Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Boots of Spanish Leather by Bob Dylan

Yippee! I'm a poet, and I know it
Hope I don't blow it
Bob Dylan-- I Shall be Free. No. 10

He doesn't blow it. Dylan's song Boots of Spanish Leather not only works well as a poem, it boasts the rhythm, rhyme scheme, refrain and narrative movement of a traditional ballad, revealing some knowledge of the poetic form. Look at the similarities to the medieval Scottish ballad Sir Patrick Spence here (note: Sir Patrick sounds better if you read it with a gritty Scottish accent). Like much of Dylan's work, Boots of Spanish Leather is whimsical and emotional at once, and when the title image finally appears, it's both rewarding and suggestive.


Boots of Spanish Leather

Oh, I'm sailin' away my own true love,
I'm sailin' away in the morning.
Is there something I can send you from across the sea,
From the place that I'll be landing?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love,
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'.
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled,
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden,
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona.

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean,
I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss,
For that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'.

That I might be gone a long time
And it's only that I'm askin',
Is there something I can send you to remember me by,
To make your time more easy passin'.

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again,
It only brings me sorrow.
The same thing I want from you today,
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day,
It was from her ship a-sailin',
Saying I don't know when I'll be comin' back again,
It depends on how I'm a-feelin'.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way,
I'm sure your mind is roamin'.
I'm sure your heart is not with me,
But with the country to where you're goin'.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind,
Take heed of the stormy weather.
And yes, there's something you can send back to me,
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.



Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades.




You can listen to the song here.

11 Comments:

Anonymous bax said...

I *love* it. I am so happy to see PotW showcasing "popular" poetry--and a song, too! Rock on PotW.

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Easily one of the best Dylan songs, and possibly my favorite. Good choice.

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