Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Sound of Silence

Everyone has a favorite Simon & Garfunkel song. My mom's favorite is "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It doesn't matter who is singing it; she loves all versions.

I feel that way about Simon & Garfunkel's song, "The Sound of Silence." Whenever I visit quiet spots like this pond at the Smithsonian National Zoo, "The Sound of Silence" plays in my head. If silence was an actual sound, I imagine it would be similar to the melody of this song.

Besides its soothing, yet haunting melody, Paul Simon's lyrics have always spoken to my soul. Its words begs the question about our responsibility in silence. Are we the perpetrator of silence or its victim? Who is to say? As they say in the film, Shakespeare in Love: "I don't know. It's a mystery."
"The Sound of Silence"
by Simon & Garfunkel

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

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