By Anne McKee / Guest Columnist
The Meridian Star
Remember the Simon & Garfunkel tune? Yes, it was a big hit during the 1960s and its popularity continues even until today. I don’t suppose I “got it” at that time – the meaning of the lyrics.
Oh, I enjoyed the haunting and lyrical melody, but during that busy time of my life, the sounds of silence didn’t apply to my running here and there, nonstop, or so it seemed.
But now I get it (I think):
Sounds of Silence
(Paul Simon, 1964)
Hello darkness my old friend
I’ve come to talk to you again
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices
And no one dared disturb
The sound of silence.
The song was written six months after the death of President John Kennedy – a time of great turmoil and sadness for our nation. Many will remember this piece of music from the movie, The Graduate, and several additional movies as well. The song exhibits two part harmony that only Simon & Garfunkel could perform and the lyrics are written in such a way each person may reason their own interpretation.
I suppose the most accepted meaning is the power of communication, the need to come together and speak great thoughts people will really hear and apply to their individual lives, and then, act upon the words, focusing toward the needs of their fellow man.
The lyrics seem to bare one’s soul, oozing sadness, and at the same time, the song is considered prophetic by many – foreseeing the chaos of society and downfall of the traditional family unit as well as the 21st Century’s fetish of non-seeing and non-hearing the needs and pains of others. Those sentiments: It’s not my business. Apathy with a capital “A” – sad.
Sorry, didn’t mean to preach a sermon today, but as I mentioned earlier in this column, the lyrics of this much-loved song can apply to each life, each situation in today’s world, the future or the past as well.
In restless dreams I walk alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp.
Restless, walking alone, turning from the cold and damp – poignant and profoundly moving; the homeless, the hungry, children seeking their “forever family,” the elderly sitting alone, with only their memories, the heartbroken and the grief-stricken … heartsick and wretched. A world that sits by, but only considers, “what’s in it for me?”
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you.
Finally, the song offers a solution – a coming together of sorts, a comfort that all is not lost; the great hope of the world that humanism is still a good thing. Kindnesses and love are close “first cousins” – truly the great light of the world. God is love.
My take – maybe it’s because I’m an only child and lived my childhood in a neighborhood of old folks, or that my family is small; my love for silence is not a time of loneliness, but rather a time of creativity, meditation, planning and setting my priorities in order. For me, the sounds of silence are peaceful, not darkness, but rather a time of reasoning – thinking it through, celebrating life, family, my Lord and Savior. For me, it’s a good thing.
On this last Friday of the year 2013, allow me to wish you the sounds-of-silence, contemplate the New Year, revisit memories from the past that make you who you are today, but most importantly, give thanks for all things.
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her website: www.annemckee.net