Song Lyric Sunday: Cold – ‘I Am A Rock’

Helen’s latest Song Lyric Sunday prompt over at This Thing Called Life One Word At A Time was inspired by the weather. Well, it’s been a bit chilly over here in France for the past few days, and although we’ve missed the worst of it, yesterday’s -5°C was plenty cold enough for us, thank you very much.

However, while I can think of a few songs that deal specifically with cold temperatures (‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ for a start), I thought I’d take a more metaphorical angle on the theme and consider ‘cold’ as a state of mind.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘Some are born cold, some achieve coldness and others have coldness thrust upon them’. Paul Simon’s ‘I Am A Rock’ actually begins with an invocation of cold weather, but is quite clearly about a coldness of attitude rather than temperature. This seems to be a case of having coldness thrust upon him by bad experiences in love and friendship.

This is all pretty bleak in a tortured soul kind of way, but you can discern a positive message. Thus, while he asserts that ‘friendship causes pain’ and that ‘if I never loved I never would have cried’ the song ends with him pointing out that ‘a rock feels no pain and an island never cries’. So despite his assertions, in reality he isn’t a rock and he isn’t an island.

He’s just human, like the rest of us.

Or perhaps it was all just teenage angst and if he’d been born thirty years later he’d have been a Goth.

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress steep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Don’t talk of love,
Well I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
Songwriters: SIMON, PAUL
I Am A Rock lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group


Song Lyric Sunday


6 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Cold – ‘I Am A Rock’

  1. What a good choice for the theme of cold. It’s funny, I thought of Hazy Shade of Winter and completely glossed by this other “chilly” song from Simon & Garfunkel. I have long loved this song too.

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