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   >> Interpretation
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Adam
(cricket menace)
02/10/09 01:38 AM
Heathen [re: ]  

Footprints in the Sand, is a popular allegorical text written in prose.


There are three different versions of the poem and while critics have debated the literary merits of the piece, it has been enormously popular worldwide, especially among Christians.


The text describes a dream, in which the person is walking on a beach with God (in some versions, specifically identified as Jesus. They leave two sets of footprints in the sand behind them.





Looking back, the tracks are stated to represent various stages of this person's life. At some points the two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the character's life.





When the person questions God about this, believing that God must have abandoned his follower during those times, God gives the explanation: 'During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you'





The photo above seems to be a spin on the famous St. Joseph carrying Jesus artwork ... and at the same time, a reference back to 'footprints in the sand' lyric from I Would Be Your Slave.


In the Bowie photo, the Christ (child) is carried by the heathen man / religious questioner.


This takes place on the difficult sands, the difficult times, because that is when people need their faith then most.


The poem says that God carries the person in these times.


But the heathen feels that he - as a species - is the creator of Jesus/God ... not the other way around as religion has it.


So God must rest on his shoulder, not the other way around.


Interestingly, God looks back - he sees something else on the horizon!





Bowie Downunder

Adam
(cricket menace)
02/10/09 01:40 AM
Re: Heathen new [re: Adam]  

The album is ingeniously written because it never sounds too heavy handed about faith and religion ... yet almost every song can draw numerous references (even in 'Cactus'!) if we so desire.


Bowie imbues the songs with a vocabulary and intimacy we are only familiar with in non-religious contexts. A smart move considering the proliferation of Christian rock or on the other side of the coin, devil worshiping heavy metal ... both as horribly cliched as it gets.


A near masterpiece ... but a shame the theme got a bit lost in a couple of unnecessary covers.



Bowie Downunder

Quills
(wild eyed peoploid)
02/10/09 06:19 AM
Re: Heathen new [re: Adam]  

Wonderful thread and so very true.

I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.


ghostlove
(cracked actor)
02/10/09 11:19 PM
So lonely new [re: Adam]  

Very good criticism on a great album. I think his recurrent theme of longing and lonesomeness are very apparent also in Heathen.

The covers are cool, IMO, and even if he didn't write the songs, he makes them his own. While people deride "I've Been Waiting For You", I find an appreciation in its sound and meaning and it's always fun to see his grungy side once in a while.



Chinchilla
(kook)
02/11/09 02:49 AM
Re: Heathen new [re: Adam]  

Good post Adam. Similar to my own thoughts that I posted on Bowiezone a while ago regarding the lyrics to I Would Be Your Slave, which I will reproduce for you here:

http://bowiezone.proboards46.com/index.cgi?board=bowietalk&action=display&thread=7699&page=1#75408


The song from Heathen, "I Would Be Your Slave" sounds like a wonderful romantic song about someone who wants to love another person wholeheartedly if they'd only open up to him.

Who is this other person? I suggest it is God. Now bear with me :D:

Here is what I hear in these lyrics:

Let me understand
Drifting down a silent path
Stumbling over land
Open up your heart to me
Show me who you are
And I would be your slave


He wants to understand that there is more to life, that there is something bigger binding us all, because he feels like he's starting to not believe anymore, so he's asking God to let him know he/she exists and if he/she does show him, then he'll devote himself to God.

I bet you laugh out loud at me
A chance to strike me down
Give me peace of mind at last
Show me all you are
Open up your heart to me
I would be your slave


He feels God must be mocking him for his attempts to find answers, perhaps he feels God dissaproves of him sometimes, but all he wants is peace of mind that there is something more and if shown he'll devote himself.

Now this bit is for me the most telling:

I don't sit and wait
I don't give a damn
I don't see the point at all
No footsteps in the sand


He's giving up. What's the point in searching and waiting for God to show him/herself. He's not found any evidence in his long quest for spiritual peace, he's not found any reason to believe God walks with him.
The line Footsteps In The Sand is actually a very famous poem about God walking with his believers in times of need. http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php
This is why I think the song is about Bowie's or narrators longing to believe, to have God show something to him. Once that's done then:

I would give you all my love
Nothing else is free
Open up your heart to me
And I would be your slave






MaxwellS
(wild eyed peoploid)
03/09/09 07:39 AM
Re: Heathen new [re: Adam]  

You say the Christ is a child. yet you also claims "he" is God looking back. That invokes a certain creation myth. I'm not entirely sure you;re serious, but don't you think David is also walking on water?

all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars


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