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Paul Simon The Boxer Lyrics

Last updated: 10/27/2014 09:32:40 AM

I am just a poor boy.
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.

When I left my home
And my family,
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station,
Running scared,
Laying low,
Seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go,
Looking for the places
Only they would know.


Asking only workman's wages
I come looking for a job,
But I get no offers,
Just a come-on from the whores
On Seventh Avenue
I do declare,
There were times when I was so
I took some comfort there.


Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone,
Going home
Where the New York City winters
Aren't bleeding me,
Leading me,
Going home.

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains


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The Boxer Lyrics | Reviewer: Mary-Christos | 10/27/14

One of the best songs ever written. I believe the boxer quits but his spirit is not broken. He would live to fight another day.
The refrain, if I remember from the original album back cover, was: Lai la la la - lai la la - lai la la - lai la la la - lai la la la - la la Lai

The story of almost everyone's life | Reviewer: Puku | 8/12/14

Well, I think that there is no actual boxer at all. The young kid, who runs away to NYC to seek his fortune and gets to know all about life is the theme.
At the end we have the boxing metaphor, because like a boxer who carries all the scars with him and can never forget them, the man-which the boy-has now become, has experienced events in his life in NYC, which he can never forget, wherever he goes. At every instance, when life was hard, the boy wanted to go home but he never did because he knew that the solutions were never there in his home, nor will they ever be. Each of us has to chart our own way in life and accept what we get. There are no second chances. Truly, prolific lyrics

on Charlie Stone's note | Reviewer: arthur hyde | 8/31/13

Said perfectly. My Father boxed professionally in the old days; Florida, Havana. Could have gone all the way to New York but opted to become Unlimited Master Sea Captain. I boxed golden gloves later, had other fights. He and I never lost. I was an accomplished pro musician, sax, too, since a kid. I am a Psychologist now for forty years. Worst part is, I still love boxing. Cage-fighting is an abomination. Your analysis of the song is right. It is, finally, about Life. The song has haunted me for years. Love all those kids boxing, too. Thanks for your analysis. Beautiful. Gave credit to that composition.

rage against the machine | Reviewer: charlie stone | 4/5/13

I've been listening to this song and had to memorize it. Right up there with Mrs Robinson as one of Paul Simon's best. Paul has the ability to express the unspoken inner groanings of Man in both words and music. In my opinion, each verse has "LIE" placed strategically. In the Single version released to the public, the word "LIE" follows only certain "politically incorrect" parts. But when I sing it, I will put it after each major thought: "still a man hears what he wants to hear, but disregards the rest: LIE, LIE, LIE, LIE-LA-LIE." ....."There were times I was so lonesome that I took some comfort there: LIE-LA-LIE, LIE, LIE, LIE, LIE LIE"......"I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fight in me remains: LIE, LIE, LIE....LIE LA LIE.". We'll take the attractive lie over the unfortunate truth every time. That's the human dilemma. LIE: the lowly quarters where the ragged people go are somehow special. LIE: I used whores to gratify lust because I was LONELY! LIE: "I am leaving but the fight in me remains."
Like extracts a cost from us, and we leave it pretty-well spent, but WISER, and even at peace, with a little luck.

Surviving/thriving | Reviewer: maya | 3/30/12

I wasn't aware of the additional lyrics and they add a missing dimension for me. "After changes we are more or less the same". We endure, we maintain. The song is a tribute to endurance and survival...but, perhaps it is more.
The final verse has always been what moves me and it is the most easily relatable to anyone's life. I see it as a comfort; after everything we remain, we survive. I also see it as a challenge we survive but perhaps we don't thrive, overcome. Endurance, survival... is it the same as succeeding, thriving?

I heard Alan Friebell speak the other night and he mentioned how he used the lyrics of The Boxer for an assignment in an English class and the professor asked him to read "his" poem to the class. After the first couple of verses at the point where the refrain "Lie-la-lie" comes in, the class all chimed in with the refrain now knowing that "his" poem was just that - a lie.

DIfferent point of view | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/8/11

I see this song as the tale of a boy who struggles, becomes a man and learns to fight for himself. The last verse is about the boy before and the boy after. The boxer is the boy before he left for NYC - full of training, ambition, desire - but has been cut down and knocked down. He wants to leave. But the fighter is the man he has become - a survivor. The boxer leaves, but the fighter remains. He has become a man who can stand on his own.

The missing verse | Reviewer: Andrew from PA | 6/13/11

Most of you reading this probably already know, but it's good to listen to the live versions of the song (aside from just the bridge over troubled water version) which includes another verse after the "workman's wages" verse.

"Now the years are rolling by me
They are rockin' evenly
I am older than I once was
And younger than I'll be and that's not unusual.
No it isn't strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same"

In the clearing stands a boxer,And a fighter by his trade | Reviewer: jymaceda | 6/7/11

yes.... this monumental song totally describe how the poor boy and not the poor boy but the fact that all the man in the village who have no idea on how the life is going but the only way that they only thought to fight inorder to suvive.....

THE BOXER - STILL STANDING | Reviewer: george bedula | 11/30/10

paul's song of endurance. the boxer, metaphor for everyman - bloodied, he seeks revenge whenever the bell rings. the boxer had a plan, long forgotten, to retire to that little village..but, as lennon says, life happened. it's not what he wanted, but he did his best - can you say the same?

Simon fan | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/12/10

As a boy growing up in the Caribbean Bequia, SVG I was fascinated with the way in which this song could represent not only a young man in NYC but also be the same of any poor boy in this region who goes out into the world unprepared, is knocked down, and has the guts and strength to insist on rising and fighting again. A great song.

A classic lyric | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/18/10

This lyric, like that to "I Am a Rock" is on the short list of the greatest rock/pop lyrics of all time.

Odd, though... in the way that people sometimes mishear lyrics, I always had heard the line "All lies and jest" as "All eyes and chest"-- which would be a poignant way to describe a young man suited for boxing. The correct lyric is rather more rueful and dark.

Every glove that laid him down..... | Reviewer: Timbo | 8/16/10

This is a song about loneliness and isolation. A young man who lives among the whores on seventh Avenue who takes comfort there but can forge no real relationships. He is alone in this song.

The last verse is an attempt at escape, but wherever he goes, there he will be. He cnnot be shed of who he is, who he has become:

"I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains"

Every glove that laid him down..... | Reviewer: Timbo | 8/16/10

This is a song about loneliness and isolation. A young man who lives among the whores on seventh Avenue who takes comfort there but can forge no real relationships. He is alone in this song.

The last verse is an attempt at escape, but wherever he goes, there he will be. He cnnot be shed of who he is, who he has become:

"I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains"

written as Man reached the Moon | Reviewer: Bill in LA | 6/10/10

The song is totally monumental and a sweeping portrayal of every person who has ever gotten up after a beat-down, which should be everybody even if you don't live in NYC. The guitarist especially heard at the end is Fred Carter, Jr., on the wikipedia site for The_Boxer he says this is the greatest song he ever heard. As we reached the summit of man's exploration at the end of 1968 into 1969 when we made it to the moon, is when this legendary masterpiece came out and that is no coincidence. I'd love to make the video of it someday, where an angry young man punches the wall, or the punching bag, or something every time you hear "lie-li-lie - boom" in the song.