Greatest Lyrics series: ‘The Boxer’

It’s time for another recurring series here (see also: beta testing, idea factory, best of).

This series is Greatest Lyrics, and it’s pretty straightforward. I’m going to be posting some song lyrics that I think are some of the greatest ever written. I’m not talking overall song quality here- though in most cases, they correlate- I’m simply talking the words; the poetry of the lyrics.

Whenever available, I’ll be using The LyricWiki as my official lyrics source (NOTE: There is another site, which I won’t link to, with a similar name- but you’ll note the other site is NOT a wiki). I don’t assume the site is perfect, and you shouldn’t either. But as its creators state, they wanted an alterative to the otherwise ad-ridden lyrics sites, and with that they’ve succeeded.

First up is The Boxer, by Simon & Garfunkel. It’s a popular song, but I think it’s one that, even though many may know the words, they don’t necessarily absorb them. Inspiration for this choice is thanks to Scheherazade and her post on the song.

I am just a poor boy.
Though my story’s seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

When I left my home
And my family,
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station,
Running scared,
Laying low,
Seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go,
Looking for the places
Only they would know


Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job,
But I get no offers.
Just a come-on from the whores
On Seventh Avenue
I do declare,
There were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there.


Then I’m laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone,
Going home
Where the New York City winters
Aren’t bleeding me,
Leading me,
Going home

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and shame,
“I am leaving, I am leaving.”
But the fighter still remains


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