The refrain of this song is used on both of U2’s most recent albums, Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017). It was called “A Song for Someone” on the 2014 album, and a “There is a Light” on the 2017 album. Both titles make sense, as the refrain uses both lines.
It’s a beautiful song that speaks to me in the way of communicating with our own soul, or that part of ourselves that is all knowing and sits quietly waiting for us to be wise enough to just listen to it. To do so, we need to be quiet and tune in.
If there is a light
You can’t always see
And there is a world
We can’t always be
If there is a dark
Now we shouldn’t doubt
And there is a light
Don’t let it go out…
‘Cause this is a song
A song for someone
Someone like me
I didn’t like this song other than this part the first several times I heard it. Daren and I went to see the Innocence + Experience Tour in 2015. When Bono announced this song I believe said he wrote it for an old friend back in Ireland. When the last album came out a few months ago, Daren and I were listening to it together in the car on the way to Long Island. There is a Lightcame on closer to the end of the album (13). As soon as the refrain started I began to sing along. It was much slower than the original, but a welcome surprise I didn’t expect – like an old friend who is who is an improved version of themselves.
Like most songs – they have meaning in the ear of the beholder. Most of (if not all) of U2 songs have a very spiritual meaning to me. I was listening to this song in my own car a few weeks later when I started to thinking about the light that is always inside of us. Our own special light that can never go out but we cannot always see or connect to it. The world is at a physical level, so it would make sense that if there is a world we can’t always be connected to our spiritual/non-physical selves. At the time I was also putting together a yoga workshop on Tao yoga and was completely absorbed and fascinated by the concept of opposites. The dark/light comparison lines just really made sense. To me the songs speak of the relationship our ego and mind have with our soul, or that part of ourselves that contains the divine.
On the Songs of Innocence album – the lyrics are more of the innocent mind set. Likely before hard falls that take place in life, but about one who realized this relationship to their higher self and is on the journey of discovery. I hear it almost as if the ego is talking to the higher self, as the higher self doesn’t have a voice of it’s own. The ego translates what it tells us in words, but the higher self is not speaking in words. Similar to the way the bible explains how our ancestors may have heard the voice of God without hearing actual words.
You got a face not spoiled by beauty
I have some scars from where I’ve been
Our higher self cannot be anything other than perfect, while our physical self is scarred with imperfection.
You’ve got eyes that can see right through me
You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen
Our own spirit is all knowing and you can’t hide anything from it, as it knows everything about you including what you think. And whatever it is – it’s all ok, we are human so we cannot be perfect and we have the capacity for forgiveness.
You let me into a conversation
A conversation only we could make
You break and enter my imagination
Whatever’s in there
It’s yours to take
Only we can have conversation with ourselves, and whatever is imagined we can decide if we want it there by taking notice and changing our thoughts.
And I’m a long way
From your hill of Calvary
And I’m a long way
From where I was, where I need to be
The hill of Calvary is literally & figuratively far away, and while I’m on the path to freedom/actualization/peace/heaven [whatever you want to call it] and far from where I started, there is still a ways to go.
The song 13 (There is a light) seems to speak about someone who has almost given up on their higher self. It’s off the Songs of Experience album and seems to speak to one who has been a bit more hardened by the cruel world.
And if the terrors of the night
Come creeping into your days
And the world comes stealing children from your room
Guard your innocence
And know that darkness always gathers around the light
There are negative thoughts in your mind. You don’t want them there but they show up. The world stealing children from your room (you/your construct) means that your innocence has been compromised. The lyrics ask that you guard it from things that aren’t there which you may think up and not want there (hallucinate); but know that there is a light right there that this dark drifts to. At the point of darkness in your life it’s normal to drift to the spiritual (light).
When the wind screams and shouts
And the sea is a dragon’s tail
And the ship that stole your heart away
When all you’ve left is leaving
And all you got is grieving
And all you know is needing
All these things will happen. Your heart will be broken, life is going to be hard, and we seem to only know through our physical self the perpetual never-ending material wants that can never be satisfied.
I know the world is done
But you don’t have to be
It’s to hard to fight the pull of the physical world so don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail, as the desires of the flesh will always be there. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up.
I’ve got a question for the child in you before it leaves
Are you tough enough to be kind?
Do you know your heart has its own mind?
Darkness gathers around the lights
Before giving up on the beauty and innocence you once had, know it’s tougher to be kind in a world that will always let you down. A child like heart will give you that strength to keep kind. The heart has a mind of it’s own and that “mind” has the right/kind answer every time.
This is my own loving/Esterina take on these two songs. I feel they speak of our own song with our souls or spirits within us. We just need to open up and listen. The answers and strength are all there in a never ending well.
‘Cause this is a song for someone like me.