Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “Silver Palomino” (2005)

The idea of the human spirit is one of those charged concepts, with it meaning different things to different people. For some there’s an afterlife that we inhabit. For others, the spirit of those who have left the earth is less of a ghostly being and more of a set of trailing influences: I see the spirit of my own mother every day in my enthusiasm for certain things and the way I react in many situations.

As a tribute to a neighbor who passed away at a young age, leaving two sons behind, Springsteen writes “Silver Palomino.” The story of the boy’s mother coming back as a palomino that emerges from the mountains is both tender and affecting. As Bruce was well aware, those boys would have many moments in their future during which they’d stop to ponder their mother and her spirit.

This was a nice gesture for those boys, who will come to know that in some ways, their mother will always be with them.

Up next: Jesus Was An Only Son

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to, and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at