“You’re A Big Girl Now” (1974)

 

Each verse of “You’re A Big Girl Now” begins and ends with a couplet, which might be expected of a love song.  But as with most songs on Blood On The Tracks it’s a song about love with pain attached, mainly because of the lovers’ distance from each other; the corkscrew analogy maybe saying it all:

I’m going out of my mind, oh, oh
With a pain that stops and starts
Like a corkscrew to my heart
Ever since we’ve been apart

The distance is geographical:

And I’m back in the rain, oh, oh
And you are on dry land

But it’s what’s gone on between them that has caused the distance from each other, necessitating promises:

I can change, I swear, oh, oh

and distrust and accusations:

Oh, I know where I can find you, oh, oh
In somebody’s room

The beginning and ending couplets show that love was there and maybe still is as this line suggests:

Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last

That oh, oh in the middle of each verse expresses so much, most of which is probably doubt–doubt that they can ever be again what they were together.  And that’s why the end word after each oh, oh sometimes rhymes with the ending couplet rhyme:

Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast
Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last
I can change, I swear, oh, oh
See what you can do
I can make it through
You can make it too

and sometimes doesn’t:

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase
You’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days
Oh, I know where I can find you, oh, oh
In somebody’s room
It’s a price I have to pay
You’re a big girl all the way

I’m sure of our love, I’m not so sure–a word that joins the sound of love, a word that doesn’t.

It’s an absolutely beautiful song and Dylan sings it beautifully.

Here he is doing so in Warsaw in 94:

 

 

 

“Watered-Down Love” (1981)

“Water-Down Love” has couplet rhymes throughout, aa/bb, the first verse a good example:

Love that’s pure hopes all things
Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
Capture your heart and hold it for ransom

There’s a symmetry to having rhyming couplets when speaking of pure love, which each verse does, couples in tune, yes?

The bridge tells another story, the story of a watered-down love, with just the word love as an auto-rhyme ending the last two lines of a mere three:

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

“love”/”love” not a rhyme, and nothing coupling with “pure.” And as Christopher Ricks points out “You don’t want a love” does not quite go with “You wanna drown love,” as would the expected “You wanna drowned love.” Adjective turned verb with a flick of the wrist.

Furthermore, “love” repeated as much as it is surely waters it down, doesn’t it? Dylan seems to get the point across with the word beginning each verse and then repeating it twice in the bridge two times for a total of twelve times.

But “pure” gets attention, too as a repeated word, appearing there once in each verse and bridge, but not so watered-down.  And pure love, not watered-down love is what is defined in this song, what it does, why it matters more than what the other wants–the watered down kind.

Some of the instruments sound cheap–as love would be watered-down, and the ending with “watered-down: repeated, with “yes you do, you know you do” conveys the message as well.  Watered-down love is cheap and monotonous.  It’s a catchy tune though, and it has bursts of good organ and piano, and rhymes like this (my favorite on the tune) “stupid wishes”/”you suspicious.”

Here’s the studio version of Shot of Love.  Just play it once.  No need to water it down.

http://d1.val.fm/play/bob-dylan-watered-down-love

“Watered-Down Love”

Love that’s pure hopes all things
Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
Capture your heart and hold it for ransom

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure, it don’t make no false claims
Intercedes for you ’stead of casting you blame
Will not deceive you or lead you into transgression
Won’t write it up and make you sign a false confession

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure won’t lead you astray
Won’t hold you back, won’t mess up your day
Won’t pervert you, corrupt you with stupid wishes
It don’t make you envious, it don’t make you suspicious

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure ain’t no accident
Always on time, is always content
An eternal flame, quietly burning
Never needs to be proud, restlessly yearning

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

 

“Tin Angel” (2012)

“Tin Angel” is one of three ballads on Tempest.  It tells a story, just like the title song of the album about the sinking of the Titanic.  And “Roll On, John,” with its mosaic of John Lennon song lyrics is a tribute to Lennon, long overdue, in ballad form.

“Tin Angel” could be the screenplay to a film.  It is dominated by dialogue, though it rocks back and forth, like “The Tempest” does with couplet rhyming throughout.

