"Old And Wise" as written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson....
As far as my eyes can see
There are Shadows approaching me
And to those I left behind
I wanted you to Know
You've always shared my deepest thoughts
You follow where I go

And oh when I'm old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn Winds will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they asked me if I knew you
I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine
And the sadness would be Lifted from my eyes
Oh when I'm old and wise

As far as my Eyes can see
There are shadows surrounding me
And to those I leave behind
I want you all to know
You've always Shared my darkest hours
I'll miss you when I go

And oh, when I'm old and wise
Heavy words that tossed and blew me
Like Autumn winds that will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that You were a friend of mine
As the final curtain falls before my eyes
Oh when I'm Old and wise

As far as my eyes can see


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"Old and Wise" as written by Eric Woolfson Alan Parsons

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Old And Wise song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentEven I, at twenty-one, am choked up by this song. It seems to me (as per my personal interpretation, of course) that he is not yet old and wise, and somewhat torn between contemplations of the finity of life and the pain of youth. The lines referring to the shadows approaching/surrounding him, are [obviously] a metaphor; it is his certainty that is enshadowed. As I'm still young, my future seems to stretch on almost infinitely. However, there will come a time when I am less certain of just how long I have left. What I can identify with personally, are the "bitter words" lines. The affections of certain others in my life are terribly important to me, and their words have the power to turn my world upside down. I can do my best to keep my sanity and my health, but I draw a great deal of my strength, from the future; hoping and telling myself that one day, things won't be so hard; one day I'll have the strength to handle this; one day simple words won't have such power over me. Sadly, this will probably not be the case; expecting to one day be immune to bitter words seems a fallacy; no matter how old or wise, I will always be human; but I can hope.
    Hraesvelgon October 18, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt makes you wonder how much fun Eric Woolfson is to be around, doesn't it? The dramatically sad tone of this song is matched by it's soaring orchestration and wistful oboe laying out the basic theme.

    Will the realization of our death (those of us who have the time to contemplate it), make us wise enough to say goodbye to everyone we know? Will we be sure to let them know how much we cared? Do we do that now? Maybe we should - you never know - you might not get the chance to live out this song...
    ctlizyrdon September 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe main theme is reconciliation/forgiveness. As he is slipping away he wants those around him to let go of their ill feelings towards each other and not take unresolved to their graves.
    (You follow where I go)

    He has forgiven them
    (Bitter words mean little to me...
    Autumn Winds will blow right through me)
    (Heavy words that tossed and blew me...
    Like Autumn winds that will blow right through me)
    (When they asked me if I knew you...
    I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine)

    He does hope they can forgive him.
    (When they ask you if you knew me...
    Remember that You were a friend of mine)

    The tone of the song is remorseful..... wishing he would have resolved this sooner.
    DukeOfAdvilon July 01, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI have my own interpretation of this song.

    I feel like this song is talking about a person who can his death nearing him far in the future. He is distressed because he lost contact with many of his good friends over time, and he says that they followed him wherever he went.

    Then he goes to say "When I'm old and wise" which I translate to - "When I'm ready to die". So, when he's ready to die, he will be immune to words and troubles, almost emotionless. However, "When they ask me if I knew you" - when he feels alone, he remembers his lost friends and smiles, showing emotion, lifting all his sadness away; no longer being sad, when he's ready to die.

    Then far in the future, all he can see is his death. And in this gloomy time, he will be missing his lost friends.

    And then, when he's ready to die, words that once affecting him greatly will lose all their meaning. And in this sadistic time, his only wish is for his lost friends to remember that they were once friends. Then he can finally surrender himself to death.
    OfekGilaon January 22, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHello all,

    I'm offering below what I think the author(s) of the song meant.
    I tried not to introduce personal extras, but is that possible anyway ?

    * Introduction: why ? / some context about me

    The sad side:
    An ex coworker died last yeas in a plane crash.
    My wife's mother also died last year.
    My godfather is dying of multiple cancers.
    There must be a reason why those events now remind me about this song.

    The good side: on top of that I've had troubles with neighbors which are calming down, but all those events actually taught me to enjoy life.

    Notice that I'm a fan of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
    This might have enlightened me or actually biased me, what do you think ?
    See at the end a link I make between this song and the book "The Little Prince".


    * My interpretation about the song, in one sentence.

    What's most important in life is friendship+relations.


    * My interpretation about the song, detailed

    > As far as my eyes can see
    > There are Shadows approaching me

    The author thinks about death approaching.
    The author is not necessarily old, thinking about certainty of death may happen at any age.

    > And to those I left behind
    > I wanted you to Know
    > You've always shared my deepest thoughts / You've always Shared my darkest hours

    The author keeps fond memories of friends, has a habit of thinking about them, especially in the most intimate thought (decisions ?) and in difficult times of life.

    > You follow where I go

    Even death will not dissolve relations, they extend between the people still living and the dead ones.

    > And oh when I'm old and wise

    This line may not be about actual age but metaphorical, see below.

    > Bitter words mean little to me / Heavy words that tossed and blew me

    Deeply thinking about death makes us realize how many things that hurt us actually aren't important.

    > Autumn Winds will blow right through me

    A metaphor of death: cold can flow through your body and that's no longer important.
    More poetically, after you realize what's important and what's not you don't care about things that come and go without important effects, like the wind.

    > And someday in the mist of time

    Not an actual moment in time. The previous lines describe a kind of permanent "frozen" state of the relation, like a museum of the past.
    Following lines describe the attitude that the author wants people to remember.

    > When they asked me if I knew you
    > I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine
    > And the sadness would be Lifted from my eyes

    This may be the core of the song: when you mentally represent an overview of your entire life, any sadness for any reason eventually disappears, what actually remains important is friends, relatives and the memory of friendship.

    > Oh when I'm old and wise

    May mean that the author is not there yet.

    (Then part of the song basically repeats the same except a few lines.)

    > When they ask you if you knew me
    > Remember that You were a friend of mine

    The persons are reversed here: in turn, the listener is invited to think about the author, making the link mutual, two-ways.

    > As the final curtain falls before my eyes

    Another metaphor of death. A curtain traditionally closes ("falls") at the very end of a theater play.


    * Back to the Little Prince

    Notice that if you put aside the idea of death, the remaining message matches the message from the fox to the Little Prince:

    > "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

    I hope you enjoyed this interpretation.
    I'd like to know if you agree, disagree, think about some refinement.

    Life timespan is limited. Go out, smile to the people, take occasions to live emotional moments with friends and relatives, be honest and true to them, forgive imperfections. Memories of those moments will be kept and shared in your hearts forever.

    Cheers!
    GLittlePrinceon March 26, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentloves it
    BL4VALon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsad.. as i'm fully aware that i'm slowly transforming to be an older person.. (but not necessarily wiser)
    sinnedon September 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOH Ladyhawke... This song reminds me of that score.
    tdamcbigityon May 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a truly beautiful song about growing old and dying.
    inpraiseoffollyon May 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me
    seeing what is ahead from a view, there are worse (or different) things to come (shadows). Telling people the affect on hurtful things they passed on and did and (they???) see where you go.
    When i age crying young years mean nothing to me, older years will be a breeze :) i will smile and see some as friends (or enemies) as a benefit to me. Because of this i can smile and the pain will rise (meaning go).
    People around me studying me, forever. all i left behind i know it was the the dark time i went through and that is all will view me through. Miss because i have bright times ahead.
    Very hard words only put me of course and affected me during - but strength overcame (Soul).
    feeling as if i should sacrifice all for those gone before that, i should speak my mind.
    waddingtonphilipon January 18, 2008   Link

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