Reflections on Bob Dylan's "Shooting Star"
Reflections on Bob Dylan’s: ‘Shooting Star’ – by Kees de Graaf.
The moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide .Suddenly there is this flash across the sky and I see a shooting star. Is it doom alone that counts now? In the twinkling of an eye time seems to have come to a permanent stop.
In an instant, as in a flash back, as in a curtain glance I see this star from heaven fall; in it I see the life of my beloved pass by. “You tried to break into another world, a world I never knew”, I saw it was all her world, a world I’ve never known, a world in which I feel like a stranger nobody knows, a stranger in a strange land. I feel eternal alienation because I live in another world, a world which is so different from yours, a world where life and death are memorized and where the earth is strung with lover’s pearls. I asked you for freedom to live in this world, freedom to live in a world which you deny. She did not give this freedom to me, but I took it anyway. And now I ask myself what has become of her: “I always kind of wondered, if you ever made it through”. I feel sadness come over me when I think of this. I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul. I can’t see you anymore and now it is as if I can see through your walls and I see you hurting, sorrow covering you up like a cape. Last night I knew you but tonight I don’t. You had to go your way and I had to go mine. What about the Judge? The idea that the Judge holds a grudge on you haunts me like it never did before.
And now, as I see this shooting star, I know that for her the night has fallen from the sky....
But I do not only see her life, I also see my own life pass by: “Seen a shooting star tonight and I thought of me, if I was still the same, if I ever became what you wanted me to be” .The balance sheet of my life is drawn up. For me the time has come for the deal to go down. What has become of me? Have I held up my part of the deal? It goes back to that destiny thing. I mean, I made a bargain with it, you know, long time ago. And I’m holding up my end. But did I succeed? Oh my Lord, did I ever become what you wanted me to be or do you see my life as a complete failure? I have no idea what you expect of me. Well, maybe I do but I’m just really not sure. What I do know for sure that there is no escaping or turning back from You now. “Did I miss the mark or overstep the line that only You could see? Seen a shooting star tonight, and I thought of me”. As this shooting star slips away, I can now clearly see my own failures and sins, they haunt me like they never did before. I tried to hide my sins from other people but You my Lord, you saw them all. Only You my Lord can see right through me, You can look into the deepest shadows, into every nook and cranny of my heart and You saw all transgressions. Oh heart of mine, so malicious and so full of guile, if I give you an inch, you take a mile. Oh forgetful heart, why did you lose your power of recall, every little detail you don't remember at all! Why did I so often miss the mark and why did I so often overstep the line? On this Latter Day I find myself suddenly confronted with the holiness of the Almighty God and in despair I turn myself to thee and in despair I wonder: What good am I when I so often turned a deaf ear to the thunder in the sky? I find myself stark naked and now I have no other option left but to throw myself upon your loving mercy, my Lord, and that is what I’m going to do.
But this is not the end. Just remember that death is not the end. As the shooting star slips away, the camera zooms out from my personal introspective level and that of my beloved to a universal, cosmic level. I now turn my back to the Son because the light is too intense. I can see the great apocalyptic, cosmic happening of the Latter Day suddenly start now. I see tree-trunks uprooted; I can see trees that stood for thousand years, suddenly fall. I feel a change coming on, the last part of the day is already gone, therefore 'Listen to the engine; listen to the bell as the last fire-truck from hell goes rolling by'. Hear that undertaker’s bell; ring them bells with an iron hand so the people will know that the sun is going down upon the sacred cow. I can see the last convulsive movement, the agony of death of the satanic beast as he drives the fire truck from hell on its last journey to the pit. The satanic beast lashes out one more time from behind the wheels of fire, in a final outburst of resistance, the beast is determined to destroy all the gentle through a huge fireball that sails through the air. As the fire truck from hell goes rolling by, I can see all powers that linger in the fireball heat explode. The tail of the beast tears down one third of the stars and casts them to the earth (Rev.12:4). The good, just and devout people now know that the hour of reckoning has finally come; I see those people surrender to the mercy of the Lord and I see that 'All good people are praying'. They learned to pray in the darkness of the night and in the brightness of the day. When Jesus gave the Sermon of the Mount (Mat 5-7), He gave them instructions how to pray (Mat.6:9-14).
I know that “It’s the last temptation, the last account, the last time you might hear the sermon on the mount, the last radio is playing”. As from now on, let us not be enticed because today is the day I’m gonna grab my trombone and blow, making it clear that today is the last temptation, tomorrow there will be no more temptation, there will be no more decadence and charm, no more affection that’s misplaced. On this dreadful day which has now arrived, I’d hate to be you because I know I cannot trade places with you, on this day I cannot do it for you. Well, I cried for you—now it’s your turn to cry a while. Remember that today is the day of the last account, on this Latter Day; there ain’t no goin’ back, when your foot of pride comes down. If you had listened on time to the sermon of the mount, Judgement would be something that you’ll never see. So don’t wait before it’s too late because today is the last time you may hear and see it and feel it. As for me, I’m hanging on to this solid Rock. I hear the sound of a radio coming from the room next door. It may be the last radio playing because it is already late in the evening and all the music seeping through warns me that it is not only late in the evening, in fact it’s way past midnight. It is mighty funny: the end of time has just arrived.it is time for the few to judge the many.
“Tomorrow will be another day, guess it’s too late to say the things to you that you needed to hear me say, seen a shooting star tonight slip away” I had so much left to say, I had so much left to do, but it is too late for that. Right now, I see nothing gained by any explanation; there are no words that need to be said. But I do know that tomorrow will be another day, a new morning. I’m so happy just to be alive, underneath the sky of blue, on this new morning with You, my Lord. I know there are so many things that I will never undo. You needed to hear me say those things and I owe you an apology for that, please forgive my shortcomings and transgressions. But as I see this shooting star slip away, the light of the new morning is beginning to shine on me. It is not as the light that it used to be. How I long for this day and for this place where the tree of life will be growing again, the place where the spirit never dies and where the bright light of salvation shines in dark and empty skies.
This is what I thought when I saw this shooting star slip away………
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