The rhymes are not striking, but the myriad number of them are, and some are unique; my favorite appearing in this verse:

Get up, stand up, you greedy-lipped wench
And cover your face or suffer the consequence

Not many are forced rhymes, but ones that are Dylan uses consonants and a kind of cross rhyming for rhyming assistance:

We’re two of a kind and our blood runs hot
But we’re no way similar in body or thought

The b’s in “bloody” and “body” combine along with the “o” in “body” which sounds much more aligned in rhyme than “hot”/”thought.”

Props to Bobby D., too, for “hault”/”fault” as a perfect rhyme in this couplet:

He whispered in her ear: “This is all your fault
My fighting days have come to a halt”

The film version of this song awaits us–it’s got Seneca-like revenge, journeying, deception, murder, etc.

Until then, at least we have the script:

 

Tin Angel

It was late last night when the boss came home
To a deserted mansion and a desolate throne
Servant said: “Boss, the lady’s gone
She left this morning just ‘fore dawn.” (Servant)

“You got something to tell me, tell it to me, man
Come to the point as straight as you can” (The Boss)
“Old Henry Lee, chief of the clan
Came riding through the woods and took her by the hand” (Servant)

The boss he lay back flat on his bed
He cursed the heat and he clutched his head
He pondered the future of his fate
To wait another day would be far too late

“Go fetch me my coat and my tie
And the cheapest labour that money can buy
Saddle me up my buckskin mare
If you see me go by, put up a prayer” (The Boss)

Well, they rode all night, and they rode all day
Eastward, long down the broad highway
His spirit was tired and his vision was bent
His men deserted him and onward he went

He came to a place where the light was dull
His forehead pounding in his skull
Heavy heart was racked with pain
Insomnia raging in his brain

Well, he threw down his helmet and his cross-handled sword
He renounced his faith, he denied his lord
Crawled on his belly, put his ear to the wall
One way or another put an end to it all

He leaned down, cut the electric wire
Stared into the flames and he snorted the fire
Peered through the darkness, caught a glimpse of the two
It was hard to tell for certain who was who

He lowered himself down on a golden chain
His nerves were quaking in every vein
His knuckles were bloody, he sucked in the air
He ran his fingers through his greasy hair

They looked at each other and their glasses clinked
One single unit, inseparably linked
“Got a strange premonition there’s a man close by” (Henry Lee)
“Don’t worry about him, he wouldn’t harm a fly” (The Wife)

From behind the curtain, the boss he crossed the floor
He moved his feet and he bolted the door
Shadows hiding the lines in his face
With all the nobility of an ancient race

She turned, she was startled with a look of surprise
With a hatred that could hit the skies
“You’re a reckless fool, I could see it in your eyes
To come this way was by no means wise” (The Wife)

“Get up, stand up, you greedy-lipped wench
And cover your face or suffer the consequence
You are making my heart feel sick
Put your clothes back on, double-quick” (The Boss)

“Silly boy, you think me a saint
I’ll listen no more to your words of complaint
You’ve given me nothing but the sweetest lies
Now hold your tongue and feed your eyes” (The Wife)
“I’d have given you the stars and the planets, too
But what good would these things do you?
Bow the heart if not the knee
Or never again this world you’ll see” (The Boss)

“Oh, please let not your heart be cold
This man is dearer to me than gold” (The Wife)
“Oh, my dear, you must be blind
He’s a gutless ape with a worthless mind” (The Boss)

“You’ve had your way too long with me
Now it’s me who’ll determine how things shall be” (The Wife)
“Try to escape,” he cussed and cursed
‘You’ll have to try to get past me first” (The Boss)

“Do not let your passion rule
You think my heart the heart of a fool
And you, sir, you can not deny
You made a monkey of me, what and for why?” (The Boss)

“I’ll have no more of this insulting chat
The devil can have you, I’ll see to that
Look sharp or step aside
Or in the cradle you’ll wish you’d died” (Henry Lee)

