The Boxer at Rest

On 5 February 2018, the Boxer announced he would hang up his boxing gloves. Paul Simon (who was 76 at the time) spoke about his retirement from touring in a letter to his fans, adding he would embark on the farewell concert tour “Homeward Bound”.

His words were:
“I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end. Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief.
I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly.

Then he explained that the key factors for his decision were the time he had to spend away from his family and the death of his long-time friend, guitarist Vincent Nguini.
After that final tour, he added, he would still do the “the occasional performance in a (hopefully) acoustically pristine hall,” and donate the proceedings to philanthropies “particularly those whose objective is to save the planet, ecologically.”
He ended with these words “I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.”

Toward the end of his Farewell Tour he released “In the Blue Light”, a collection of reinterpretations of lesser-known songs that he felt had been overlooked when he had written them. It felt it as an occasion “to have a second shot at fixing the original work,” he told the Telegraph in an interview. “Poets do it all the time. Walt Whitman’s got I don’t know how many versions of ‘Leaves of Grass.’ But in pop music, you go into a studio and get a version that’s good and say: There it is!”

The bronze Boxer at Rest, also known as the Terme Boxer or Boxer of the Quirinal, is a Hellenistic Greek sculpture of a seated nude fighter, who looks bruised and battered and is still wearing his leather hand-wrap. It is 128 cm high and dates back to a period between 330 to 50 BCE. He was discovered in 1885 on Rome’s Quirinal Hill, possibly from the remains of the Baths of Constantine, and is now in the collection of the National Museum of Rome.
The statue comes from a period in Greek art which is away from idealised heroic depictions of the body and youth, but employs realism to create great pathos and humanity and explore dark inner depths

When the statue was shown for the first time outside Europe, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) in 2013, Jerry Saltz enumerated the six distinctive features of the statue on New York magazine (15 July 2013) :
(i) The Pose, distinct for its massiveness and “elemental” form,
(ii) The Face, noted for the large brow and columnar neck,
(iii) The Blood, noted by its inlaid copper upon the bronze statue itself,
(iv) The Scared Genitals, distinct for being infibulated for aesthetic purposes of ancient times,
(v) The Hands, noted for being astounding yet gentle at the same time,
(vi) The Foresight, referring to the sculptor’s strength of vision which resembles and conjures Goya’s Giant.


The Met wrote “The rules for ancient Greek boxing were different than they are today. A boxer had to face one opponent after another, typically without significant pauses, and blows were dealt primarily to the head and face.”
It also spoke about the magical powers of the statue, having noted that parts of the toes and fingers are worn from frequent touching in antiquity. “It has been suggested that the statue was attributed healing powers, as was known to have occurred with other statues of famous athletes.” And it was thanks to its popular veneration that the bronze statue was protected so carefully in antiquity when the Baths of Constantine were destroyed.

41 thoughts on “The Boxer at Rest

  1. A beautiful seque from one form of art to another. I had the privilege of seeing Paul Simon, along with Art Garfunkel, and their guests – The Everly Brothers, during their “Old Friends” tour. It was magical.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would love to know what those lesser-known songs are that he’s revisiting. I had just about every Simon and Garfunkel album in my younger days, and some of my favorites were ones that I never heard on the radio. (I would play and sing my own versions of them with my guitar.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found out they are:
      1″One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor”
      2.”Love”
      3.”Can’t Run But”
      4.”How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns”
      5.”Pigs, Sheep and Wolves”
      6. “René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War”
      7.”The Teacher”
      8.”Darling Lorraine”
      9.”Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy”
      10.”Questions for the Angels”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found this information on Wikipedia:
      No. Title Original album Length
      1. “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor” There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973) 4:01
      2. “Love” You’re the One (2000) 4:10
      3. “Can’t Run But” The Rhythm of the Saints (1990) 3:29
      4. “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” One-Trick Pony (1980) 4:30
      5. “Pigs, Sheep and Wolves” You’re the One (2000) 4:00
      6. “René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War” Hearts and Bones (1983) 4:44
      7. “The Teacher” You’re the One (2000) 3:45
      8. “Darling Lorraine” You’re the One (2000) 7:13
      9. “Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy” Still Crazy After All These Years (1975) 3:59
      10. “Questions for the Angels” So Beautiful or So What (2011) 4:01

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The topics you touch are quite varied…
        As for me, I think it’s because I’ve moved countries so much from an early age, I got used to see new and different things… (And you made me think of picking up the piano again!!) 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL. I don’t think so. Never been a good musician. Despite a few years of classes. Now Daughter #2 is quite amazing. She took classes when she was little. She took the piano again well after she was 30, and plays rather well. Pieces by Satie for instance, who’s a difficult musician…
        🎹

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I liked the way you started with a present retiring boxer and gave the view of how boxers suffered a lot at the start of boxing history. Its quite shocking the truth. I guess it was survival of the fittest. Thank you fr sharing this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very comprehensive and plentiful ending, gratefully thanks dearest Luisa. You might not believe it but I read your story the whole day today, not because it was too heavy for me or I was too dumb to understand. Just because I was at work and every time I wanted to continue, I had to break up 🤪🤣🤣
    Anyway, it’s an excellent post and I thank you for sharing the farewell speech by this great poet and musician 🙏🙏❤❤

    Like

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