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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 07:24 GMT 
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This is a great line in the incredible "Pay in Blood". I have been trying to work out what this might mean or even allude to without much success. The term circling often brings sharks to mind, but what or where is the Southern Zone?

Any ideas would be nice to share... Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 07:36 GMT 

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clifford gage wrote:
This is a great line in the incredible "Pay in Blood". I have been trying to work out what this might mean or even allude to without much success. The term circling often brings sharks to mind, but what or where is the Southern Zone?

Any ideas would be nice to share... Thanks


It is one of many great lines in a superlative song. The 'southern zone' reference in the song, like many on Tempest, probably carries more than one meaning. The phrase serves as one of several allusions to America's slavery history and, on a whole other level-the primary one, I think-as a description of this world of sinners, in contrast to the Next One, with the north/south polarity doubling as an up/down orientation.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 07:43 GMT 
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clifford gage wrote:
This is a great line in the incredible "Pay in Blood". I have been trying to work out what this might mean or even allude to without much success. The term circling often brings sharks to mind, but what or where is the Southern Zone?

Any ideas would be nice to share... Thanks


He’d run out of things to rhyme with ’own’ and it just seemed to fit? :wink:

It is a superb line though in a brilliantly mad song. I always picture him flying around on a broomstick cackling maniacally, but I somewhat doubt that’s what he meant.

Circling conjures images of vultures circling for me, that fits the mood of the song too.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 08:27 GMT 
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Pay in Blood is anything but crazy. To me, it's the culmination and endgame of 777 years of spiritual pilgrimage. Every sentiment is a serious instruction to which all believers should take heed.

Even the line "I got dogs can tear you limb from limb"is no throwaway, but harks back to Shakespeare's grand finale "The Tempest.

As for the new bourbon and the iron gates, I always sense that Dylan is creating a new Gate for Heaven before the door is finally closed.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 09:16 GMT 
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clifford gage wrote:
Pay in Blood is anything but crazy. To me, it's the culmination and endgame of 777 years of spiritual pilgrimage. Every sentiment is a serious instruction to which all believers should take heed.


Bloody hell, I thought he was only 77, 71 at the time of recording. Looking pretty good for his age.

What instructions are there? I thought Ikea’s were unclear and hard to follow but Pay in Blood might yet top my flat pack chest of drawers.

clifford gage wrote:
Even the line "I got dogs can tear you limb from limb"is no throwaway, but harks back to Shakespeare's grand finale "The Tempest.

As for the new bourbon and the iron gates, I always sense that Dylan is creating a new Gate for Heaven before the door is finally closed.


I’m saying the song is mad, not meaningless. That’s a brilliant line but it’s truly savage. Bob himself said all songs come from a good or evil place and the songwriter should know which - do you think this one came from a good place? I’m not so convinced.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 09:57 GMT 
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That's what I like about Pay in Blood. It comes from a good place, but on the surface appears not to. We have

Nothing more wretched than what I must endure
I've been through hell
What good did it do?
My conscience is clear; what about you?

Yes, the man has experienced awful times, but what was the result? A clear conscience; a biblical imperative.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 10:19 GMT 
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Yes, hard to believe but Bob had his 777th birthday on Thursday !! :lol:

moab


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 11:58 GMT 
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A Sampling of the Cardinal Directions in Bob Dylan's Lyrics

"We've been to the west and we're going back again."

Girl From the North Country

No Direction Home

"Drove that car as far as we could, abandoned it out west."

"West of the Jordan, east of the Rock of Gibraltar."

"Big Joe Turner looking east and west from the dark room of his mind."

"I see my light come shining from the west unto the east."

"Well I'm looking the world over, looking far off into the east."

"And he’s following a star, the same one them three men followed from the east."

"Heading out for the east coast, Lord knows I’ve paid some dues gettin’ through."

"Starlight in the east and you’re finally released."

"Well I got here followin' the southern star."

"...a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a southern door."

"The sun keeps shinin' and the north wind keeps picking up speed."

"Gonna make a lot of money, gonna go up north."

"Two trains running side by side forty miles wide down the Eastern line."
_______________________________________________________________________
Apparently it all has to do with chasing women, chasing Christ, going home, or making history. So "circling around the southern zone" could be referring to a leg of a tour for all we know. Or the lower parts of some lady's anatomy. Only Bob knows for sure. I always like Mickvet's analyses.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 12:48 GMT 
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There is a theory* that says the line was a cut and paste from John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl."


            93All day the gusty north-wind bore

            94The loosening drift its breath before;

            95Low circling round its southern zone,

            96The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone

See https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/html ... m2302.html

* https://books.google.com/books?id=6Y0wD ... re&f=false
(see footnote #17)


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 13:23 GMT 

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Peggy Night wrote:
There is a theory* that says the line was a cut and paste from John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl."


            93All day the gusty north-wind bore

            94The loosening drift its breath before;

            95Low circling round its southern zone,

            96The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone

See https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/html ... m2302.html

* https://books.google.com/books?id=6Y0wD ... re&f=false
(see footnote #17)


We must not be deluded by the implication that, because lines are borrowed, they are evacuated of meaning or restricted in meaning to the original intention.

If Dylan borrows words or phrases, it seems obvious to me that he does so fully conscious of the meaning expressed by the usage of the original author and also of the potential alternative meaning or meanings in different contexts. This is one reason why he is such a superlative songwriter.

Like any decent poet, he uses words very skilfully to describe concepts which language typically struggles to describe. In the same fashion, our interpretations are likely to fall short. This does not imply, as some others do, that Dylan is mad or simply using words for the sole purpose of a convenient rhyme.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 14:03 GMT 
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Oh my goodness by all means YES, Mickvet! Thank you for stating it so well!


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 14:21 GMT 
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Thanks Peggy for sourcing the line. In that context itseems to make more sense. I never really did think it was about sharks, or vultures for that matter.

So Bob has the sun in mind here... He's seeing himself as That Lucky ol' Sun... Tremendous stuff!


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:05 GMT 
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Mickvet wrote:
We must not be deluded by the implication that, because lines are borrowed, they are evacuated of meaning or restricted in meaning to the original intention.

If Dylan borrows words or phrases, it seems obvious to me that he does so fully conscious of the meaning expressed by the usage of the original author and also of the potential alternative meaning or meanings in different contexts. This is one reason why he is such a superlative songwriter.

Like any decent poet, he uses words very skilfully to describe concepts which language typically struggles to describe. In the same fashion, our interpretations are likely to fall short. This does not imply that Dylan is mad or simply using words for the sole purpose of a convenient rhyme.


I completely agree with you right up until your last sentence which seems a dig at my comments.

When I referred to the song as mad I am not dismissing it as nonsense or questioning Dylan's sanity. I think it's fair to say madness of self and of others is a theme in his works, particularly post-90s. I also think it should be remembered the narrator in a song is not necessarily always Dylan himself and that ultimately what we are appreciating is a work of fiction and imagination. I'm merely saying the song is somewhat mad in subject matter - putting someone in chains, dogs that will tear you limb from limb, stoning to death; fire and brimstone old testament with a bit of pantomime villain thrown in. All the while it remains unclear who the song is directed to (the listener? a specific person? the president!? EVERYONE!?) despite a few political references that may well be a red herring. It seems to fleet in and out of lucidity. He sings it like a madman too now and then - you can hear he malicious smirk as he snarls out “dogs to tear you limb from limb”, he sounds like he is foaming at the mouth! Now, as I say I am not questioning Dylan's sanity, but surreal doesn't really give an accurate descriptor for such an odd song. It's bloody mad certainly by 21st century norms and it's also possibly the best and most exciting song on Tempest.

In terms of "convenient rhyme", not suggesting that it was a cop out or devoid of meaning whatsoever. Rhyme does restrict the writer to an extent though - the possibilities of words one can use are finite, especially when the rhyme runs through the whole song (he already uses "alone" twice) and I am sure even the best wordsmith has puzzled over a tricky line here and there. I suspect Dylan mulls and meditates until he comes up with something like this - abstract, makes little sense outside the context of the song but in the song it works brilliantly. Absolutely not a criticism when it's used to such strong effect or a suggestion the line is meaningless. I am sure Dylan has come out with many such lines in his time.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:35 GMT 
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Some of this song seems to refer to Satan. That antagonist was bound in an unbreakable chain by a mighty angel in the Book of Revelation, prior to being cast into the Abyss.

He was accused of being a "murderer" by Jesus Himself in the Gospel of Saint John


Last edited by clifford gage on Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:37 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:37 GMT 
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clifford gage wrote:
So Bob has the sun in mind here... He's seeing himself as That Lucky ol' Sun... Tremendous stuff!


    I got something in my pocket make your eyeballs swim
    I got dogs could tear you limb from limb
    I`m circling around the southern zone
    I pay in blood, but not my own

In context your conjecture does not seem to quite cover it. He said in the first stanza that the sun (Son) is the light he is standing in.

In this stanza he is talking about making someone cry just by seeing what is in his pocket (reading? or looking at? - perhaps the cross that was thrown up on stage to him so long ago?)

