To be a Rock

In 1966 as part of their Sophomore album, Sounds of Silence the folk rock band released the song I am a Rock. It is, in every sense of the word, human. It is a hauntingly beautiful song about despair, isolation, and the pain we feel from others. If you want the lyrics to the song simply google the phrase “lyrics to I am a Rock”, it’s the first thing to come up. 

When the ones you love hurt you, all you can do is hide away in solitude. When the first lyrics are sung, a sense a somber austerity arises. The first stanza is a description by the narrator of a dark and dreary December morning sequestered in his abode. Here he stairs out his window and sees the fresh snow. Finalized by the repeated mantra throughout the song, “I am a Rock, I am an Island”. These are the most important lines in the song. The narrator is trying to shut himself off from the world around him. All the while rejecting and throwing away what makes him human. He becomes an inhuman, isolated, a rock, an island. 

The theme of self made isolation continues in the second stanza. It it it states 

“I’ve built walls

A fortress deep and mighty

That none may penetrate

I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain” 

From this we clearly see that the narrator is done with human interaction after being repeatedly burned one too many times. This doubles back to what it said about the innate humanity in this song. This is a feeling or a since many of us have felt betrayed and alone, we can only lock ourselves away from what hurts us. 

The rest of the poem has many more idiosyncrasies with this, but it’s better for you to listen to yourself. But I would like to talk about the final lines of the song. Out of all of them they are perhaps the most somber and beautiful, “a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries”. This last stinger at the end is like a knife in the heart, bringing together all the song stand for, that if your not human, you can’t be hurt. I am a rock, I am an island. 

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