Tarantulazarus and Clytia (Tarantula 34 & 35)

by Larry Fyffe


Time twists stories around:

Oh the new sheriff send a letter
Go out and get me Lazarus
Dead or alive, dead or alive ...
Oh Lazarus, Lazarus, his little sister
She come to the funeral
Lord, didn't have no shoes, didn't have no shoes
(Bob Dylan: Poor Lazarus)

In the biblical verses below, Jesus Christ is joined by Lazarus, Martha’s brother, at a supper served in Bethany. Lazarus is not noticed as being there in the other three gospels. For Apostle John, bringing Lazarus back from the dead is surely a sign that Jesus be no ordinary human being, but the supernatural Son of God.

A miracle performed by Jesus that’s worthy of mention indeed:

Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany
Where Lazarus was which had been dead
Whom He raised from the dead
There they made Him a supper
And Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them
That sat at the table with Him
(Gospel Of John 12: 1, 2)

Having Lazarus die a second time crosses the mind of some of those who consider the revival of Martha’s brother a threat to the orthodox religious beliefs of the day:

But the chief priests consulted
That they might put Lazarus also to death
(Gospel Of John 12:10)

The book of Tarantula, by Bob Dylan, from the Third Testament, informs its readers that a sickly “Mark Twain” Zimmerman disguises himself as Jesus; he too orders Martha’s dead brother to come out of the cave in which Lazarus has been buried for four days.

Usually quite calm, Christ gets really upset when he sees nothing move within the tomb.

And he shows it ~ like Yosemite Sam, the supposed Jesus jumps up and down all by himself on the leper’s mummified stomach shouting at the top of his voice “Wake up! Wake up!”

So it seems to state in the lines beneath:

Who after he being refused by Lazarus
jumped on him
in solitude
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

As matters transpire, the Almighty Father is convinced to permit the smart-ass-look-alike to be crucified instead of His Son.

Jesus smiles, and nails the following sign on the old rugged cross that blames Apostle Judas for what happens:

(H)ere lies bob dylan
from behind
by trembling flesh
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Wouldn’t you know it,  Bobby turns things around, and tricks an innocent Libyan into taking his place hanging on the cross.

Quick-as-lightning, before he even knows it himself, Zimmy shape-shifts into a streetcar driven down the tracks by engineer Tennessee Williams:

(B)ut was amazed to discover
that he was already a streetcar
& that was exactly the end of bob dylan
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The streetcar which is named ‘Dylan’ then crashes into Mrs Actually’s funeral home that’s owned and operated by undertaker Edgar Allan Poe:

(H)e now lies in Mrs Actually's beauty parlor
God rest his soul & his rudeness
two brothers & a naked mama's boy who looks like Jesus Christ
can now share the remains of his sickness
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)



& Clytia's sundial missing
- this exact factor missing
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Clytia be a water spirit who is madly in love with Apollo (the name by which the Sun-God from ancient Greek/Roman mythology is usually now known).

The god, he’s okay with the affair, but ‘Fatty’ Aphrodite (Venus) is angry at Clytia because the pretty nymph tells Vulcan (Hephaestus) that his lusty wife’s been running around with Mars (Ares), the God of War.

Venus, Vulcan’s oft-wayward wife, shoots a Cupid dart into the heart of the golden-haired fellow in the sky that causes him to focus all his attention on a virginal Persian princess; there’s just no time left for the airy-fairy Clytia.

The Sun-God tangles up day-time with night-time by hanging around too long, doting on the earth-bound princess.

King Daddy does not like his mortal daughter’s disgraceful conduct with Apollo, and commands that she be buried in the dark cold ground to die.

But, just in time, Apollo retains the soul of his beloved maiden along with her sweet smell by transforming the almost-dirt-covered princess into a frankincense tree.

Meanwhile, tell-tale Clytia gets her due punishment by being fragmented into purple flowers that are required to keep their eyes turned toward the sun all day long.

The mythological story above is somewhat akin to the ambiguous Clytia theme that’s entangled in the song lyrics below:

She's begging to know what measures he now will be taking
He's pulling her down, and she's clutching on to his long golden locks
(Bob Dylan: Changing Of The Guards)

What goes around, comes around.

Goddess Aphrodite falls in lust with the ever-so-handsome mortal Adonis; he goes off hunting in the woods by himself, and is fatally wounded by a wild boar. Though her captain’s now down and out in the underworld, the oh-so-sad, wound-licking Venus has drops of his blood apparently appear each spring in fields splattered with red anemone flowers.

Just then Edgar Poe’s mind-reading detective arrives on the front doorsteps of the three-story house on the hillside … the house is on fire!

Explains Auguste to the Jamaican Edward:

(T)o find out why Bertha shouldnt push the man off the flying trapeze
you dont find out by thinking about it - you find out by being Bertha
- thats how you find out
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Dupin’s obviously speaking to the house-owner concerning Bertha who Ed  locked up in the attic. Bertha’s the long-gone-mad, now-burnt-to-a-crisp Victorian housewife of the dark friend of little orphan Eyre.

Presently blind and left with only one hand, Edward’s now the-one-and-only true love interest of Undertaker Jane (Jamaican Ed calls her his Shirley Temple).

It’s all crammed into a novel by Charlotte Bronte.

At least it is, according to the big black hairy, story-telling Tarantula.

Anyway, in conclusion:

Bertha Mason shook it, broke it
Then she hung it on the wall
(Bob Dylan: High Water)

There’s a happy ending to the story though.

Hungarian Justine, she finally finds his phone number, and makes it with Bo Diddley.


  1. The painting on the wall behind the singer in the above Penalo video is called “The Stages of Life”; by German Christian artist Casper Friedrich –

    The piece of art offers a Romantic Transcendentalist vision – depicted allegorically …

    Nature, a reflection of the grandeur of an Almighty God Who looks after His tiny human creations therein…offers up his only Son to save them.

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