Simon & Garfunkel: A Hazy Shade Of Winter Meaning
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Song Released: 1966
Covered By: Bangles, The (1987)
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A Hazy Shade Of Winter Lyrics
See what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Hear the Salvation Army band
Down by the riverside’s
This song seems to be about "taking stock" of one's life, especially from the standpoint of someone either old or who is feeling old from hard experience. It recognizes the failure of seizing good things ("I was so hard to please") because of a search for something better. Time is running out and whether from age, poor health, or just fatigue from a weariness of life's experiences, "winter," a classic metaphor for old age and death, is used to express a sense of the "wasted" life or wasted time that can never be reclaimed.
The poet hears the Salvation Army Band promising a neatly-packaged and played Redemption of the Wasted Life, but the poet bitterly suggests that it would be better to drown oneself in the river than to accept the cliche of Canned Salvation. Time leaves us as beggars holding-out our cup in the hope that life will drop a bit of sustenance into our vessel. The writer urges us to hang onto our hopes the only way that we can: to pretend that there is enough time left to build a satisfying life. Tell yourself that winter is really spring and full of ripe possibilities. The solution contains its own refutation.
Time passes with the seasons even as the circumstances of our lives pass. In a classical reference to Greco-Roman mythology, time weaves a tapestry that is the visible story of our lives, even as the Fates wove the tapestry that was the life of a human being. The poet asks that he not be forgotten, because that is the ultimate death; he looks around - the leaves are brown, warning that time is running out, and the sky is lightly overcast with winter clouds and there is a little snow on the ground: a reminder that death is coming.
anonymous Nov 27th, 2016 11:00pm report
reminds me off a maybe homeless person "cup in hand" that had better times and dreams of better times.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Jul 31st, 2015 7:23pm report
Yes it's a view from the writer of observing time marching on around him,(note Sally Ann marching band) how life passes us by, especially when we feel we're on the inside looking out. Simon is ambitious but coupled with artistic side, he feels different than most people. He realizes being a musician/writer is a fringe of society endeavor of life, and thus opportunities are limited. This song reminds me of a couple of other songs of Simons: The Boxer, and The only blue eyed boy in New York. "I come looking for a job but I get no offers-just a come on from the whores on 7th Ave." He confesses "I do declare there was times I was so lonesome I took some comfort there" Lonely and feeling different in the big city. He also describes the cold NY winters. But like a boxer, fighter, has kinda pidgeon holed himself into a difficult career, plus the big cold city still provides any chance of survival or ultimately acclaim and success. Despite hardships and losses and sacrifices, he still feels compelled to stay and carry on. I.e. Boxer, "I am leaving I am leaving but the fighter still remains" Then again this hazy shade of winter song could be a commentary on the fallout from a nuclear war, nuclear winter, when things are really difficult to survive with the detrimental effects on environment and radioactivity leading to cancer etc. Though these nuclear age songs were a more prevalent theme from the 80s(I ran, Flock of Seagulls, and songs by The Fixx) up to more recent Radioactive Imagine Dragons, still the indelible imprint of 1945 Japan, and pictures of mushroom clouds and stories of their effects, would be still fresh to the likes of a young Simon in 1966. You'd think we learned, but look at even current Iran nuclear ambitions, are seemingly being encouraged by the U.S. Perhaps this is all being orchestrated by The Most High God, to renovate and judge the earth. Should we expect to get off Scott free, for killing 56 million babies?(pass their children through the fire,( i.e. Saline solution) And even supporting and funding Planned Parenthood for harvesting and selling body parts! and we still and should cry Lord have mercy on us. 7/31/2015 Duncan R.M. Decapolis(see Mark 5)
anonymous Jan 7th, 2014 1:37am report
The song is actually not just one of lament of the passing of time and the lost opportunities. It is a request for realism in that we are asked to look to "pretend" in order to build our hopes again. This is almost a call to look beyond all that is perfect and to accept reality and see how we can build it into our own new dream. The "springtime of my life" can be any time that we accept the chance to start anew and rebuild, on pretense or not.
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