The gun went boom and the shot rang clear
First bullet grazed his ear
Second ball went right straight in
And he bent in the middle like a twisted pin

He crawled to the corner and he lowered his head
He gripped the chair and he grabbed the bed
It would take more than needle and thread
Bleeding from the mouth, he’s as good as dead

“You shot my husband down, you fiend” (The Wife)
“Husband? What husband? What the hell do you mean?
He was a man of strife, a man of sin
I cut him down and threw him to the wind” (Henry Lee)

This she said with angry breath
“You too shall meet the lord of death
It was I who brought your soul to life” (The Wife)
Then she raised her robe and she drew out a knife

His face was hard and caked with sweat
His arms ached and his hands were wet
“You’re a murderous queen and a bloody wife
If you don’t mind, I’ll have the knife” (Henry Lee)

“We’re two of a kind and our blood runs hot
But we’re no way similar in body or thought
All husbands are good men, as all wives know” (The Wife)
Then she pierced him to the heart and his blood did flow

His knees went limp and he reached for the door
His tomb was sealed, he slid to the floor
He whispered in her ear: “This is all your fault
My fighting days have come to a halt” (Henry Lee)

She touched his lips and kissed his cheek
He tried to speak but his breath was weak
“You died for me, now I’ll die for you” (The Wife)
She put the blade to her heart and she ran it through

All three lovers together in a heap
Thrown into the grave, forever to sleep
Funeral torches blazed away
Through the towns and the villages all night and all day

 

“The Death of Emmett Till” (1962)

 

This is a song with a finger pointing purpose, namely targeting the KKK, which it directly addresses in the 7th of 7 verses:

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan

Dylan aims at a moment in a horrible chapter of American history, a time when the nation was becoming all too familiar with the atrocities of racism and corrupt courtrooms.  But the word was getting out, and the following years would result in the Civil Rights Act.  No legislation stops hatred outright and certainly not right away, but it could begin to invoke fear, which can only approximate Emmett Tills’ fear that Dylan makes it hard for us to face with lines like this:

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up
They said they had a reason, but I can’t remember what
They tortured him and did some things too evil to repeat
There were screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds
out on the street

They rhyming pattern when it is in a pattern goes like this:  aabb, but Dylan can’t keep to it, as if the subject matter is too severe to keep to any concordant sounds.  In fact, the opening verse has no terminal rhymes:

’Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door
This boy’s dreadful tragedy I can still remember well
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till

The l’s that end well/Till have a timbre to them, but that’s not a rhyme. The rhyming is slow in coming, as if narrative matters more. what/up is close, but it’s a forced rhyme at best beginning the second verse:

Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up
They said they had a reason, but I can’t remember what

repeat/street enters as the first real rhyme at the end of the second verse, and then the aabb pattern emerges in verse 3:

Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain
The reason that they killed him there, and I’m sure it ain’t no lie
Was just for the fun of killin’ him and to watch him slowly die

Bit it doesn’t last.  The name Till won’t rhyme with trial:

And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this
awful crime
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind

Refuses, too, even.  It’s as if the discordance is there because of the previous verse’s concordance–it’s accentuated–there will be no agreement in sound between that trial and the crime that killed Emmett Till.

Once the trial is “over” in the song, the pleasing to the ear rhyming pattern returns:

I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin’ down the courthouse stairs
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free
While Emmett’s body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea

And rhymes flow free the rest of the way, perhaps so the song can be sung, remembered, as all tragedies of such human indignity and cruelty must:

If you can’t speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that’s so unjust
Your eyes are filled with dead men’s dirt, your mind is filled with dust
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood
it must refuse to flow
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!

This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live
A hopeful ending to a painful song.

Here’s Dylan performing it on the Radio Show with Cynthia Gooding March 11th 1962:

 

 

“Spanish Harlem Incident” (1964)

The second and fourth lines of the three verses in “Spanish Harlem Incident” end in rhyme.  But it’s after the fourth lines of each where each verse parts ways with a consistent pattern.  In the first verse, internal rhymes take over:

Your flaming feet burn up the street
I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums

In the second verse, the lack of terminal rhymes is what’s remarkable.

