Slip Slidin’ Away

While eating breakfast and discussing poetry this morning, Mike suggested that with my philosophy I would probably fit in perfectly in Norway. Do you think that would explain why my favorite Paul Simon song, at least of his solo songs, is "Slip Slidin' Away."

Personally, I'd always attributed my love for the song to its bluesy sound (Do Norwegians love the Blues?) and it's right-on analysis of life's problems. Or to the fact that this is the song that I used to sing to myself in the morning as I packed my lunch and got ready for a long day teaching school while the rest of the family slept upstairs.

Personally, I find it difficult to find a stanza that doesn't somehow describe a part of my life:

SLIP SLIDIN' AWAY

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a man
He came from my home town
He wore his passion for his woman
Like a thorny crown
He said delores
I live in fear
My love for you's so overpowering
I'm afraid that I will disappear

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain't got no rain
She said a bad day's when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

And I know a father
Who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons
For the things he'd done
He came a long way
Just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and headed home again

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information's unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we're gliding down the highway
When in fact we're slip slidin' away

Slip slidin' away
Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

Slip slidin' away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away
Mmm...

Now I'm not sure what Paul Simon meant by "destination," though I have my suspicions, but I sure as hell know what he means by "slip slidin' away." I've worn my passion for a woman "like a thorny crown" more than once in my life, forgetting my true self in an attempt to be what she wanted me to be. Turns out it don't get you nowhere but lost. Though I ain't never been a wife, I've laid in bed and thought of things that might have been more than once.

As a divorced father, I've certainly longed to tell my son (and daughter) all the reasons for the things I've done, only to end up turning around and making that long trip home, leaving them with nothing more of me than a kiss.

If God has a plan, he's never made me privilege to it. Every time I've felt like I'm glidiing down the highway of life, I've found myself slppin' and slidin,' until I find myself standing beside the road wondering what the hell had just happened.

If it sometimes seems like I'm paying too much attention to the dark side of the road, it's probably "cause I've ended up in the ditch once too often and don't want to end up there again until I've reached my final destination.

7 thoughts on “Slip Slidin’ Away

  1. I sing Slip Slidin’ Away all the time. I sing it so much in the shower, I’ve had to start singing it in different voices. Sometimes I’m a black vocal group from the 1950s. I change the rhythm, add harmonies, sing one at a time. Just yesterday morning (they let me know you were gone) it was Bruce Springsteen singing Slip Slidin’ Away in a lower key, so the Simon la-las are Springsteen whoos and hoos, and the whole thing is down deeper in the throat. He was pretty good.

    My neighbors. My poor neighbors. The vents are all connected. I hear the man upstairs blow his nose and his knows. He must hear these voices like they’re standing naked in his living room. And they’re older and don’t speak English upstairs. I am the voice of strange doom at dawn.

  2. Until reading this I heard the woman who became a wife say “a good day aint got no meaning”. I’m rather disappointed to discover it aint got no rain.

  3. I’d think that living in England, where I understand the weather is pretty much like it is here in the Pacific Northwest, it would be pretty depressing thinking how few and far between the good days are, qB.

    Unfortunately at my age I have trouble remembering all the lyrics, eeksy. Good thing as it probably saves the dog’s sanity.

  4. I, too, love Paul Simon’s poetry in Slip-Sliding away. I always sing with it when I hear it. I think the ‘destination’ can be taken literally as a place we strive to arrive at, but also taken as the natural end – the grave that is the actual and ultimate human destination. What we are slip-sliding away from is life itself as we use up our days and hours…

  5. I am so glad that you posted the actual poem to the song…Slip Sliding Away…I can’t remember the first time I ever heard the song…but I never forgot it once I heard it…I was a-little girl…I don’t get the pleasure of listening to different types of music nor music at all…Therefore I was excited to see the lyrics posted, in order that I might sing the song correctly…Of course I only knew a few words…but now I have the entire song to sing…I TRULY DO LOVE THE SONG….it calms my spirit when I hear it….even when I begin to sing it, it’s like I forget everything that’s happen negetive around me!!!!! Thank you…..

  6. Hi, I came to your site while researching Theodore Roethke for my poetry final paper, but I saw this entry…

    I hope you’ll be happy to know that my favorite musical artist is Paul Simon, and I’m only eighteen years old. His music is timeless. Slip Sliding is one of my favorites. I like the thought of not gliding down a highway, but still reaching some sort of destination. Really terribly depressing on the whole, however.

    Thanks!

  7. I’m also researching for a paper–mine’s on Seamus Heaney–and wanted to thank you for the Paul Simon lyrics (not to mention the detailed biographies and excellent criticism!). The line about coming a long way to try to explain something and then leaving only a kiss is beautiful. And true…I hope that when I’m a parent I’ll have the maturity and generosity of spirit to let some things about the life I’m living now go unsaid.

What do you think?