Bob Dylan and the Sign of the Cross Parts III and IV

Bob Dylan And The Sign Of The Cross Parts I and II

by Larry Fyffe

Jesus says to the apostle Peter:

And I will give unto thee the keys to the kingdom
(Matthew 16:19)

The monopolization by structured and dogmatic religion of what is the true purpose and meaning of mankind’s existence be the focus of “Sign On The Cross”.

Rendered it be through the ‘stream of consciousness’ technique; the narrator in the song lyrics beneath, is worried:

Well, it's that old key to the kingdom
Well, it's that old sign on the cross 
Like it used to be
(Bob Dylan: Sign On The Cross)

The belief in an Afterlife so earnestly emoted in gospel tunes, the singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan trifles with – turns to travesty.

He’s very like a whale, a wail of sarcasm that lowers it’s head, and charges:

You might think you're weak
But I mean to say you're strong
Yes you are
If that sign on the cross begins to worry you 
That's all right, you just give me a song
And all your troubles will pass right on through
(Bob Dylan: Sign On The Cross)

Though not humorously expressed as above, similar to the motif are the lyrics below:

Play another one, and 'Another One Bites The Dust'
Play 'The Old Rugged Cross', and 'In God We Trust"
Ride the pink horse down the long lonesome rode
Stand there and wait for his head to explod
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)

Odd indeed  that neither Jochen Markhorst nor Tony Attwood, both adherents of the Sound School of Dylanology, can’t make any sense of “Sign On The Cross” by Rorbert Zimmerman.

You see, it’s no longer Pilate’s message that used to be ‘laying’ there – rather it’s Paul’s message that’s ‘lying’ there now:

Well, it's just a sign on the cross
Every day, every night
The sign on the cross
Is laying up on top of the hill
Yes, one thought it might-a disappeared long ago
But I'm here to tell you, friends
That I'm afraid it's lying their still
(Bob Dylan: Sign On The Cross)

Burlesque at its best.

Bob Dylan And The Sign On The Cross (Part IV)

Reverend Bobby stirs up associative medicine lyrics in his Travelling Salvation Show.

Mixes in verses of dark and light:

Every morn, and every night
Some are born to sweet delight
William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence)


Every day, every night ...
Yes, we thought it might
(Bob Dylan; Sign On The Cross)

And this too:

Realms of bliss, realms of light
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to the endless night
End of night, end of night
(Jim Morrison: End Of Night ~ The Doors)

There're more doors thrown into the pot:
Trying to make it to heaven in due time
Before those heaven doors close
(Blues Project: Wake Me Shake Me ~ traditional gospel)

Swirled around with:

Because later on you might find the door
You might want to enter 
But of course the door might be closed
(Bob Dylan: Sign On The Cross)

Not a mostly pink murdered foal in the big pink house, but there are white horses.

The Southern Baptist preacher raves on about the unworthy, and the need for repentance, and salvation:

Well, six white horses that you did promise
Were finally delivered down to the penitenitary
(Bob Dylan: Absolutely Sweet Marie)

Stirred up with:

Well, there are some in, men in prison
And there are some in a penitentiary too
(Bob Dylan: Sign On The Cross)

If you buy a Bob Dylan Secret Decoder Ring, you’ll be able to uncover more clues.

(Available at your local Untold Store)

One comment

Leave a Reply

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