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Paul Simon – I Am A Rock lyrics
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 deep 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,
But 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.

Lyrics taken from /lyrics/p/paul_simon/i_am_a_rock.html

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Corrected by Jay Merrifield

I Am A Rock meanings

  • U
    + 2
    I loved this song as a teenager but never really understood the lyrics until much later in life when I a love affair ended. For a year I withdrew from the world, couldn't talk to anyone. For me that line "if i never loved i never would have cried" is so perceptive.
    But this song for me is about depression, about loneliness and total despair and we just know that he does feel intense pain, and that he does cry and that only with support and friendship will he recover.
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  • j
    + 2
    Clearly (To me) there are 2 ways of looking at this. I strongly empathise with the sentiment of the song. Shalom is right about the hurt.
    If there is no contact with the outside world then there is a lessening of the pain (& no, I don't mind my screenname being on this, this is who I am) By the same token it has to be accepted, as poet John Donne said many, many years ago, 'no man is an island. ' & the song is not actually factually accurate or indeed practicable. Indeed I suppose that what I am doing, reaching out into the Internet, here & now, is an act of communication simply unimagined when the song was written.
    A beautiful song. A Great song.
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  • U
    This song isn't probably intentionally about this, but I'm thinking asperger's syndrome. For those of you who don't know, it's a form of high-functioning autism. A lot of people havn't heard of it, because a kid with asperger's syndrome dosn't appear to be autistic unless you really know what autism is. So most people don't realize their disabled, and they're often not diagnosed untill late in their elementary school carrer. Basically, asperger's syndrom is all the people who as kids were(or are) labled as 'weird' and shoved aside by everyone else.
    Kids on the autism spectrum are unable to pick up on social cues that are natural instinct to everyone else. (i. E facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, ect.) I know there are 'normal' people who can't do that, but an autistic person is significantly impared in this area. So socializing is difficult, making friends often ends with tears. "if i never loved i never would have cried. "
    Sometimes they appear to be stoic and hard, with little emotion or care to interact with others, mostly because they are rarely succesful at doing so, and just end up frusterated and hurt. Thus, "i am a rock.
    Kids with autism/asperger's sometimes tend to isolate themselves in thier own little world to avoid the frustration and confusion of the rest of the world. Thus, "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. "
    This one is what really got me thinking about this song as autism/asperger's. It is somewhat literal: people with autism/asperger's are known to have abnormal facinations on specific topics, and spend abnormal amounts of time hidden in thier room reaserching them. Often, though they want friends, they simply cannot make them, and instead lose themselves in their own little world by absorbing themselves in books, or poetry, or reaserch.
    "i touch no one and no one touches me. "
    This one is also a huge indicator of my theory, (if you take it literally): kids with asperger's/autism often find serious discomfert in being touched by others. Even little things like a pat on the back, or when someone brushes against them in a busy hallway.
    "it's laughter and loving i distain. "
    Laughter, because the other kids are usually laughing at him/her for being awkward. Loving because other kids can seem to love accept eachother, but not him/her.
    The song probably isn't actually about asperger's syndrome, because the disorder hasn't gained much momentum untill recently, (1 in 110 kids have and autism specrum disorder. Just ten years ago, it was like 1 in 100, and thirty years ago it was 1 in 2500 or something like that.)so the wave of asperger's kids wasn't really around at that time. At the time, they were just the socially isolated weirdos, or the obnoxious weirdos, or the clumsy awkward kids. So at the time, it was probably intended to be about people who have been isolated by their peers, ie loners and nerds who in most cases are really people on the autism spectrum. I don't think a lot of people realize this, though.
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    • U
      + 2
      I loved this song as a teenager but never really understood the lyrics until much later in life... Read more →
    • j
      + 2
      Clearly (To me) there are 2 ways of looking at this. I strongly empathise with the sentiment of the... Read more →

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