But I could not hold on to her very long
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong
So begins Isis, Bob Dylan’s sprawling Western ballad from his album ‘Desire’. It is a story of romance and grave robbing set to a pulsing backtrack of rhythmic guitar and eccentric violin. Told in the first person, Dylan’s protagonist sets off to seek his fortune and falls in with a nameless stranger on a hunt for treasure.
We set out that night for the cold in the North
I gave him my blanket, he gave me his word
I said, “Where are we goin’?” He said we’d be back by the fourth
I said, “That’s the best news that I’ve ever heard”
It’s only when he gets to their destination that the stranger reveals his unsavoury business.
We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice
He said, “There’s a body I’m tryin’ to find
If I carry it out it’ll bring a good price”
’Twas then that I knew what he had on his mind
But the plan doesn’t work out as intended.
The wind it was howlin’ and the snow was outrageous
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn
When he died I was hopin’ that it wasn’t contagious
But I made up my mind that I had to go on
Things go from bad to worse. The tomb is empty, so our hero decides to dispose of the body and head for home.
I picked up his body and I dragged him inside
Threw him down in the hole and I put back the cover
I said a quick prayer and I felt satisfied
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her
Typically the reunion is less than romantic.
She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead
And then the final reconciliation is a masterpiece of understatement.
She said, “Where ya been?” I said, “No place special”
She said, “You look different.” I said, “Well,I guess”
She said, “You been gone.” I said, “That’s only natural”
She said, “You gonna stay?” I said, “If you want me to, yes”
It’s hard to pick your favourite Dylan track, but when I was doing a mix tape for my sister I put this one on which tells you something. It’s a great song. You can listen to it Here
Congratulations Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize winner.