Poetic notions: A look at Bob Dylan’s finest lyrics



By Su Fen Tan

Poetic notions: A look at Bob Dylan’s finest lyrics

Beautiful, poignant, powerful and relevant; some of the tracks here may be decades old, but as one listens to them, you can’t help but feel they hit the nail right on the head. Here are some of our favourite lyrics from the legendary singer-songwriter:


‘Masters Of War’, 1963

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks


‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’, 1965

As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark
Easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred


‘Visions Of Johanna’, 1966

Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa must’ve had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles


‘Nashville Skyline’, 1969

Love is all there is, it makes the world go ’round
Love and only love, it can’t be denied
No matter what you think about it
You just won’t be able to do without it
Take a tip from one who’s tried


‘Forever Young’, 1974

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift


‘Union Sundown’, 1983

Democracy don’t rule the world
You’d better get that in your head
This world is ruled by violence
But I guess that’s better left unsaid


‘Dark Eyes’, 1985

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside
They’re drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide
I live in another world where life and death are memorised
Where the earth is strung with lover’s pearls and all I see are dark eyes


‘The Man In The Long Black Coat’, 1989

Every man’s conscience is vile and depraved
You cannot depend on it to be your guide when it’s you who must keep it satisfied


‘Make You Feel My Love’, 1997

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong


‘Workingman Blues #2’, 2006

There’s an evening haze settling over town
Starlight by the edge of the creek
The buying power of the proletariat’s gone down
Money’s getting shallow and weak


What are your favourite Bob Dylan songs or lyrics? Tell us in the comments sections below.


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