Posted by: drjamm | October 4, 2009

Perfect circle

When the perfect circle marries all beginnings and conclusions.

—  Paul Simon

jamm at Perfect circle marries

I read a lot of music each week. Mostly, reading sheet music is an unconscious act for me: I simply understand what I am reading without needing to decipher what is before my eyes. But every now and then a piece of music calls me to slow down and savour the musical writing in the same way I would study and thrill at a gorgeous poem. Paul Simon’s less known song, “Quiet,” is one such composition that captured my imagination and collected me into contemplation today.

I am heading for a time of solitude,
of peace without illusions,
When the perfect circle marries all
beginnings and conclusions.

—  Paul Simon, “Quiet”

I dusted off my water colours to paint my favourite phrase in “Quiet” so I could to share this lovely line with you. After singing a lonesome arc of melancholy, Paul Simon’s meaning and music crests on his highest sustained note — “CIR-cle.” Here, at the high point, he brings us into spiritual suspension; and at that sweet fulcrum between his rising and falling lines, he invites us to free float up in the ether before we gently tumble down to the mundane “all” of this Earth.

I am relieved that Simon places the word “circle”— and not “perfect” — in the Heaven of his composition. His choice of which word to place in the highest niche of his line tells us “Quiet” is no search for perfection, but rather, a plaintive yearning for the the peace that comes when we –finally– arrive back home where we started.

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other’s welcome.

—  Derek Walcott, Love after love.

Back-to-school after summer break, back to work after the weekend, back in bed after another long day of family and work to-dos, there are many circles of many sizes being drawn in the sands of my life. It feels good to notice when my beginnings marry my conclusions and I start once again on my next meaningful cycle.

May you take time to honour the closing, and look forward to the beginning of your next circle. Shanti and Shalom.

*******       bright heart singing                          credits and links             *******

41A49WWRK5L._SS500_Image credit: Watercolour by jamm at

Music credit: Paul Simon, Quiet. I recommend giving this beautiful song a listen at the iTunes store.

Poem credit: Derek Walcott, excerpt of Love after Love, published in Roger Housden’s, Risking Everything:110 Poems of Love and Revelation, p.5

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)



  1. Beautiful and wonderful, the same things have been on my mind.

  2. sweet, :0)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: