Sometimes it feels like Bob Dylan says: "I practice a faith that's long been abandoned, ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road"

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Hallo Kees,

ik kwam op een stukje wat je geschreven had, wollen sokken voor het opvangtehuis, op je site. Ik zit met een levensgroot dilemma omtrent mijn schapen en googelde wat en vond jou hartverwarmende stukje. Groet, Herder Jozef shepherd of seemingly hopeless but special sheep.

Herder jozef26-03-2014 14:59

Hello Kees:

Your comprehensive parsing of every word and line of “High Water” has made it possible for me to decide, without disagreeing with a single idea of yours, what I believe the point of the song to be:

It’s a labyrinthine cry of anguish, employing more-or-less religious and more-or-less ancient historical and cultural cues, to describe the out-of-control acceleration of the corruption of the American democratic process.

Thanking you again!

Myra Quinn21-03-2014 16:53

I'm so excited to have (finally) discovered your analysis of "High Water (for Charlie Patton)." This song has affected me so deeply for many years. Your comments have clarified and deepened my thoughts about it. Thank you so much for your effort!


Myra Quinn20-03-2014 19:45

Sorry again, It's too late to be a proper worker. Forget all the bullshit that I've posted before and take this one:
I'm sorry, bur you think too much in your own direction but you don't listen attentively to the artist's voice. Dylan is a poet and retrospectively not a religious ideologue anymore. This is already eaten. Just listen to the intonation of the version that he played in Hamburg and notice how I put the quotation marks in the text. Do not get confused by the heels but read attentively the quotation marks and listen, listen, listen. Not only in this song Dylan is an actor as well. And by the way, Dylan IS working with religious pictures, because he is a fabulous painter but not an ambassador of any religious headquarter at all, not at all. Are you crazy?

Hamburg concert:

Lyrics (slightly different)
"Well I'm grinding my life out, steady and sure
Nothing more wretched than what I must endure
I'm drenched in the light that shines from the sun
I could stone you to death for the wrongs that you done"

"Sooner or later you make a mistake,
I'll put you in a chain that you never will break"

"Legs and arms and body and bone
I pay in blood, but not my own.

Night after night, day after day
They strip your useless hopes away
The more I take the more I give
The more I die the more I live"

"I got something in my pocket make your eyeballs swim
I got dogs that could tear you limb from limb"

"I'm circlin' around the Southern Zone
I pay in blood, but not my own.

Another politician pumping out his piss
Another ragged beggar blowing you a kiss
You got the same eyes that your mother does
If only you could prove who your father was"

"Someone must to slipped a drug in your wine
You gulped it down and you lost your mind"

"My head's so hard, it must be made of stone
I pay in blood, but not my own.

How I made it back home, nobody knows
Or how I've survived so many blows
I've been thru Hell, what good did it do?
You bastard! I'm supposed to respect you!"

"I'll give you justice, I'll fatten your purse
Show me your moral virtue first"

"Hear me holler and hear me moan
I pay in blood but not my own.

You pet your lover in the bed
Come here I'll break your lousy head
Our nation must be saved and freed
You've been accused of murder, how do you plead?"

"This is how I spend my days
I came to bury, not to praise"

"I'll drink my fill and sleep alone
I play in blood, but not my own."

Massa s04-03-2014 00:56

The song can as easily be seen as an anti-capitalistic apocrypha as it could biblical.

gold01-03-2014 21:14

In the first verse of Jokerman I think you are missing the statue of liberty reference. Dylan spent much time in NYC. He sings og the idol with (eyes) glowing standing on the water, as well as later refering to liberty sought but not found.

gold01-03-2014 21:03

Door Simone Weil leerde ik inzien dat voor ons verstand hier beneden alles als tegensprekelijk gezien wordt, en dat er, als puntje bij paaltje komt, geen andere oplossing meer overschiet dan de waarheid te gaan zoeken voorbij de contradictie. Dus geen christelijk humanisme meer. Geen compromis meer. Maar beide tegelijk, christen èn humanist; rechtvaardige en tegelijk zondaar, vrij en tegelijk niet vrij. Vermits hier benden alles als relatief gezien wordt (en is) is er hier beneden ook niet zo iets als "de Waarheid". De mens heeft geen weten 'wat', hij heeft alleen een weten 'dat' zegt Wittgnstein. Als 'Waarheid', bestaat, als 'moraal' bestaat, komen ze van elders.
Jaren later pas, nadat ik dit allemaal serieus begrepen had, begon het tot me door te dringen dat het Evangelie dezelfde inzichten leert.

Gisteren tikte ik op internet "tegelijk zondaar en heilig" en ja, hoor, ik kwam terecht bij een Kees De Graaf die de Luther van "simul justus et peccator" en Lucas 18.13. oproept. Dat doet goed aan het hart, niet alleen omdat de mens nu beseft dat de contradictie inderdaad niet langer meer contradictie is in de hemel, maar vooral omdat de mens nu ook met zijn verstand alleen (en niet langer op gezag) verplicht wordt in te zien dat er geen andere 'Weg' is naar de Waarheid dan via de overstijging van de tegensprekelijkheid. Ineens zie ik wat Jezus bedoelde tien Hij zei: "Wat onmogelijk is voor de mens is mogelijk voor God." Van dit besef naar het besef dat Jezus de Weg, de Waarheid en het Leven is, is slechts een kleine wiskundig zekere stap. Laat nu de duisternis maar komen. .

bastiaens laurent25-02-2014 18:05

Hey, I enjoy reading your work:) I was wondering if you have reviewed the song "tempest"? I've read a few times that the titanic sinking was an illuminati hit, that the captain was under orders by the black pope of the Jesuit church to sink the ship. Apparently there were powerful men aboard the ship that had been preventing the creation of the federal reserve bank. A year or two later the private bank was created. A few parts of Tempest caught my ear. First was the part about the captin looking over at the compass and and looked into its face, the needle was pointed downward, he knew he had lost the race. A compass needle never points down, just goes around and around. I think the captin realized he had lost the race and was going to hell. And in the dark illumination remembered bygone years, he had read the book of revelation and filled his cup with tears

Kris Asaro22-02-2014 07:54

Hello Kees,
I'm an artist and I did an exhibition in 2012 titled "Now I Lay Me...". I just came across your website because I was interested in Dylan using lines from that prayer in "Roll On John". I enjoyed reading what you had to say about that song and I look forward to reading more of your writing. Here's a link to a review of my show:
Best wishes,
Charlie Brouwer
540 250 2966
Current project:

Charlie Brouwer17-02-2014 04:45

Greetings! Congratulations, fascinating analyses of B. Dylan's lyrics, much what I would try and do if I didn't have another perspective in mind. May I send a few rough paragraphs to you for your interest? I do take seriously Dylan's own statements of religious/spiritual conviction and witness. Too bad your homepage statement is not also in English! (?). Best Regards from Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA!

Stephen Clarke11-01-2014 16:24

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