Beyond the horizon / Bob Dylan. An improbable future


By Joost Nillissen

Sweetheart, listen, wherever you are, it’s for myself and my friends that my stories are sung, but now that the violet hour approaches, I’ve written a song just for you. I admit I’ve never been too impressed by the hour of our death, but now the heart weakens. We’re not dead yet, but we’re getting there, moving slowly on the stony road that leads us out of this existence. Freud said that. And Bernard Shaw quipped: ‘Don’t try to live forever, you will not succeed. Go tell that to my friends and fans.’

Even though I have been eloquently celebrating life, unfazed by death, I’ll concede that nowadays I sometimes let death affect my attitude toward life. Freud said that. When the hour comes, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll die. I said that.

I can’t believe we’ve lived so long and are still so far apart. You know I’m not too good at conversation, girl. We’re hopeless here in this place, at this time, but Beyond the Horizon, that’s where the future lies for us. In this earthly domain we’ve only known disappointment and pain. It’s behind the sun, at the end of the rainbow, where it will be easy to love. We’re not there yet.

I am wretched.

An angel’s kiss may cause my memories to drown in a bliss that – like us – can’t last forever. But beyond the horizon love will await us and we’ll get there in spring or fall, daytime or nighttime, because someone across that divide has prayed for your soul.

I’m touched with desire. There is not a thing I wouldn’t do for you in this world, I’d keep you warm, throw logs on the fire and build my world around you. We are on our way and even though we’re apart, you should know that we are on the same road, taking the same steps, to that same place where the night winds carry the sweet sound of bells. Remember that movie we’ve seen one time?

Where the treacherous sea beckons I know I will find you just in time at the end of this earthly game. But for now life is dark and dreary, I am weary and weak, I’ve sinned and I’m sorry.

I can’t believe you don’t love me anymore.

In the soft light of morning my eyes will follow you all day, through countries and kingdoms, wherever you go, towards the crimson skies beyond the horizon, down to the bone.

It’s late, I know. I had no idea, nor did I care, but now I know that for whatever reason my life’s been spared.

Beyond the horizon I’ve got more than a life time of loving you.

You might also enjoy: Beyond the Horizon: the sources and the meanings of Dylan’s song

What else is on the site

  • 1: Over 400 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.
  • 2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.
  • 3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.  A second index lists the articles under the poets and poetic themes cited – you can find that here.
  • 4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 
  • 5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.
  • 6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines


  1. It’s much deeper than all that. This song is addressed to neither woman nor man. Remember, we’re discussing the work of Bob Dylan here.

  2. Dylan often leaves quite a bit of room for his listeners to involve themselves in different levels of meaning. As long as one sticks with the lyrics and therefrom presents a coherent theme, one interpretation can be quite as valid as another.

    On the other hand, it is easy to claim that there is a ‘deeper’ (or even a ‘lesser’) meaning without giving any supporting evidence to confirm the assertion.

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