Through the corridors of sleep
Past shadows dark and deep
My mind dances and leaps in confusion
I don't know what is real
I can't touch what I feel
And I hide behind the shield of my illusion

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall

The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall

No matter if you're born
To play the King or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow
So my fantasy
Becomes reality
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"The mirror on my wall
    Casts an image dark and small
    But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.
    I am blinded by the light
    Of God and truth and right"

    Plato's "Allegory of the Cave"?
    idonthaveahomeon February 28, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThe meaning I the chorus Is the main theme of the song. |So I will continue to continue to pretend my life will never end|. This means that he will continue to pretend that his life will end (kinda self explanatory) but then, |and flowers never bend with the rainfall|. This is saying that like life ending, so too will legends and all creations. Everything changes with time. The rainfall is referring to the event that will wipe out these memories or creations. Doomsday, for example.

    The first verse I believe is talking about his depression and that he doesn't know what he wants to do, because if life is meaningless and we will affect nothing with our existence, then what do we do? So he says that he hides behind the shield of his illusion. That means he tries to protect himself from depression with denial. He chooses to believe he is worth something even though he knows it's not true.

    |the mirror on my wall casts an image dark and small but I'm not sure at all its my reflection| Verse two says what he imagines himself like, isn't his body. In other words, his image of himself and his body aren't the same. It also says that he feels like he is small and unimportant to something. Most likely the universe, or progression. Then it goes on. |i'm blinded by the light of God and truth and right|. He is saying he is blinded from the truth of meaninglessness, by religion, and what people say is "good" because if God is real, then all this would be meaningful, and our "good" deeds are worth something. But because he is saying he believes in God, that means he is blinded from the truth by god's light/refuge. He doesn't have to be depressed if he believes in God. But at the same time, he is blinded from the truth.

    In the third verse he is saying It doesn't matter if your born to greatness, or with nothing, the threat of meaninglessness is all the same. And so his fantasy (denial of meaninglessness) becomes reality (he believes it, and it becomes his reality) so he must live another day, because he thinks he has meaning.


    Side notes: although this is what I believe the person who wrote this song is saying, I myself think that to want to be worth something to the universe is an impossible goal, and what really matters is happiness to yourself. Which doesn't rely on the universe thanking you. Try to get a rock to like you. It's pretty difficult.
    silas11797on May 27, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVery interesting idea dionthaveahome...I never would have thought of it, but it definitely works.
    To me this song conveys the potential insignificance of our lives (a theme seen in a lot of s&g music). While this is obviously depressing, I think the song is saying that it's important to recognize reality, rather than continuing to pretend.
    Love the line "I can't touch what I feel" - - from a biological standpoint, touching is feeling. However, from an emotional view, feeling is something you can't touch, yet it is what makes our lives what they are.
    Overall, amazing song!
    albinomooseon May 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about choosing happiness and accepting that this means accepting some measure of illusion as well. He goes past those "shadows dark and deep" without entering them. He realizes the facts of the universe that his life will end, flowers bend with the rainfall, and his reflection just shows a small and dark figure. He admits to being blinded and wandering without direction, but he's already demonstrated self-awareness of his self-deception. Whether you're at the top or the bottom of society, you could go to either joy or sorrow, it's all about mindset. So he forms this fantasy, makes it become reality so he can face the world with a smile.
    SusanTheOddon May 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"my fantasy
    Becomes reality,
    And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

    So I'll continue to continue to pretend
    My life will never end,
    And flowers never bend
    With the rainfall."

    Simon is saying that dreams and imagination is what is helping him persist "and face tommorrow", I know I've certainly have felt this way before.
    vaineron May 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVery interesting song

    "My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
    I don't know what is real,
    I can't touch what I feel
    And I hide behind the shield of my illusion."

    His mind is confused, he can't work out what's real, he's feeling things that can't really be touched?
    I suppose feeling something might be more of an emotional feeling, so you can't touch an emotion.
    Or maybe this is some sort of hallucination, like he feels something that isn't really there?
    His illusion could mean he is creating an illusion for himself for other people, or that he's literally seeing illusions created by his mind that dances and leaps in confusion?

    "The mirror on my wall
    Casts an image dark and small
    But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection."

    The mirror might represent other people telling him that he's a certain way, but he's not sure whether that's a true reflection of himself.

    "So my fantasy
    Becomes reality,
    And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow."

    To him a fantasy may seem like reality, he's decided that he must just accept who he is and take things day by day.

    The nice thing about these songs is that the words can have double meanings it seems and are quite open to interpretation.
    pikmindoctoron May 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm very surprised a the approach all of the comments above are taking (except for idonthavahome).
    To me, this song is obviously about the existentialist paradox. Paul Simon is not sure that his surroundings are real and must grapple with living a life full of uncertainty. The reference to Plato's allegory of the cave, I think, makes this analysis much more clear.
    robalzimon May 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy first post - please be gentle with me :)

    I see this song as being about acceptance. The two key lines are the title, with it's lead in: "I'll pretend that flowers never bend with the rainfall". Also "And I must be what I must be."

    So, it is a pretence to think that flowers do not bend with the rainfall. And a pretence to think that life does not change us. We bend to life's rainfall, or we break.

    The write is confused about what is real and not, what is right and not, even what is important or not. But he accepts the confusion as part of the human condition and will move forward in that confusion, knowing that the confusion is a part of him too.

    Blu X
    Bluluon November 29, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, though I know it from Davy Graham.

    "I don't know what is real
    I can't touch what I feel
    And I hide behind the shield of my illusion"

    To me, this hits home hard with being bipolar and having depersonalization along with it. To some people, these lines are literal. I overthink everything, and constantly have thoughts that the things around me aren't real, especially people. The only things I feel and know for certain can't be physical. The illusion is what we decide we think the world is, and our defense mechanisms/misconceptions.

    The mirror on my wall part is also similar, because sometimes i stare at my reflection and feel like it isn't my own. The allegory of the cave reference is clever and related further to existential crisis.

    The song gives really the only solution for these problems

    "My fantasy becomes reality, and I must be what I can be and face tomorrow"

    My idea of the world is all I have, I may as well make it a positive idea. I don't even know if anything exists, but I am here right now and need to just be what i can be.

    Imo this is the basic message of enlightenment. As the mad Persian poet said, "Wherever you go, there you are"
    DaTovarischeon June 28, 2018   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIn essence, I believe this song is about how people are living in their own illusions and how we all need to be honest with ourselves.

    The first verse implies confusion about life and how Paul "hides behind the shield of his illusion". This, along with the chorus, I think are about how people tend to have a predetermined view of what is right and are oblivious to the negative impacts of their actions.

    The chorus could also be about how nothing great is ever accomplished without upsetting some people; flowers need rain, but it also makes them bend, wilt, and fall off.

    In the second verse, "The mirror on my wall casts an image dark and small, but I'm not sure at all it's my reflection" I think means that we are not always who we think we are; we must learn to be honest with ourselves about our actions and why we do the things we do.

    "I am blinded by the light of god and truth and right" means that what other people tell us is right is not necessarily what is actually right — We must learn that for ourselves.

    The third verse, then, is about giving up on all the illusions and facing up to reality. The final line in the third verse makes this clear.

    "It's no matter if you're born to play the king or pawn, for the line is thinly drawn 'tween joy and sorrow" I think means that wealth is meaningless. The reality is that anyone can be happy, life is about deciding what to make of what you have been given.
    ChancesAreon August 18, 2019   Link

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