The night is pitch black, come an’ make my
Pale face fit into place, ah, please!
Let me know, babe, I’m nearly drowning
If it’s you my lifelines trace

The internal rhyme, face/place stretches the medial rhyme label by having those words rhyme two lines later with “trace” at the end of the line, another kind of tracing from “face” to “place” to “trace.”

“I” begins the third verse and “me” is the center of a barrage ushering in the return of terminal rhymes, much emphasis on assonance in the process:

You have slayed me, you have made me
I got to laugh halfways off my heels
I got to know, babe, will you surround me?
So I can tell if I’m really real

The scheme here is the cross-rhyme alternating lines of rhyme ending abab.

The poetry is gypsy-like in its unpredictability.

Predictable was the Byrds doing a cover of a Dylan song.  Here’s their version of “Spanish Harlem“:

“Spanish Harlem Incident”

Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem
Cannot hold you to its heat
Your temperature’s too hot for taming
Your flaming feet burn up the street
I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums
Let me know, babe, about my fortune
Down along my restless palms

Gypsy gal, you got me swallowed
I have fallen far beneath
Your pearly eyes, so fast an’ slashing
An’ your flashing diamond teeth
The night is pitch black, come an’ make my
Pale face fit into place, ah, please!
Let me know, babe, I’m nearly drowning
If it’s you my lifelines trace

I been wond’rin’ all about me
Ever since I seen you there
On the cliffs of your wildcat charms I’m riding
I know I’m ’round you but I don’t know where
You have slayed me, you have made me
I got to laugh halfways off my heels
I got to know, babe, will you surround me?
So I can tell if I’m really real

 

“Rainy Day Women, #12 & 35″

Twenty stones get hurled in “Rainy Day Women, 12 & 35“; that’s a lot of stoning. And with all that stoning going on along with the double-meaning of getting stoned, what gets lost is the word “alone,” rhyming with “stoned” five times, once in each verse. But “alone” is not alone in its rhyming partners in this song; twice it rhymes with “home.”  Once in the first verse:

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone

and then with a return to home in the last:

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone
They’ll stone you when you are walking home

No other way to get stoned is repeated in the song, just the one having to do with home.

Can there be a greater feeling of loneliness than getting stoned? The rump-pah-pah New Orleans funeral parade sound underscores the presence of death–death by stoning– No one’s safe from stoning, getting stoned, everybody must, and everyone like Odysseus is trying to get home.

Here’s Dylan singing it for “Live Aid” in 1986; as always a crowd-pleaser, just like a good ole stoning used to be:

(I really like the scarf.)

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ ’long the street
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ on the floor
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ to the door
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

They’ll stone ya when you’re at the breakfast table
They’ll stone ya when you are young and able
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck
They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say, “good luck”
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone
They’ll stone you when you are walking home
They’ll stone you and then say you are brave
They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

 

“One More Weekend” (1970)

One More Weekend” seems like it was intended to use any rhyming pattern to get what the speaker wants.  First, I’ll throw some abab rhyming couplets her way.  That oughta work to get that weekend with her. And then I’ll try another, with the best rhyme of the lot in the song, “deck”/”suspect.”  But then, to throw her off guard, I’ll try something a bit different, exotic even, aaabcccb, and frame it with two more verses of rhyming couplets.  Does it work? In a fun listening, “To His Coy Mistress-like romp, it sure does.

 

Here’s a ukele bluesey cover version that this band looks like it had fun doing for a 7th Annual Dylan Bday bash:

 

 

Slippin’ and slidin’ like a weasel on the run
I’m lookin’ good to see you, yeah, and we can have some fun
One more weekend, one more weekend with you
One more weekend, one more weekend’ll do

Come on down to my ship, honey, ride on deck
We’ll fly over the ocean just like you suspect
One more weekend, one more weekend with you
One more weekend, one more weekend’ll do

We’ll fly the night away
Hang out the whole next day
Things will be okay
You wait and see
We’ll go someplace unknown
Leave all the children home
Honey, why not go alone
Just you and me

Comin’ and goin’ like a rabbit in the wood
I’m happy just to see you, yeah, lookin’ so good
One more weekend, one more weekend with you
One more weekend, one more weekend’ll do (yes, you will!)

