Bob Dylan: Jangled Up In Blue

By Larry Fyffe

Metonymic associations be the hallmark of Postmodern poetic and song lyrics, but there are lots of onomatopoeic words floating around on the top of the deep blue Jungian Sea for the taking.

There’s the harsh “jangle which indicates a discordant lack of harmony –  often it’s juxtaposed with the softer-sounding ‘jingle’ – a contrast provided by background singers at the beginning of the lyrics below:

(Jingle jangle, jingle jangle
Jingle jangle, jingle jangle, jingle jangle, jingle jangle)
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way


Dished out to Charles Dickens by the King of Onomatopoeia in the following description of a not-so-well-dressed ghost:

He looked like seventeen gas-light stove pipes
Come together with jingle-jangle bells all over
(Lord Buckley: Scrooge)

Utilized in the poetic lines below to signify discordance on life’s journey:

And by degrees your heart is tangled
Bliss grows apace, and then its course is jangled

(Bayard Taylor: Prelude At The Theatre)

Skipping and swirling onomatopoeia, aided by the rhythm of the dreamy music, pops up in the following masterful lyrics:

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you
(Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man)

‘Jangled’ diction be found once more in the song lyrics below –  featuring another ragged clown who ‘clicked’ his heels – from the “Dylan” album:

I knew a man, Bojangles, and he danced for you
In worn out shoes
Silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants

(Bob Dylan: Mr. Bojangles ~ Walker)


A standard onomatopoeia heard in the song lyrics beneath:

No one knew the circumstance, but they say that 
    it happened pretty quick
The door to the dressing room burst open, 
    and a cold revolver clicked

(Bob Dylan: Lily, Rosemary,  And The Jack Of Hearts)


One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *