Bruce Springsteen has called “We Are Alive,” the final song on his 2012 album, “Wrecking Ball,” a “ghost story.” That it is, but it is also a song of high spirits and hope, one that deals with the Christian themes of resurrection and the communion of saints.

There’s a cross up yonder up on Calvary Hill
There’s a slip of blood on a silver knife
There’s a graveyard kid down below
Where at night the dead come to life
Well, above the stars they crackle in fire
A dead man’s moon throws seven rings
Well, we’d put our ears to the cold grave stones
This is the song they’d sing
We are alive
And though our bodies lie alone here in the dark
Our spirits rise to carry the fire and light the spark
To stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart

A voice cried I was killed in Maryland in 1877
When the railroad workers made their stand
Well, I was killed in 1963 one Sunday morning in Birmingham
Well, I died last year crossing the southern desert
My children left behind in San Pablo
Well, they’ve left our bodies here to rot
Oh, please let them know
We are alive
Oh, and though we lie alone here in the dark
Our souls will rise to carry the fire and light the spark
To fight shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart

Let your mind rest easy, sleep well my friend
It’s only our bodies that betray us in the end

I awoke last night in the dark and dreamy deep
From my head to my feet, my body’d gone stone cold
There were worms crawling all around me
My fingers scratching at an earth black and six foot low
And alone in the blackness of my grave
Alone I’d been left to die
Then I heard voices calling all around me
The earth rose above me, my eyes filled with sky
We are alive
And though our bodies lie alone here in the dark
Our souls and spirits rise
To carry the fire and light the spark
To fight shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart
To stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart
We are alive

The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

The featured image (detail) is courtesy of Pixabay. It has been brightened.

All comments are moderated and must be civil, concise, and constructive to the conversation. Comments that are critical of an essay may be approved, but comments containing ad hominem criticism of the author will not be published. Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Keep in mind that essays represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Imaginative Conservative or its editor or publisher.

Leave a Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email