"Duncan" as written by and Paul Simon....
Couple in the next room bound to win a prize
They've been going at it all night long
Well, I'm tryin' to get some sleep
But these motel walls are cheap
Lincoln Duncan is my name
And here's my song, here's my song

My father was a fisherman
My mama was a fisherman's friend
And I was born in the boredom and the chowder
So when I reached my prime
I left my home in the Maritimes
Headed down the turnpike for New England, sweet New England

Holes in my confidence
Holes in the knees of my jeans
I was left without a penny in my pocket
Ooh-oowee, I was about as destituted as a kid could be
And I wished I wore a ring so I could hock it
I'd like to hock it

A young girl in a parkin' lot
Was preaching to a crowd
Singing sacred songs and reading from the Bible
Well, I told her I was lost
And she told all about the Pentecost
And I seen that girl as the road to my survival

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know

Just later on the very same night
When I crept to her tent with a flashlight
And my long years of innocence ended
Well, she took me to the woods
Sayin' "Here comes something, and it feels so good!"
And just like a dog I was befriended, I was befriended

Oh, oh, what a night
Oh, what a garden of delight
Even now that sweet memory lingers
I was playing my guitar
Lyin' underneath the stars
Just thankin' the Lord
For my fingers
For my fingers

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know

Lyrics submitted by geologist_nightmare

"Duncan" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Duncan song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis is one of those songs I feel a real closeness to. Theme song or whatever. A coming of age tale that somehow fits with how my life spread itself out. Oh, music!

    The lines about wanting a ring to hock reminds me of those relationships you have that, while not solidified by marriage or anything, when they fall apart, you wish you had a wedding ring you could hock just to make a statement that you're ready to move on.

    As for the last verse, yum. One of my favorite in any song. The bit about thanking god for his fingers, I love that. How clever!! Thankful both for his talent with the guitar as an escape, and for providing some great memories of playing something else...heh. :P

    Also, it's amusing to me that this song was submitted on my birthday.
    delialon March 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat did you think it meant, given the preceding verses?
    ShineYouDiamondon November 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Just thankin' the Lord for my fingers
    for my fingers"

    Bit of a double entendre?
    skunkbythebrookon March 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmmm never really thought about that before...hmm
    attila_carnakion April 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmaybe one of the greatest songs ever written. everyone should hear it at least once in their life.
    kellyisadickslapon May 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCould be a simple longing for 'love' / 'finding love' song. Believe me, that's the country life for ya.

    But, it would also make a great bio-song. We just need a part ii, part iii, etc.
    OoOsublimeOoOon October 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song reminds me of el condor pasa. is that just me?
    Richie45069on November 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSeriously, am I the only one who thinks this song is about losing his virginity? I mean, "When I crept to her tent with a flashlight And my long years of innocence ended". The way I see it, he talks about coming from a small town, going to the big city as a very young man, trying to find something new to follow and lead him to a better place. Then he finds a girl. THAT changed his life forever! No one forgets losing their virginity... And the fingers part? Maybe because the something that felt so good that she showed him in the woods could only be expressed by playing his guitar. How else can you describe that feeling? :)
    sunshinerfon May 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is of course ambigious (all the best songs are) but in my take on this, the key line is 'And I seen that girl as the road to my survival.'

    Latching onto the happy-clappy, Pentecostal community is a smart move for someone struggling so hard. So Simon leaves it ambigious - is it his viriginty that's taken, or is he going along (or surely not, converted! - it's not clear) by a laying on of hands, giving of the spirit.

    I experienced Pentecostal Christianity in my late teens and it was as intoxicating as sex (and, indeed, often accompanied by it - a gift from the Lord!).

    A young man, struggling, finds hope, direction, and love in the Pentecost - and sings for joy. His true, deep, response to it is hidden - is it real, is he acting, is the joy for real or is he faking it to survive? Maybe even he doesn't know.
    ganymedeon June 25, 2015   Link

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