Then he says he owns dogs that are capable of great violence upon your person if you get too close - tearing someone limb from limb is not at all conducive to "rolling 'round heaven all day" in spite of the neat reference to Shakespeare and the literary tie-in to his The Tempest.

And finally there is the repeated reference to the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7 http://biblehub.com/1_john/1-7.htm ).

So can "I'm circling around the southern zone" be intended as you suggest? Or might it be a clue to the much, much deeper meaning found in the whole of Whittier's poem "Snow-Bound"? In other words, "southern" is a red herring in this case: The direction is actually north, and, besides that, it is about so much more than direction itself.

Reading the poem today changed and charged-up my soul.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:50 GMT 
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Mickvet wrote:
...a description of this world of sinners, in contrast to the Next One, with the north/south polarity doubling as an up/down orientation.

I give merit to this idea as well. "Circling around the southern zone" could very plausibly refer to the Never Ending Tour from which Mr. Dylan will only be delivered when he heads North (heaven).

    This is how I spend my days
    I came to bury not to praise
    I`ll drink my fill and sleep alone
    I pay in blood, but not my own


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 15:55 GMT 
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clifford gage wrote:
Some of this song seems to refer to Satan. That antagonist was bound in an unbreakable chain by a mighty angel in the Book of Revelation, prior to being cast into the Abyss.

He was accused of being a "murderer" by Jesus Himself in the Gospel of Saint John

Very insightful. But the blood of Jesus never covers Satan. How do you see the two themes working together?


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:06 GMT 
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Did I say Bob was 777 this week? Sorry for the typo; I normally spot and correct them!

You got your lover in the bed
Come here I'll break your lousy head...
I'll drink my fill and sleep alone..

Perhaps Dylan prefers a wife to a lover. The scriptures indicate you should only share a bed with your marriage partner. A lover could cause head problems...


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:08 GMT 
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Peggy Night wrote:
Mickvet wrote:
...a description of this world of sinners, in contrast to the Next One, with the north/south polarity doubling as an up/down orientation.

I give merit to this idea as well. "Circling around the southern zone" could very plausibly refer to the Never Ending Tour from which Mr. Dylan will only be delivered when he heads North (heaven).

    This is how I spend my days
    I came to bury not to praise
    I`ll drink my fill and sleep alone
    I pay in blood, but not my own


It occurred to me the first time I heard that the song the first two lines (steady and sure/endure) could be about his career and The Neverending Tour, if you buy the whole only doing it out of duty/a special deal schtick. He was possibly was in Glasgow the night he wrote that, if so can’t blame the man for having a moan.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:13 GMT 
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foxy wrote:
clifford gage wrote:
This is a great line in the incredible "Pay in Blood". I have been trying to work out what this might mean or even allude to without much success. The term circling often brings sharks to mind, but what or where is the Southern Zone?

Any ideas would be nice to share... Thanks


He’d run out of things to rhyme with ’own’ and it just seemed to fit? :wink:

It is a superb line though in a brilliantly mad song. I always picture him flying around on a broomstick cackling maniacally, but I somewhat doubt that’s what he meant.

Circling conjures images of vultures circling for me, that fits the mood of the song too.


I knew what you meant, foxy. :)

Especially with the roughness of that VOCAL! Oh my, it is very scary.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:15 GMT 
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clifford gage wrote:
You got your lover in the bed
Come here I'll break your lousy head...
I'll drink my fill and sleep alone..

Perhaps Dylan prefers a wife to a lover. The scriptures indicate you should only share a bed with your marriage partner. A lover could cause head problems...


Thank you. Perfect.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:21 GMT 
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foxy wrote:
He was possibly was in Glasgow the night he wrote that, if so can’t blame the man for having a moan.

Really? How did you find that out? (Is Glasgow moan-worthy? :lol: )


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:25 GMT 
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Peggy Night wrote:
foxy wrote:
He was possibly was in Glasgow the night he wrote that, if so can’t blame the man for having a moan.

Really? How did you find that out? (Is Glasgow moan-worthy? :lol: )


It at one time had the dual achievement of "friendliest city in the world" whilst also being place most likely to get stabbed in Western Europe.

I'm from Glasgow, it's the only Neverending Tour city I can slag off with a clear conscience. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 16:50 GMT 

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foxy wrote:
Mickvet wrote:
We must not be deluded by the implication that, because lines are borrowed, they are evacuated of meaning or restricted in meaning to the original intention.

If Dylan borrows words or phrases, it seems obvious to me that he does so fully conscious of the meaning expressed by the usage of the original author and also of the potential alternative meaning or meanings in different contexts. This is one reason why he is such a superlative songwriter.

