For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her With Mrs. Robinson

paul and emily

I’ve borrowed my post title from the beautiful song by Paul Simon For Emily Wherever I May Find Her. He was and is a tremendous influence on me as a songwriter, and I have always considered his songwriting to be more classical poetry than lyrical composition. Do I bow to him? Hell, yes. His songs took me through an extremely lonely childhood and into a spot-on guitar player and songwriter.

I was a kid when the song Mrs. Robinson . came out, maybe 10, and I remember our parish priest objecting to the song being played in church. He said, “Just because the song says, ‘Jesus loves you more than you can know…” doesn’t make it a song we can sing in church…” I was still wearing a plaid jumper in school in those days, but playing my guitar at home. And I played Mrs. Robinson, not having seen the movie or knowing what the song was about, but digging the vibe.

But Emily… Who was his Emily? Mine is Emily Dickinson, and the hard copy that shaped me was this verse:

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can stop one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

I think those lines will leave all Emilies… wherever we may find them in fine shape.

Thanks Paul. You made a big difference in my development as a writer and I am indebted to you.

Author: Virginia Wagner Galfo

These are scary times. Prepare yourself to take a stand for what is right. God damn it, just be kind!

9 thoughts on “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her With Mrs. Robinson”

  1. When I was playing guitar as a young girl, I loved Paul Simon’s song for Emily. Yes, you are right – his songwriting was exquisite. I also appreciated his guitar playing. Thank you for sharing.

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      1. Oh, Virginia – the days of coming home from high school to figure out the guitar parts of a Simon & Garfunkle song, I remember that with a big smile. I stopped playing when I got married at the age of 21. I wrote about 30 songs before then. At the age of 50, during a tough time in my life – I picked up my guitar and it literally saved my life. I lost a child many years ago and music healed me of my pain. I ended up writing more songs and it changed my life because I ended my marriage of 31 years. What I couldn’t express in any other way, came out with a song. I share a link to my story and to a music page. Thank you for asking. https://www.facebook.com/JudyUngerMusic http://myjourneysinsight.com/my-story/

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  2. Hi Virginia! I was touched by your post, as I am also fond of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and Paul Simon’s music. Judy’s comment above also touched me, too, as I wondered about the empowerment that her guitar and songwriting gave her. I have leaned on my guitar in the past as well. I play less guitar now….and more drums….when I decided to dive back into the world of PLAYING music (as opposed to years of just listening, like Judy I also stopped for a while).

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