November 24, 2008

Magic & Loss

One of my favorite songs, lyrically, is Lou Reed's Magic and Loss. I think it really encapsulates the human condition.

My favorite line is: "They say no one person can do it all/but you want to in your head/But you can't be Shakespeare/and you can't be Joyce/so what is left instead."

When I first heard this song, I was in University. The idea of conquering the world seemed possible then. This song deals with coming to terms with your own limitations.

But the song also deals with fire, and the passions of our life, and the drive we have to live.

I think this song can be inspiring to anyone. Everyone has a mixture of both magic and loss in their life, and the key to happiness is enjoying the magic as much as possible and not letting the loss hold us back.

Here is the entire song:

When you pass through the fire
you pass through humble
You pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble
the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out
You pass through arrogance you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever present past
and it's best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light

As you pass through the fire
your right hand waving
there are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
will never help you out
You have to be very strong
'cause you'll start from zero
over and over again
And as the smoke clears
there's an all consuming fire
lying straight ahead

They say no one person can do it all
but you want to in your head
But you can't be Shakespeare
and you can't be Joyce
so what is left instead
You're stuck with yourself
and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment
This wonderful fire started up again

When you pass through humble
when you pass through sickly
When you pass through
I'm better than you all
When you pass through
anger and self deprecation
and have the strength to acknowledge it all
When the past makes you laugh
and you can savor the magic
that let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
and there's a door up ahead not a wall

As you pass through fire as you pass through fire
try to remember its name
When you pass through fire licking at your lips
you cannot remain the same
And if the building's burning
move towards that door
but don't put the flames out
There's a bit of magic in everything
and then some loss to even things out.

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