“Hazel” (1973)

Waiting for someone, especially someone you love or want to make love to can be torturous. Time seems to stand still when you’re waiting on a friend.  On the cover of Street Legal Dylan looks like he’s waiting for someone or perhaps to go meet someone himself.  But for being up on a hill, that cover is a good visualization for the waiting going on in “Hazel.”  He is still waiting by the end of the song, but in the third verse of four, he complains not about waiting but about his lover still not being where he is:

Oh no, I don’t need any reminder
To know how much I really care
But it’s just making me blinder and blinder
Because I’m up on a hill and still you’re not there


The long i has it in this verse, but that dominance just makes the presence of the short i internal rhyme of “hill”/”still” stand out more.  How much longer?  How long has this waiting been going on?  Well, long enough to feel like he’s going blind from looking for Hazel from the top of the hill she’s not on . . . yet.  Does she get there?  We never know . . . we are left with him playing the waiting game, forever still waiting:
Hazel, you called and I came
Now don’t make me play this waiting game
You’ve got something I want plenty of
Ooh, a little touch of your love
I love how Dylan sings, “Ooh, a little touch of your love . . . an outtake of “Hazel” from the 1994 MTV rehearsals:

“Buckets Of Rain” (1974)

This five verse tight finger picking acoustic song goes along with a six line rhyme scheme of a/b/b/c/d/c, with one exception.  Its lightness and sway have a sound quality that makes the structure seem to disappear or at least not be noticeable perhaps the way all good verse works.

The fourth line of four of the five verses end with “baby.”  The exception is the third verse, which also departs from a/b/b/c/d/c for a/b/b/c/c/c,

Like your smile
And your fingertips
Like the way that you move your lips
I like the cool way you look at me
Everything about you is bringing me

which replaces the word but not the “e” sound in “baby” with the echo rhyme me/me with “Misery,” perhaps giving attention to how the word “misery” has the word “me” in it.

The last verse has an echo rhyme as well (must/must), but it is an internal rhyme with the rhyme at the end of the previous line:

Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well
I’ll do it for you, honey baby
Can’t you tell?

I’m not an expert on instrumental sounds, but this song’s acoustic guitar brings out so well the rhyme sounds; I can hear something from each guitar solo that follows and sets up the lyrics that align so well with the rhythm and pattern the rhymes create.

The song was performed live just once on November 18, 1990. Here is the audio of it.


“Born In Time” (1990)

Smack dab in the middle of “Born in Time” is a leonine rhyme with the word “will.”  A leonine rhyme is an internal rhyme that occurs when the word in the middle of the line rhymes with the last word in the line.  Here’s the verse it’s in:


Not one more night, not one more kiss
Not this time baby, no more of this
Takes too much skill, takes too much will
It’s revealing
You came, you saw, just like the law
You married young, just like your ma
You tried and tried, you made me slide
You left me reelin’ with this feelin’


This is one of Dylan’s many, many longing for/hurting over/pining for love songs.  There’s  a struggle within the speaker in the song.  Here he wants “no more of this.”  But by the end of the song, he says, “You can have what’s left of me.”  The pause in the line with the leonine rhyme is fitting then, thematic even; he pauses over the skill and will this kind of love requires, perhaps saying something he doesn’t mean, or at least we find he doesn’t mean it by the end.
It’s a terrific song.  The whole album, Under the Red Sky, gets lost in the fallout of Oh Mercy‘s quality and rave reviews.  I almost wish Under came out before Oh.
I love how Dylan sings it: