I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

It has been over a month since we’ve had a post mentioning Bob Dylan. I’ll happily fix that problem. Dylan is about as much poetry as I have the patience for. So for those Philistines among us who don’t sit around cooing over John Donne* poems, Dylan is, really, as good as it gets. Let me note a random sample of lyrics:

I ain’t lookin’ to compete with you,
Beat or cheat or mistreat you,
Simplify you, classify you,
Deny, defy or crucify you.
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.


Now I gotta friend who spends his life
Stabbing my picture with a bowie-knife
Dreams of strangling me with a scarf
When my name comes up he pretends to barf.
I’ve got a million friends.


I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.


You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known


Well, you look so pretty in it
Honey, can I jump on it sometime?
Yes, I just wanna see
If it’s really that expensive kind
You know it balances on your head
Just like a mattress balances
On a bottle of wine
Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat


Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul


Feel free to add your own Dylan, or Dylanesqe lyrical beauties. But don’t feel pressured, after all you’ll probably get another chance next month…

* I like John Donne too.

13 comments for “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

  1. David King Landrith
    November 30, 2004 at 6:20 pm

    Here’s my favorite from the “Don’t go away angry—just go away” category:

       Go lightly from the ledge, babe,
       Go lightly on the ground.
       I’m not the one you want, babe,
       I will only let you down.
       You say you’re lookin’ for someone
       Who will promise never to part,
       Someone to close his eyes for you,
       Someone to close his heart,
       Someone who will die for you an’ more,
       But it ain’t me, babe,
       No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe,
       It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe.

    This is so over the top that makes me laugh out loud to read it.

  2. Kaimi
    November 30, 2004 at 6:26 pm

    Here’s a keeper:

    In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
    I bargained for salvation an’ they gave me a lethal dose.
    I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
    Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.

  3. Kaimi
    November 30, 2004 at 6:30 pm

    P.S. Re your assertion that Dylan is “as good as it gets” — I’m happy to accept that (I very much like Dylan, after all) as long as it is stipulated that that acceptance does not rule out a “co-as good as it gets” designation for Paul Simon, who was also a poet capable of startlingly good stuff.

    (Not that you have to sign on to such designation yourself, just recognize that reasonable parties might choose to do so).

  4. Frank McIntyre
    November 30, 2004 at 6:31 pm

    Those are both beautiful. Shelter from the Storm is a great example of the biblical references running all through Dylan’s lyrics.

  5. Greg Call
    November 30, 2004 at 6:36 pm

    One that the scholars seem to love is this:

    Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
    The Titanic sails at dawn
    And everybody’s shouting
    “Which Side Are You On?”
    And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
    Fighting in the captain’s tower
    While calypso singers laugh at them
    And fishermen hold flowers
    Between the windows of the sea
    Where lovely mermaids flow
    And nobody has to think too much
    About Desolation Row

    I prefer more humble fare:

    It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

  6. November 30, 2004 at 7:07 pm

    You can catch a sample of this song here: http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/peace.html

    Look out your window baby
    There’s a scene you’d like to catch
    The band is playing Dixie
    A man got his hand outstretched
    Could be the Führer
    Could be the local priest
    You know sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    He got a sweet gift of gab
    He got a harmonious tongue
    He knows every song of love
    That ever has been sung
    Good intentions can be evil
    Both hands can be full of grease
    You know that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    Well first he’s in the background
    Then he’s in the front
    Both eyes are looking
    Like they’re on a rabbit hunt
    Nobody can see through him
    No not even the Chief of Police
    You know that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    Well he catch you when you’re hoping
    For a glimpse of the sun
    Catch you when your troubles
    Feel like they weigh a ton
    He could be standing next to you
    The person that you’d notice least
    I hear that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    Well he can be fascinating
    He can be dull
    He can ride down Niagara Falls
    In the barrels of your skull
    I can smell something cooking
    I can tell there’s going to be a feast
    You know that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    He’s a great humanitarian
    He’s a great philanthropist
    He knows just where to touch you honey
    and how you like to be kissed
    He’ll put both his arms around you
    You can feel the tender touch of the beast
    You know that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    Well the howling wolf will howl tonight
    The king snake will crawl
    Trees that’ve stood for a thousand years
    Suddenly will fall
    Wanna get married? Do it now
    Tomorrow all activity will cease
    You know that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

    Somewhere Mama’s weeping
    For her blue-eyed boy
    She’s holding them little white shoes
    And that little broken toy
    And he’s following a star
    The same one them three men followed from the East
    I hear that sometimes
    Satan comes as a man of peace

  7. November 30, 2004 at 10:09 pm

    “as long as it is stipulated that that acceptance does not rule out a ‘co-as good as it gets’ ”

    This should always be stipulated. :) You never know when you might fall in love again — even if you’re sure nobody’s going to break the 4 minute mile by much.

  8. Larry
    December 1, 2004 at 12:20 am


    I think you need to be introduced to Glenn Yarbrough singing Rod McKuen.

  9. Frank McIntyre
    December 1, 2004 at 12:45 am


    I looked that up on Amazon. Please never give me another music recommendation. I had to wash out my computer’s speakers after listening.

  10. December 1, 2004 at 12:05 pm

    I was feelin’ kinda lonesome and blue,
    I needed somebody to talk to.
    So I called up the operator of time
    Just to hear a voice of some kind.
    “When you hear the beep
    It will be three o’clock,”
    She said that for over an hour
    And I hung it up.

    (from Talkin’ World War III Blues)

  11. December 1, 2004 at 9:27 pm

    Yeah! Paul Simon may be as good as it gets. Oh, and Dylan is magnificent, too, of course.
    I was really both intrigued and relieved to read in that recent interview of Dylan that he hated that people tried to make him a spokesman for his generation. He just wanted to have his own life and his own family, and they made that difficult for him…can’t remember where I read it….
    (And a Paul Simon thread wouldn’t go astray!! LOL)

  12. Greg Call
    December 1, 2004 at 9:56 pm

    Peggy, that comes from volume I of Dylan’s new autobiography, Chronicles. People were shocked to hear that he just wanted a middle class life in a leafy suburb.

  13. December 2, 2004 at 4:21 pm


    article about an (upcoming?) Dylan interview

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