when that Madonna song was released and/or came to prominence in my mind.}

 

Madonna doesn’t always get the credit she deserves for some of her lyrics. Yes, she has a tendency to go a bit banal at times – and I know no one wants another waiting/hesitating/anticipating couplet – but if you dig into her deep cuts there are some jewels of gorgeous poetry at work, such as in this installation of the Madonna Timeline – the miraculous ‘Messiah’ from the stunning ‘Rebel Heart’ opus. The majestic track, with its dramatic orchestral flourishes and impassioned delivery ranks among Madonna’s very best ballads – a blending of ‘The Power of Goodbye’ and ‘Falling Free’ with a little ‘Drowned World: Substitute for Love’ thrown in for good measure. In other words, a track that can cut you to tears – and I absolutely love it.

 

I AM THE PROMISE THAT YOU CANNOT KEEP.

REAP WHAT YOU SOW, FIND WHAT YOU SEEK.

I AM THE SORCERESS DOWN IN THE DEEP.

I AM THE EARTH UNDER YOUR FEET.

 

Winter.

The sky is dark gray, despite the early hour.

There is a brutality in the air, in the scent of smoke and snow.

An acrid metallic taste left on the tongue like blood.

An empty stretch of holidays, surrounded by family and friends, and feeling acute isolation.

Forlorn, forsaken, and forgotten – and from that we forge our fortitude.

Or we wait for another to rescue us.

A savior.

~… A messiah. …~

We seek him in the sky, on every distant horizon.

We wait in joyful hope, on every solemn occasion.

We think he will come, and change everything that’s wrong.

 

I AM THE MOON WITH NO LIGHT OF MY OWN

YOU ARE THE SUN GUARDING YOUR THRONE

I HEARD THE ANGELS WHISPER TO ME

LOOK FOR THE SIGNSHE IS THE ONE…

 

A son who never quite felt loved, who had to go out on his own to find unconditional acceptance.

A man who never quite felt loved, who had to be out on his own to realize his worth.

And I did that.
I went into the world to find what I could not get at home.

It was love – the love of another person who didn’t care that I was gay, who didn’t care what I looked like, who didn’t care that my jacket was Gaultier.

Yet it was elusive.

Hidden.

Unknown.

Fumbling in the darkness, I could not see where I was meant to be.

I could not find the one.

 

I’LL LIGHT A CANDLE HERE IN THE DARK

MAKING MY WAY TO YOUR HEART

I’LL CAST A SPELL THAT YOU CAN’T UNDO

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

By the light of a candle, late in the night, I chant my prayers.

The flame wavers, distorted by salty water, and multiplies in shards of kaleidoscopic light.

Shadows on the wall encroach on the single source of illumination.

They approach but they never quite reach it.

The light is untouchable.

 

I’LL BE THE BRIDE THAT IS MARRIED TO LIGHT

YOU ARE THE DAY, I AM THE NIGHT

WEAVE YOU A BLANKET OF SILVER AND GOLD

I’LL KEEP YOU WARM, DO AS I’M TOLD

 

Loneliness makes us do strange things.

Sick, sad, twisted, desperate things.

A lack of love does that too, until we reach a point where our desperation is written in everything we do.

Hurt begets hurt. Pain breeds more pain. A generous heart is doomed.

We put up with less than we deserve because we have been so beaten down.

For every queen, there is a dominant king.

Such power plays are deeply ingrained in our history. Their poisonous roots run deep, housed in darkness, buried in cold. They can be masked as protection, disguised as safety, but they rot you from the inside out. The sudden wilt betrays a lifetime of unhappiness.

 

I NEED YOUR STRENGTH, IT WILL KEEP ME FROM HARM

I’LL BE YOUR QUEEN, SAFE IN YOUR ARMS

DON’T WANT TO GET TO THE END OF MY DAYS

SAYING I WASN’T AMAZED

 

I’LL LIGHT A CANDLE HERE IN THE DARK

MAKING MY WAY TO YOUR HEART

I’LL CAST A SPELL THAT YOU CAN’T UNDO

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

Then, all of sudden, and just when you were about to give up on the whole thing altogether, the key: acceptance.

Resignation.

It takes a great many battles and wars before there is any sort of peace.

But there – here – it was, arrived at after numerous attempts at love – at the very moment you realized you didn’t need it. Maybe you didn’t even want it. There’s a victory in that too.

A sad victory.

Because not every victory means you won something.

Sometimes a victory is merely escaping certain death.

 

I’LL LIGHT A CANDLE HERE IN THE DARK

MAKING MY WAY TO YOUR HEART

I’LL CAST A SPELL THAT YOU CAN’T UNDO

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

Awakened, you rise and repeat the mantra…

 

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

You say it with bone-chilling conviction, with all the desires you ever spent or wasted now conjured like ghosts backing up your army of one.

 

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

And all those you’ve ever loved, all those you’ve ever wanted to love you, and all those who didn’t know the first thing about love suddenly dissipate into nothing. It was only ever about waking up to yourself. You have no control over anyone else.

You never did.

No one does.

Love – true love – only arises when you learn to let go.

 

‘TIL YOU WAKE UP AND YOU FIND THAT YOU LOVE ME TOO

 

At the end – and only at the end – they do.

 

SONG #128 – ‘Messiah’ – Winter 2015

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