Song Mr. Tambourine: Lyrical Poem

Length: 2 Pages 598 Words

Many people assume that songs from the 1960s refer to drugs, and Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man is no exception. The common interpretation of Mr. Tambourine Man is that Dylan refers to visions seen during a drug high. The title supposedly refers to the dealer, while verses such as “lose their grip” and “laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun” lend credence to this claim. This paper argues that there is an alternate and more plausible explication for this lyrical poem. Drug references are available for those who look, but there are no such references in the chorus or the third verses. Instead, this paper argues that the “Mr. Tambourine Man” referred to in the poem is an inspirational figure, and the poet is a follower who struggles—sometimes in vain—to keep up. The lyrical poem begins in the chorus, where the speaker shares his present position. In t Continue...


He is still on the street, he is still "too dead for dreaming. His old values and visions have gone, drained away like slipping sand. However, later on, he states that he stands blind and weary, but still "not sleeping. The first verses of the poem thus tell of an artist, seeking inspiration for a new vision, a new poem, a new song. However, this rime is not "aimed at anyone, as the poet is merely "escaping on the run. The Tambourine Man, according to the author, sees the poet as a "ragged clown. He finds dreaming impossible, and he is trapped and alone on a "dead street. In the next verses, the poet looks back into himself, this time with an awareness of the possible inspiration from the Tambourine Man. The evening's empire is a realm of sleep and dreams, a realm that the poet wants to reach. he first verse, Dylan describes how his "evening's empire has returned into sand. He is almost at the inspiration, but does not quite make it. He further states that this sand has vanished, perhaps slipped through his fingers. The poet now knows that there is the possibility of leaving behind his subconscious fears, symbolized by images of "haunted frightened trees and "foggy ruins of time. The poet is indeed empty, a chaser of shadows. The poet is able to skip "reels of rime in time with the tambourine.