Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Bob Dylan’s best lines

has many great and memorable lines. Here are a few of my favourite lines on specific topics.

Best metaphor
“The harmonicas play the skeleton keys in the rain.”
(Visions of Johanna)

Best religious image
“I never could learn to drink that blood, and call it wine.”
(Tight Connection to My Heart)

Best lines about preaching

“The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies,
I’m preaching the word of God, I’m putting out your eyes.”
(High Water)

Best line about relationship-pain

“With the stitches still mending ’neath a heart-shaped tattoo.”
(Changing of the Guards)

Most vivid image
“Upon the beach where hound dogs bay
At ships with tattooed sails.”
(Gates of Eden)

Most sensuous image

“Her skirt it swayed as a guitar played,
Her mouth was watery and wet.”
(I Don’t Believe You)

Saddest line
“And she never sat once at the head of the table.”
(Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll)

5 Comments:

Jim said...

Huh? The only two I even remotely understand are the last. The rest are baffling. Was he stoned or something?

And on this one-
Best metaphor
“The harmonicas play the skeleton keys in the rain.”

double huh?

Ben Myers said...

Hi Jim: This line about harmonicas is one of Dylan's most profound and poetic lines -- and it's the best description of harmonica-music that has ever been written by anyone.

Next time you hear someone playing a harmonica, ask yourself what it sounds like -- and the answer will be: "skeleton keys in the rain." It's impossible to imagine a more perceptive description of the sound of a harmonica.

Still, I'm glad you liked the line about Hattie Carroll: "She never sat once at the head of the table." This is perhaps my favourite line by Dylan -- every time I hear it, I find the sadness nearly unbearable.

David Williamson said...

I reckon Dylan's finest lines are often found in his song titles:

All the Tired Horses, Gates of Eden
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), Boots of Spanish Leather - all the mystery of a vanished poetic age meets with a sensibility that is at one wary, contrarian, earnest and seeking.

dan said...

Say for me that I'm all right though things get kind of slow

She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.


I've had something of a man-crush on Dylan for several years. Right now I'm hooked on "If you see her, say hello".

David Williamson said...

I reckon Dylan's finest lines are often found in his song titles:

All the Tired Horses, Gates of Eden
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), Boots of Spanish Leather - all the mystery of a vanished poetic age meets with a sensibility that is at one wary, contrarian, earnest and seeking.

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