It's a still life watercolor
Of a now-late afternoon
As the sun shines through the curtain lace
And shadows wash the room

And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference, like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar

In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
The borders of our lives

And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost
And we note our place with book markers
That measure what we've lost

Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme
In syncopated time (in syncopated time)

And the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
Are the borders of our lives

Yes, we speak of things that matter
With words that must be said
"Can analysis be worthwhile?"
"Is the theater really dead?"

And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow, I cannot feel your hand
You're a stranger now unto me

Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
In the borders of our lives

Lyrics submitted by kevin

"The Dangling Conversation" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Dangling Conversation song meanings
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  • +5
    General Commentsuch beautiful, beautiful lyrics. about two people in a relationship who are mutually inquisitive and intelligent, and thought themselves to be a perfect match. individually they havent changed, but they have lost touch with each other, grown apart, forgotten to feel in their quest for thought. they try to fill the emptiness where there love used to flourish with the "big questions", but both realize that it isnt working. i think "borders of our lives" refers to the fact that we are only human and can only do and understand so much in our time here on earth; that we need to make the most of the now and embrace those we love we lose them. also could refer to the walls we build up between ourselves and other people.
    BrainDamage423on March 30, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love how they note their place with book-markers that measure what they've lost. As they've spent their time in this suspended form of communication and the time they've wasted is measured in pages turned. Such a wondrous literal image.
    sollomanon January 08, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe slow disintegration of a relationship... but neither knows how to step up and say anything, but both know it's happening. Each seems to be too deeply withdrawn into his and her own worlds to reach out to the other.
    Smokeateron April 15, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I hear this song, I always imagine the characters being sort of like Frazier Crane and Lilith from the TV show...I guess because it all seems so over-intellectual and high culture. Especially the questions in the last verse about "analysis" and "the theatre." Of course, in the TV show Frazier and Lilith did end up breaking up so I guess this is one form of art imitating another or something.
    Jerrybearon February 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My Opinioni'm pretty sure these are some of the most amazing lyrics ever written, and i'm surprised that there aren't more comments.
    therapeuticsmileon April 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think that the author sadly recognizes that he and his lover can approximate their experiences of reality - and each other - in only a most imperfect way, gaining while losing something of the world's essence through the filters of language, background (Frost vs. Dickinson, male vc. female), and so forth. The more he may focus his attention on his lover, the more he distorts her, and the more he intellectually transforms her from substance to shadow. Indeed, every analysis of this condition (even this interpretation of these lyrics, even the author's interpretation of his experiences through the writing of these lyrics) creates distance between man and his environs, between one human and another. We tend to adopt the Cartesian subject-object dichotomy, becoming observers of (perhaps more than participants in) our very lives. To inaccurately invoke that old physicist, Heisenberg, the presence of the observer alters the content of that which he observes. It is remarkable that such haunting words were penned by so young a writer.
    BubbaClydeon April 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this song tells the story of a professional, intellectual well off and and well grounded in the arts who are slowly drifting apart...until the realization (only kiss your shadow, cannot feel your hand, you're a stranger now unto me) that what they once had and shared is gone, and is not coming back
    jjc101164on August 25, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's a touch of genius when Paul and Art sang the phrase 'in syncopated time' syncopated-ly.
    janeaparis1on January 14, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by TS Eliot.
    whatchamacallmeon August 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. Love.

    It just seems to fit certain things in my life.
    nackteziegeon January 21, 2007   Link

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