Like any decent poet, he uses words very skilfully to describe concepts which language typically struggles to describe. In the same fashion, our interpretations are likely to fall short. This does not imply that Dylan is mad or simply using words for the sole purpose of a convenient rhyme.


I completely agree with you right up until your last sentence which seems a dig at my comments.

When I referred to the song as mad I am not dismissing it as nonsense or questioning Dylan's sanity. I think it's fair to say madness of self and of others is a theme in his works, particularly post-90s. I also think it should be remembered the narrator in a song is not necessarily always Dylan himself and that ultimately what we are appreciating is a work of fiction and imagination. I'm merely saying the song is somewhat mad in subject matter - putting someone in chains, dogs that will tear you limb from limb, stoning to death; fire and brimstone old testament with a bit of pantomime villain thrown in. All the while it remains unclear who the song is directed to (the listener? a specific person? the president!? EVERYONE!?) despite a few political references that may well be a red herring. It seems to fleet in and out of lucidity. He sings it like a madman too now and then - you can hear he malicious smirk as he snarls out “dogs to tear you limb from limb”, he sounds like he is foaming at the mouth! Now, as I say I am not questioning Dylan's sanity, but surreal doesn't really give an accurate descriptor for such an odd song. It's bloody mad certainly by 21st century norms and it's also possibly the best and most exciting song on Tempest.

In terms of "convenient rhyme", not suggesting that it was a cop out or devoid of meaning whatsoever. Rhyme does restrict the writer to an extent though - the possibilities of words one can use are finite, especially when the rhyme runs through the whole song (he already uses "alone" twice) and I am sure even the best wordsmith has puzzled over a tricky line here and there. I suspect Dylan mulls and meditates until he comes up with something like this - abstract, makes little sense outside the context of the song but in the song it works brilliantly. Absolutely not a criticism when it's used to such strong effect or a suggestion the line is meaningless. I am sure Dylan has come out with many such lines in his time.


I put my hands up, I was throwing in a dig at you, because I disagreed with what you said, but you rallied very well here. Dylan does sound 'mad' in the examples you provide, and wouldn't it be very disappointing if this consummate performing artist, whom we all admire so much, didn't? We both agree on Dylan's skills as a writer of words, I'd wager we do on his equal genius at communicating them. However, that he accurately describes himself as a mad-man isn't the same as being one. This is possibly what you meant, anyway, and I may have taken you up wrongly.

This leaves us still having to answer Clifford's question. What's really going on here? Undoubtedly, certain words are chosen for their rhyme, but Dylan's genius is to construct such rhymes while still finding his meaning (of course, there are exceptions). In this particular song, I think Dylan has taken great care with his choice of words. For example, 'they strip your useless hopes away' is an expression of hope, rather than hopelessness by virtue of the word 'useless'. Without it the line would have expressed despair, with it the line is transformed-only useful hopes are worth keeping, anyway.

Which brings me to this 'dog tearing limb from limb' line. I read it as the words of a wicked, not mad, man. Dylan revels in the image, which doesn't mean Dylan's wicked, but brilliantly conjures the image of one who is. Perhaps this man is one searching for an escaped slave? For me, the point of the song is that Christ, 'legs and arms and body and bone' died for this man too, wicked as he is. However, having one's sins paid 'in blood' by Another isn't enough unless one 'swears to uphold the law of God', no matter the cost.

There are many more apparently disconnected scenes, but with projected flashes of deep meaning, following in the song for which I do not pretend to be remotely able to provide a continuous narrative for. Then again, some knowledge is beyond being limited by human reasoning and a certain degree of uncertainty is inherent in being. So, I pass the baton.

[Postscript: just noticed that the lyrics I've been reading on the internet are lamely inaccurate. For example that great 'Another politician pumping out the p@#s' has been reduced to one 'coming out the abyss'! The lyrics at genius.com are better].


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PostPosted: Sat May 26th, 2018, 17:05 GMT 
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Mickver wrote:
For me, the point of the song is that Christ, 'legs and arms and body and bone' died for this man too, wicked as he is. However, having one's sins paid 'in blood' by Another isn't enough unless one 'swears to uphold the law of God', no matter the cost.

That really is the essence.
Mickvet wrote:
There are many more apparently disconnected scenes, but with projected flashes of deep meaning, following in the song for which I do not pretend to be remotely able to provide a continuous narrative. Then again, some knowledge is beyond being limited by human reasoning and a certain degree of uncertainty is inherent in being. So, I pass the baton.

Well done, Mickvet!


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