Sunday, October 11, 2015

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, Part 2

Continuing a look at the songs on the Simon & Garfunkel album:

____________________

The Dangling Conversation

Hear it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nntOYUODSV0

Lyrics:
It’s a still-life watercolor
Of a now late afternoon
As the sun shines through the curtain lace
And shadows wash the room
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
The borders of our lives

And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost
And we note our places with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme
In syncopated time
And the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
Are the borders of our lives

Yes,we speak of thing that matter
With words that must be said
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theatre really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow
I cannot feel your hand
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
In the borders of our lives

Comments:
  • The lyrics, about failed communication between lovers (symbolised by the differences in the poetry they read – she reads Emily Dickinson, he reads Robert Frost), are quite poetic.
  • Some commentator’s words from online forums: 
“The slow disintegration of a relationship... but neither knows how to step up and say anything, but both know it's happening. Each seems to be too deeply withdrawn into his and her own worlds to reach out to the other.”

“...they note their place with book-markers that measure what they've lost. As they've spent their time in this suspended form of communication and the time they've wasted is measured in pages turned. “
  • The song started life as a single, being the B side of The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine. It didn’t do well and was added to the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme album.
  • Joan Baez included a cover of the song on her 1967 Joan album. She changed one of the lines to "Is the church really dead?" and Simon insisted that a line be inserted on the album's back cover that read: "Paul Simon asks Joan to note that the original line is, 'Is the theatre really dead?'"
____________________

Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall

Hear it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fd-DvSTBq1o

Lyrics:

If you thought the lyrics for The Dangling Conversation were difficult, grapple with these:

Through the corridors of sleep
Past the shadows dark and deep
My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
I don't know what is real,
I can't touch what I feel
And I hide behind the shield of my illusion.
So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall.
The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right

And I wander in the night without direction.
So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall.
It's no matter if you're born
To play the King or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.
So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall

Comments:
  • The singer is grappling with paradoxes:
        What is real and what is not real?
        What is illusion and what is not?
        Is life worth anything or nothing?
        Will he die or will he continue to pretend that he won’t?
        Whether you are born to greatness or not, is it all meaningless?
  • It appears that the singer is beset by depression and a sense of isolation, uncertainty and confusion.
  • Nonetheless he remains positive: “I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.”





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