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11 September 2011

Rhymin' Simon Asks an Important Question

In 2006 Paul Simon released his album, Surprise. The album was co-produced by Paul and Brian Eno.

For purposes of reflecting upon the meaning of the attack on the United States that took place on September 11, 2001, I think this tune/lyric from that album is helpful.

How Can You Live in the Northeast?

We heard the fireworks
Rushed out to watch the sky
Happy-go-lucky, Fourth of July

How can you live in the Northeast?
How can you live in the South?
How can you build on the banks of a river
when the floodwater pours
from the mouth?
How can you be a Christian?
How can you be a Jew?
How can you be a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu?
How can you?


Weak as the winter sun, we enter life on earth
Names and religion come just after date of birth
Then everybody gets a tongue to speak
And everyone hears an inner voice
A day at the end of the week
To wonder and rejoice
If the answer is infinite light, why do we sleep in the dark?

How can you live in Northeast?
How can you live the South?
How can you build on the banks of a river
when the floodwater pours
from the mouth?
How can you tattoo your body?
Why do you cover your head?
How can you eat from a rice bowl?
The holy man only breaks bread

We watched the fireworks ‘til they were fireflies
Follow a path of stars
Over the endless skies

How can you live in the Northeast?
How can you live in the South?
How can you build on the banks of a river
when the floodwater pours
from the mouth?

I’ve been given all I wanted
Only three generations off the boat
I have harvested and I have planted
I am wearing my father’s old coat

© 2006 Words by Paul Simon, Music by Paul Simon and Brian Eno