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Forum Moderator, The Goal Is Soul
Nov 14, 2000
Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast, and Berlin
I was reading the poem by W.B. Yeats entitled "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven." This beauty goes like this...

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

It was the fourth line that grabbed my attention..."Of night and light and the half light. I was reminded of the verse in Bad which speaks of half light when Bono sings,

"If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame."

I've always been fascinated by Bono's use of the wording, or concept of "half light". It's this feeling of inbetweeness that has always drawn me to the song Bad. We all know that Bad is about heroin addiction, and he gives the feeling in Bad, and I also get the feeling in Yeat's poem, that there is the desire to bring one to the light, to healing of one in darkness, but the feeling of one's limitation is realized, but fully seen in one's dream...and yet Bono desires for them to be more than just a dream...especially when he sings, "I'm wide awake, wide awake, I'm not sleeping."

In Bono's humaness, maybe, he realizes within himself that he can only give so much, only help so much...and that it symbolized in half light...or as we read in 1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now."

Bono writes in another verse in Bad,
"If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day."

It is this yearning in Bad that makes this song so undescribably emotional at times as to how it makes us feel when we see or hear Bono sing it live and he sings it from somewhere deep within his soul that many of us long to touch within ourselves, and it's no wonder that so often Bono longs for the human touch while caught up in the emotion that this song evokes within him. At yet the frustration also is there of only being able to take one so far in breaking the chains that he sees around him...not just drug addiction, but all the other "Bad" that we see in our world...wars, terrorism, hate, Bono sings with hope, as Yeats spoke with hope when he says:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Anybody else have any thoughts on Yeat's poem or the idea of half light that Bono speaks about in Bad...I would welcome any further thoughts.


[This message has been edited by spanisheyes (edited 10-13-2001).]
If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go

Bad for what drug addiction does to a person, the tearing of one whole person into two dislocated persons...the light and the darkness, right and wrong...Bad for maybe how one feels when what they say or do doesn't seem to matter, or make a difference...If I could, yes I would, if I could, I would let it go...surrender, dislocate as in throw out of order, the order of reliance on the half light where one can still hide enough in the awful truth of their "Bad". Just further proof of how awesome a song Bad has always been, is, and always will be.

Very insightful observation, nice thinking!

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Chris, thanks for posting that--Yeats is my favourite poet, and he is a strong influence on Bono. You hear it again and again, the "come away" bits on A Sort of Homecoming and New York are very Yeatsian--"in dreams begin responsibilities" is quoted at the start of Yeats's "Responsibilities" poetry book, and there are other examples. There is simply no poet who uses language like Yeats, not even Bono

"He Wishes for the CLoths of Heaven" always stops me in my tracks.

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