Like a needle in a haystack, I’m gonna find you yet
You’re the sweetest gone mama that this boy’s ever gonna get
One more weekend, one more weekend with you
One more weekend, one more weekend’ll do

“Neighborhood Bully” (1983)

This song is exclusively a series of  terminal rhymed couplets, aa/bb all the way through, except for the end of the verse word “bully,” appearing 11 times, not once rhymed.  I see it as a thematic anti-rhyme, bullying its way through the song having the final say 11 times in conflict with the rhymes that dominate.  It’s tough being the misunderstood bully, Dylan expresses throughout it, and what’s so tough about it is echoed in the discordance of “bully” vs the world of the rhymes living in the song.

I also would like to give attention to the thematic rhyme in verse 10, “for”/”war” appearing in lines that label the bully as a cause for war:

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war

Here’s the studio cut from Infidels with lyrics:

http://www.popmodal.com/video/17195/Neighborhood-Bully-Bob-Dylan-Regarding-Israel–30th-Anniversary

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
His enemies say he’s on their land
They got him outnumbered about a million to one
He got no place to escape to, no place to run
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in
He’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him
’Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac
He’s the neighborhood bully

He got no allies to really speak of
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side
He’s the neighborhood bully

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
He’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
He’s the neighborhood bully

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
He’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
He’s the neighborhood bully

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully

“Mr. Tambourine Man” (1964)

Mr. Tambourine Man” is a treasure trove of rhyming, it is bathed in it; the sounds from it feel poured onto the page and when played they fill the air with a melody that charms while it summons the images the words from it create.  Pictures of “one arm waving free,” going under dancing spells, a sky with no “fences facin” remain emblazoned in my memory.  It is a  skipping reel of rhyme; no, not so much skipping as dyanamo-ing. Terminal rhymes punctuate it and the internal and embedded rhymes drive it, casting indeed a spell that the listener can’t help but want to be and stay under.

Sequences like this rival “Subterranean Homesick Blues” in its rapid fire rhyming:

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Here is Dylan singing it live 1964, a the Newport Folk Festival, with a a brief intro from Peter Seeger:

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

“Moonlight” (2001)

The rhyme scheme in this song is like moonlight, steady and constant, and then suddenly not so, shadowy, ripple-like.  Verses 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 of 8 use a/b/b, with all almost perfect rhymes rhyming with the word “alone.”  a/a/b/c/c/d patterns the fourth and seventh verses, with a bit more assonance added as  kicker to the final rhyming of verse 7: “sea”/”chief”/”thief”/”me.”

Christopher Ricks recognizes the song’s “melodious buoyancy.” This is part poetry, part the way Dylan sings, it, breezy, light with just an edge of pleading, “Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?” over and over again, to end this alone-ness once and for all, the incessant rhyming with “alone” echoing under the moonlight.

 

 

 

The seasons they are turnin’ and my sad heart is yearnin’
To hear again the songbird’s sweet melodious tone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The dusky light, the day is losing, Orchids, Poppies, Black-eyed Susan
The earth and sky that melts with flesh and bone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The air is thick and heavy all along the levy
Where the geese into the countryside have flown
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

Well, I’m preachin’ peace and harmony
The blessings of tranquility
Yet I know when the time is right to strike
I’ll take you cross the river dear
You’ve no need to linger here
I know the kinds of things you like

The clouds are turnin’ crimson–the leaves fall from the limbs an’
The branches cast their shadows over stone
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The boulevards of cypress trees, the masquerades of birds and bees
The petals, pink and white, the wind has blown
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

The trailing moss and mystic glow
Purple blossoms soft as snow
My tears keep flowing to the sea
Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief
It takes a thief to catch a thief
For whom does the bell toll for, love? It tolls for you and me

My pulse is runnin’ through my palm–the sharp hills are rising from
The yellow fields with twisted oaks that groan
Won’t you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

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