Frightened by the tone of the phone in the dead of night
Then staring into darkness and praying til the morning light
The price already paid, a son gone to the grave
Now the sorrowful parade to the riverbank

Must be half the county come down to the riverbank
High school is closed, same for the local police
Shall we tearfully embrace, shall we sing Amazing Grace?
Will the shallow river waters bring us peace?

Army dude, only son, nowhere to run
No one to turn to, he turns to the gun
It's a cross, it's a stone, it's a fragment of bone
It's a long walk home

A long walk home
Gonna be a long walk home from the riverbank

Is there any reason why the black pine should not weep?
Is there a woman or a man who wouldn't understand why he could not speak?
And the nightmares, when they came like poison to the brain
Reminded him again, life is cheap

Army dude, only son, nowhere to run
No one to turn to, he turns to the gun
It's a cross, it's a stone, it's a fragment of bone
It's a long walk home

A long walk home
Gonna be a long walk home from the riverbank

Army dude's mama at the edge of the river
Limp as a rag, American flag in her arms
Then a triangle of light kissed the red and blue and white
Along the riverbank, past the dealerships and farms


Lyrics submitted by mike114578

The Riverbank song meanings
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    General CommentThis song from the album, Stranger to Stranger (2016), is one of a number of highlights with the expected unusual arrangements and instruments this artist seems at home with particularly from the Graceland period all those years ago. The lyrics have their roots in a visit Simon made to Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, Maryland to talk with some of the wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who were rehabbing there. It was also inspired by a teacher that he personally knew who was slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 and the emotional experience of playing at his funeral. The result is an eclectic sound from his enjoyment of Flamenco music particularly hand-clapping and dancing heels on a wooden floor with two clappers, one dancer, a cahon player and Jamey Haddad (percussionist) on frame drum which is the basis for three of the other main high spots on the album. The lyrics themselves might appear a bit disjointed without knowing this background but the sound is haunting and diverse and in the middle he brings it almost to a stop before starting up again. Credit is due to Paul Simon’s continued experimentation with sound, instruments and his vocals still maintaining a quality in range after many decades.
    robertcousinson June 06, 2017   Link

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