Lyrics of the Week – Week 2

Dedicated to Paul Simon. I live for your words.

“Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (Live)” – Simon and Garfunkel

I can hear the soft breathing
Of the girl that I love,
As she lies here beside me
Asleep with the night,
And her hair, in a fine mist
Floats on my pillow,
Reflecting the glow
Of the winter moonlight.

She is soft, she is warm,
But my heart remains heavy,
And I watch as her breasts
Gently rise, gently fall,
For I know with the first light of dawn
Ill be leaving,
And tonight will be
All I have left to recall.

Oh, what have I done,
Why have I done it,
Ive committed a crime,
Ive broken the law.
For twenty-five dollars
And pieces of silver,
I held up and robbed
A hard liquor store.

My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away.

This is by far my favorite Simon & Garfunkel. If you take a listen to the acoustics and truly read the lyrics, you’ll see why. This is one of their lesser known by many, but their first song on The Essential Simon and Garfunkel. I attempted to look up song meanings, hoping they would reveal the same meaning I conjured up…

  • A man wakes up in the middle of the night, 3 A.M. to be exact, and looks over to admire a woman he has spent the night with. Poetry flows through him, describing her, but he is haunted by the fact that he’ll be leaving her soon.

The next part has me twisted in two directions…

  1. The man as awoken from a dream in which he has committed crimes of theft and prostitution. “My crime an illusion, a scene badly written in which I must play.” – This could very well be a dream because dreams are usually scrambled (“badly written”), but the dreamer must play the role he/she plays. He looks back at the girl and feels relief instead of heartbreak, because he can leave this awful dream.
  2. The man has actually committed these crimes and now his life is confusing. He wonders how his life has spun this wildly out of control. It’s a “bad dream”, but he’ll be awake soon, and gone.

This is the beauty of lyrics. We, as the listeners, will never know the exact meaning of the words unless the artist tells us. We are the creators in a sense. We create our own personal story based on someone else’s dreams. We all play a part.

Photo Credit: Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.


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