Musical Introspection

I was sitting alone in a café in Amsterdam when I first really noticed the lyrics to Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall’. The lines that initially struck me were

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end

I know that a year before these words would not have had the same power for me, and I would have hummed along to the catchy tune without really paying attention to the meaning held within it. Mortality quite simply didn’t hold the same significance for me before I found it staring me in the face inside my mother’s coffin, and experienced the reality of how swiftly and unexpectedly our lives can slip away. I have always seen my mother as a mirror in so many ways – an older self, a self I wanted to grow towards, a self that I could be. I realise now how much I in fact saw myself in that coffin.

The entire song is powerful poetry, but the next lyrics to strike deep were

For the line is thinly drawn ‘tween joy and sorrow.’

Oh! How perfectly that captured the tumultuous previous months, where I had experienced the deepest sorrow and most intense joy, unlikely but seemingly natural bed-fellows, each enhancing the other.

The final line that stood out for me, and I will hang on to for strength when needed, is:

And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow. ‘

Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall

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.

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10 thoughts on “Musical Introspection

  1. I love music, and the lyrics of songs, sometimes just a line or two, remind me of someone. On the way to my grandfather’s funeral, my brother put in a CD from a group I’d never heard before – Billy Bragg & Wilco. From that day on, everytime I listen to the song “One By One” I think of my grandfather…”One by one my dreams are fading in the twilight.” My grandfather was the first person I lost who I’d been really close to. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Kathy, thanks so much for sharing that experience, and introducing me to this lovely song. I am sorry to hear of the death of your Grandfather, which I know from your blog was many years ago but a painful loss. I actually only heard of Billy Bragg for the first time last month, when I heard ‘Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMBvzpCLGHg) on a film and fell in love with it. Hugs.

  2. You write so movingly about your mother, and she almost seems to live on in your words. This thought filled me as I read the lyrics. Moving indeed. More than that but you know what I mean

  3. I know that there are…mainly religious…traditions that emphasize how we must live to die, but I think
    ‘‘So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
    My life will never end’
    is perhaps a philosophy that actually promotes the living of a better life , in respect of ourselves and others. Especially because of ‘how swiftly and unexpectedly our lives can slip away.’ The thing you hear so often is how difficult it is to see someone dying for a long time, through a long-suffering disease. And though sudden death is such a blow to those left behind, there is some consolation that they were embracing their life right up to the moment as though it would ‘never end.’ So, perhaps Simon & Garfunkel got it ‘right’, that we should live as though tomorrow WILL come.

    I love the title of this, by the way. Music (and poetry, of course!)–especially how we experience it in the most personal way–can reach into our hearts and souls and move and heal us as we need.

    Blessings! Love and hugs, Diane

    1. Ah, your hugs are always so welcome Diane, especially as they generally accompany your wonderful insights. Your perspective on this is very interesting to me, as I have tended towards feeling that we live life more fully knowing it could just disappear, as it encourages us to make the most of every minute as if it were our last. But I suppose that it is holding the two in perfect balance that is the ideal, because we still plan and hope for a future, and don’t let death overshadow a moment of our joy! Thank you for helping me look at the world from new angles 🙂

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