I Am a Rock Lyrics - Simon and Garfunkel
Review The Song (19)
A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
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,
Well, I've heard the word 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.
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I am an Island. | Reviewer: Storm | 3/2/13
This is a poem where the narrator is trying to hide from the pains of life. He has been
wounded in love and feels that by shielding himself in the armor of isolation he might protect
his heart from breaking again. Paul Simon uses a clever devise in creating this poem (lyric).He
takes a line from a very famous poem,”No Man Is An Island” by John Donne, and reverses its
In Donne's poem, he laments the loss of any human being as diminishing humanity. He
writes,” I am involved in mankind”. Simon's character feels that by detaching himself he rises
above his own involvement in life. He feels that by isolating he is better off.
The poem begins with the first two lines establishing a tone that remains throughout the
poem. It's not just a winters day in December, but it's deep and dark;foreboding. He establishes
not only is he alone, but this is through his own choosing. He looks at his decision as a
creation-”a Fortress Deep and Mighty” that he feels safe in. Safe enough to look out at a
“silent shroud of snow”.
He speaks of a disdain for friendship or for any outside contact when he states “I touch no
one and no-one touches me”. All the positive things in life, “laughter and loving” he wants no
further involvement with. He is trying to convince himself that his preparations are
impenetrable. He fears he may be wrong. This uneasiness is not spoken but the way it's related
in the way the song is formed it's felt. .
It's ironic that part of his emotional “bomb shelter” if you will, consist of his “books and
poetry”, these being two mainstays of mankind. Poetry is designed to provoke
which is exactly what our narrator is hiding from. He speaks of love as a thing separate from
his existence. When he speaks of not wanting to “disturb its slumber” and having cried
because of love, he is exposing himself as fearful. He is truly afraid of feeling pain again.
At the end,when our narrator laments that “a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries”,it's
as though he envies those qualities. He creates in us a Pathos, because we all have felt, at one
time or another, the same way. No matter how hard we try, we cannot extricate ourselves from
the human experience. What we need aren't walls:what we need to learn is pain is part of
being alive. The true test of being Human is being able to feel,the ecstatic and the painful.
When we lose touch with that then truly, part of us dies.
“ So Send not to find,
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”
I tried to pretend that I was a rock. | Reviewer: John E. | 12/10/12
When I was a teenager I could have written this song, if I had had more talent. I was terribly afraid of girls, and terribly infatuated with a few of them. It scared me half to death to ask for a date. If I was turned down I retreated to my fortress, badly wounded, and pretending that I felt nothing.
About Asperger's syndrome | Reviewer: Shoshana | 12/3/12
This song is one of the best descriptions of the Asperger's syndrome ever written. This is exactly how I do feel inside.
Aspergers are loners, and they usually even like it. December is the darkest and coldest of the month at the Northern hemisphere, but I do like the darkness and I enjoy sitting at window and watching the snowflakes falling: the darkness and the whiteness of the snow make a nice contrast.
Aspergers simply see the world in different way normal people do. They have it difficult to befriend with people; and attempts to make friends usually end up in catastrophe. The laughter of friendship is the mischievous and malevolent laughter of the neurotypicals on Aspergers on their awkward attempts to make friends, and Aspergers do not relate to love in the same way the neurotypicals do. It is therefore better to be alone than be hurt - again and again.
"I touch no one and no one touches me". Bingo. I absolutely HATE being touched; it irritates me and makes me angry.
I have managed to mess up all my human relations and also my love affairs. Therefore I have chosen to be alone, in solitude. It is lesser pain than another failure. I can well relate to Paul Simon's lyrics. Those relations of my past are like open sores with optional salt rubbed on. "If I never loved I never would have cried". My feelings exactly.
And yes, I do have my books and poetry to protect me and to provide me intellectual satisfaction. I rather live in the virtual world of intellect rather than in the 3D where I only get hurt.
No one is an island, but many of us are peninsulas.
paul is the rock | Reviewer: barbara | 11/4/12
Though small in stature he is great in words. And no one can touch him because he is as hard and stedfast as a rock. A stone can feel no pain. Paul is a musical genius and noone can touch this masterpeice he has created for himself.What a great gift this man was born with.
