“Like a River” performed by Carly Simon

“Like a River” performed by Carly SimonCarly Simon

Dear mother the struggle is over now
And your house is up for sale
We divided your railway watches
Between the four of us
I fought over the pearls
With the other girls
But it was all a metaphor
For what was wrong with us
As the room is emptying out
Your face so young comes into view
And on the back porch is a well-worn step
And a pool of light you can walk into

I’ll wait no more for you like a daughter,
That part of our life together is over
But I will wait for you, forever
Like a river…

Can you clear up the mystery of the Sphinx?
Do you know any more about God?
Are you dancing with Benjamin Franklin
On the face of the moon?
Have you reconciled with Dad?
Does the rain still make you sad?
Last night I swear I could feel you
Moving through my room
And I thought you touched my feet
I so wanted it to be true
In my theater there is a stage
And a footlight you can step into…

I’ll wait no more for you like a daughter,
That part of our life together is over
But I will wait for you, forever
Like a river…

In the river I know I will find the key
And your voice will rise like the spray
In the moment of knowing
The tide will wash away my doubt
‘Cause you’re already home
Making it nice for when I come home
Like the way I find my bed turned down
Coming in from a late night out.
Please keep reminding me
Of what in my soul I know is true

Come in my boat, there’s a seat beside me
And two or three stars we can gaze into…

I’ll wait no more for you like a daughter,
That part of our life together is over
But I will wait for you forever
Like a river…

I’ll never leave, always just a dream away
A star that’s always watching
Never turn away
We’ll never leave, always just a thought away
A candle always burning
Never turn away
The moon will hide, the tree will bend
I’m right beside you
I’ll never turn away

Released in 1994, Carly Simon’s “Like a River” remains as one of her most prolific and heartfelt releases in her entire career. Included in the singer-songwriter’s eighteenth studio album (twentieth overall) “Letters Never Sent”, the message of the said song conveys a universal message – our unending love for our dearest mothers. That it why it does not come as a surprise that “Like a River” became a popular and quintessential track of the early 1990s. According to Simon, this song is homage to her mother, Andrea who passed away in 1994. This bittersweet emotion is seen all throughout the song – from the lyrics, to the melody, down to Simon’s singing.

Clocking in at around six minutes, “Like a River” narrates the story of a daughter talking about and dealing with her mother’s death. The song begins with a simple piano melody as Simon sings about how their family tries to move on from the passing away of their mother. About a minute and a half later, the song picks up pace and becomes a little lively and bright as Simon tries to catch up with her mother’s afterlife – if she has found answers to some of life’s greatest mysteries (Sphinx, God) or if she has already reconciled with their father. At this point, she expresses hopefulness that even though her waiting for her mother (as a daughter) is over, her love will never end like the river. This part is repeatedly sung throughout the track. The accompanying video is also very reflective of the song. Simon is seen playing the piano and singing the track as pictures of her and her mother are interspersed alternately in the video. Despite the quite lonely content of the song, it is evident in the video how Simon is all smiles and upbeat – signifying the gradual acceptance and unending hope for her mother’s return perhaps in the afterlife.

This is why “Like a River” is considered to be a perfect funeral song especially to those who have lost their beloved mothers. Despite the heavy emotion that one may feel during this phase in their lives, this song slowly helps them pick themselves up and slowly accept that things happen for a reason. It also provides them a hope that one day; they will be reunited with their mother because their love keeps on going just like a free-flowing river.