Wednesday, March 14, 2018

“Like a poem poorly written
we are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme
In syncopated time

And the dangling conversation
and the superficial sighs
are the borders of our lives

Yes, we speak of things that matter
with words that must be said
can analysis be worthwhile?

Is the theatre really dead?”

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

SO THERE moi was one rainy afternoon sitting in my favorite corner chair in Starbucks sipping a lovely cup of “Americano” watching people, the world go by, some harmlessly flirting with the pretty baristas with this song as the soundtrack in my iPhone.

Suddenly the line “and we sit and drink our coffee couched in our indifference” proved to be appropriate, hence this revisit.

These lines are from probably one of the most “un-pop” songs of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, “The Dangling Conversation.” It’s also one of my favorites, the other one being “Kathy’s Song” as both songs relate a great deal to this old fool’s life.

I know most of you guys have probably never heard of this song, specifically those who fancy themselves as “millennials.” In all likelihood they wouldn’t recognize Simon & Garfunkel from a fig tree.

Really, who cares if these so-called millennials have poor taste or lack knowledge in art and music? After all, they listen to Beyonce who, according to multi-Grammy awardee singer-songwriter Carlos Santana, is not a singer. Gone are the days when music earns its merits because it is good music and not by the stage and visual effects.

Remember Madonna with all her outlandish costumes and lavish, spectacular stage productions? Have you ever listened to her just sing? Plainly she’s not a singer, to quote Carlos Santana.

And Lady Gaga is indeed “gaga.” Really, if you want to watch a freak show go to the carnival and that, folks, is not music.

So what is the “Dangling Conversation”?

According to that free encyclopedia aka “the internet”:

“The Dangling Conversation” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released in September 1966 as the second single from the duo’s third studio albumParsley Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)

The theme is failed communication between lovers. The song starts in a room washed by shadows from the sun slanting through the lace curtains and ends with the room “softly faded.” They are as different as the poets they read: Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.”

And from /

“The music in The Dangling Conversation is rather simple and quiet, but the lyrics expose Simon & Garfunkel’s creative genius. This song tells the story of two people falling out of love. There is an important conversation to have that neither person is willing to bring up, nor so it becomes “the dangling conversation” that rips them apart”

Here are the rest of the song’s lyrics so you can appreciate the subtle message;

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theatre really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.”

“The lines “and the superficial sighs/ the borders of our lives” repeat throughout the song. Through these words, the listener can easily see two lovers sitting in the same room…no speaking, only the occasional unnoticed sigh. These sighs are superficial because they convey no meaning to the other person. Whereas a lover in a thriving relationship would hear his or her partner sigh and ask what was wrong, these lovers simply ignore the sighs and accept them as the “border.” Neither lover asks what is wrong because they both know. They refuse to talk about the “dangling conversation,” and so accept the occasional sigh as the limit.”

And that is why this sentimental old fool can really relate to this song having experienced the message the song is telling the audience. (


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