All feel like hiding away at some point in life | Reviewer: Eva | 7/31/12
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow--wow, powerful. A shroud is the garment for the dead. He needs to feel the cold stillness of death; then he will not feel...A rock feels no pain and an Island never cries, he knows because he is not a rock and not an island. He has felt pain, and cried.
mocking? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/30/11
The narrator is mocking himself. He decides to isolate himself after an emotional pain, denying the knowledge that the pain has already happened. The narrator mocks himself, since he knows he can't be alone forever, even though he feels like it's all he wants. It's ego mocking id.
Isolation out of fear | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/10/11
I'm not sure why a few people here think there's a mocking tone about the song. The narrator (the 'I') is simply recognizing that they have been hurt and they'd rather isolate themself than feel pain again. A rock becomes hard and stubborn, and an island is isolated. His room of books and poetry is a safe place; they are his company as he has steeled himself against reaching out to others, e.g. falling in love again, and taking risks.
Paul Simon is a poet - so many great lyrics. S&G wrote beautiful songs.
LIfe, love ...loneliness | Reviewer: Anonymous | 5/14/10
This song is the quintessential song for anyone who has been kicked by relationships, one after another and by family, CLOSE family, by friends who didn't even realize they were doing it.
I write a bit of prose and this is one poem (that's what it is) I wish I had written.
I am a rock!
I wished I was a rock | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/16/09
Yes, the last 2 lines are irony, in the futility of attempting to insulate oneself from the world and the pain inflicted by others, the betrayal of supposed friends, walling oneself away, and finding that loneliness is nearly as bad as people. And one cries.
I am a Rock | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/10/09
One of my favorite S+G songs. The words in the opening - "A winter's day. In a deep and dark December; I am alone, Gazing from my window to the streets below. On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow" shows that Paul Simon is a masterful poet who trys to paint an image of loneliness.
I Am a Rock | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/6/09
It honestly never occurred to me that this was supposed to be taken seriously. The sadness in his voice in the last part of the song makes it seem pretty obvious that it's mocking the point of view expressed earlier in the song, at least to me. Think what you want.
I Am A Rock myself with walls beyond reach | Reviewer: Woodsman | 12/31/07
When you have been kicked down spat upon enough by friends and family the only way out is going alone. A rock feels no pain therefore it won't crack. An Island never Dies it is surrounded and protected by a moat of water therefore cannot be penetrated to be hurt.
contradiction | Reviewer: shay | 12/10/07
this song has a good meaning, but at the same time i can tell it's mocking people who think they can be alone forever. the way its written the narrator mostly just sounds mad. i can relate to it a lot.
Words for the deeply wounded to live by | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/7/07
I have related to and identified with the amazingly poignant and painful lyrics since I first heard this song, probably in the early 1970's. Although sad, this song has provided me not only with words that articulated pain I could not personally express openly, but they gave me the strength to cope with pain that would have perhaps been unbearable otherwise. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel wrote and performed music that touched the soul in a deep and profound way. Their music is a gift for us all.
Self Actualization | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/13/07
The song sounds like a song of a loner who was deeply hurt by love and friendship - 2 important needs that human beings should have. However, if we look deeper into the total effect of the song, for me, it encapsulates what we should be - especially in relationships.
We have to be a rock and an island to be able to sustain and maintain a healthy, peaceful and lasting relationship. For like a rock, we shouldn't feel the pain... pain comes only when we fear about losing our partner. But then, we shouldn't have any fear at all because life is dynamic, changes happen for good. Sometimes, we just couldn't see the benefit, but in the long run, we will realize that we were lucky to be freed from such a relationship.
While in a relationship, we should be like an island, too. Not dependent on our partner, no expectations, no demands - meaning, we will welcome what our partner gives and shares but if nothing comes our way, we should just be contented with what we get.
Fear of losing, dependency, expectations and demands are the major causes of failure in any relationship, thus, only when we become a rock and an island that we can really be a perfect partner to someone. For a rock and an island are free from fear, pain, dependency, expectations and demands...
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