Song Analysis “Prayer for the Dying” – Seal

Prayer for the Dying – Seal

Fearless people,
Careless needle.
Harsh words spoken,
And lives are broken.

[The careless needle may refer to a drug user or it may refer to a sloppy medical practitioner. The idea of hurtful words that ruin lives suggest a judge giving a sentence or a couple deciding to divorce each other]

Forceful ageing,
Help me I’m fading.
Heaven’s waiting,
It’s time to move on.

[Clearly the speaker is on his deathbed. These lines remind me of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” another song about dying. But though he’s asking for help, he seems to be at peace. He sees that death is a transition between two different kinds of existence.]

Crossing that bridge,
With lessons I’ve learned.
Playing with fire,
And not getting burned.

[I think Seal is talking about the bridge between life and death. But from an Islamic perspective, it sounds like the sirat, the needle-thin bridge between Heaven and Hell. It’s  interesting how he talks about using fire. We use dangerous things like fire and knives all the time. We don’t realize how dangerous these items are until they cause us pain.]

I may not know what
you’re going through.
But time is the space,
Between me and you.

[I could say something really deep here about how time and space are interconnected but I’ll spare you.]
Life carries on… it goes on.
Just say die,
And that would be pessimistic.
In your mind,
We can walk across water.

[Life truly does go on. Even the one man most beloved to Allah, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, died, and life continued. The part about walking on water alludes to Isa (Jesus), who performed many miracles. The Bible speaks of him walking on water (Mark 6:45-52) though the Quran does not. ]

Please don’t cry,
It’s just a prayer for the dying.
I just don’t know
what’s got into me.

[Seal is taking an Islamic perspective on death. He’s resisting the urge to cry and focusing on prayer. This is not to say that Muslims do not cry when people die. Of course they do. But Muslims prefer to deal with death spiritually rather than emotionally.]

Been crossin’ that bridge,
With lessons I’ve learned.
Playing with fire,
And not getting burned.
I may not know what
you’re going through,
But time is the space,
Between me and you.

There is a light through that window
Hold on say yes, while people say no
Life carries on
Ohh!
It goes on….oh-ee-oh,
whoa-ee-oh ho oh…

I’m crossing that bridge,
With lessons I’ve learned….
I’m playing with fire,
And not getting burned….
I may not know what
you’re going through.
But time is the space,
Between me and you.
There is a light
through that window.
Hold on say yes, while people say no
Cause life carries
on….oh-ee-oh,
whoa-ee-oh ho on…
It goes on….oh-ee-on,
It goes on.
Whoa.
Whoa.
Life carries on.
When nothing else matters.
When nothing else matters.

[Death is a reminder of the importance of the soul and the fragility of the body. When one dies, does it matter how much money one had, or how big one’s house was, or what kind of car one drove? ]

I just don’t know
what’s got into me.
It’s just a prayer for the dying.
For the dying.

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