What does Shelter from the Storm mean?

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Bob Dylan: Shelter from the Storm Meaning

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Shelter from the Storm Lyrics

Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

And if I pass this way...

  1.  

    Lazlo Toth
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    Sep 3rd, 2016 9:42pm report


    This has always seemed to me that this is an idealization of the sanctuary and refuge that only a woman can provide to a man of a certain type. I think that because I'm that type of male, without casting value judgments on other types.

    "In a world of steel-eyed death and men who are fighting to be warm, come in she said I'll give you shelter from the storm"....I work in an office and life is not threatening - but being with a woman to whom I am attracted emotionally and physically, nose to nose, no clothes, only us, feeling, sensing, caressing, embracing, smiling, laying quietly, before or after, nobody and nothing but us, nothing threatening, only now, only us....nothing but that woman can give me that kind of peace and well being.



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 15th, 2016 7:42am report


    When I hear the song, I think of the statue of liberty.



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 14th, 2015 10:32pm report


    I have little doubt that the second to last verse that reads:

    In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
    I bargained for salvation an' they gave me a lethal dose.
    I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    is referencing the place of the crusifixion where the roman soldiers literally "casted lots" for Jesus' clothes. The biblical theme of Christ's death is that he was the innocence offered up for sacrifice for a "scornful" world.

    Earlier the song also referenced the narrator's crown of thorns which is aligns itself with the Crucifixion narrative.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 10th, 2012 10:15pm report


    Consider the possibility that it's about sex. One-eyed undertaker, the woman's 'shelter' - it's a metaphor. Consider it in that context and re-read the lyrics. A one-night stand is inferred - this song comes from a time of free-love. The 'preacher rides a mount'? - meaning the preacher's on a high-horse - judging the acts of copulation between strangers. Every lyric can be explained in this context - "there's a wall between us" - condom? Which, at the risk of being graphic, would explain why the "under-taker blows a futile horn". Every time I hear it I'm more convinced.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  5.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 24th, 2012 9:42pm report


    Firstly i think it it primarily a song to conjure amazing imagery and for your own interpretation and to bob was an ode probly to something [a women, or religion] that had been his rock and he felt was giving him the safty needed.
    'try imagine a place where its allways safe and warm.... come in she said il give you shelter from the storm'
    Theres no permanaent escape from the hardships and uncertaintys of life however the female represents all that is good or a definition of yourself in the uncertainty of life. 'I came in from the wilderness a creature viod of form... cme in she said..'

    Another thought is that its an ode to women or religion which provides him some faith and trust in the something.
    To me the feeling and imagery this song takes me too is a sudden and revelatory appreciation of something that has been a rock and is eternal for man, could be family, a women, religion or just love.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    May 2nd, 2012 5:53am report


    Shelter from the Storm I think was meant to have a double meaning and having a double meaning show how similar the two subjects can be closely related.

    I use to think this song was about love and how all the hardships a man can go through that a woman, warm and welcoming can take a man in and give him "shelter from the storm", a safe haven or home.

    As I listen to it more this song is about being born, living, dying, and regret or sadness for that which was lost. "Her" being death and coming in into death relieves pain and suffering.

    Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
    When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
    I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- The song starts with stating that long before my life time, out of nothing, I came to be.

    And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
    I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
    In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- If I get another chance at life/love I will do my best and not take life/love for granted in a hard world when everything is against you.

    Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
    Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
    Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- This verse makes a strong push for the song to be about love. I think this either means A) nothing needs to be said between two people who love each other, that everything up until now was incomplete "unresolved" but this was did and he's trying to describe the feeling of who ever is listening by saying, hey it's hard to describe this feeling, but imagine a place where it's always safe and warm. OR B) a man goes about his life knowing that death in an inevitable fate, that there's nothing he can do to change that. Every man has some things in life that he wishes he'd finished or changed or done differently and he's trying to imagine a place where all of that worry and angst is lifted off his shoulders...a place where it's always safe and warm.

    I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
    Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail
    Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Basically this just repeats how it's a harsh world out there.

    Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
    With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
    She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Again, "she" can mean a woman/love with the flowers and bracelets symbolizing a wedding...or it can mean death, as in he's suddenly is confronted with death (dies) and the crown symbolizes the weight that is lifted off his shoulders.

    Now there's a wall between us, somethin' there's been lost
    I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed
    Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Either the love/marriage has gone wrong and he and his wife are separated and the love started on a "long-forgotten morn"...or he's now dead, no the other side separated by a wall, he took life for granted, wish he would have done things differently, he started down the path of life long ago on "long-forgotten morn"

    Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
    But nothing really matters much, it's doom alone that counts
    And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Deputy could mean God, one who watches over us and judges us. Preacher is prominent in love/wedding or death/funeral. Nothing else matters its the fate that he's dead and can't return to life or the love is lost and there's no repairing it. Anything he does now is "futile" his/their fate is sealed.

    I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
    And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
    Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Basically he's saying that he's witnessed a lot through his life, experienced a lot. Again...he doesn't know why he's being asked if his fate's been sealed. As in the "question" being...if you could go back and do it differently, would you? He's saying, that's a hopeless question.

    In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
    I bargained for salvation an' they gave me a lethal dose
    I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- The have picked his body/soul for everything, he's reduced now to nothing, almost forgotten. He's tried bargaining for another chance at either life or love. He's even offered up his innocence as if his innocence is him saying...looking, I didn't know, but now I do.

    Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
    Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine
    If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
    "Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm"

    -- Foreign country can either mean death, done, void, nonexistent. Or...single, alone, lost without his love. There's a thin line between having life and losing it...or having love and losing it. Some day he will learn from his mistakes. He then wishes he could turn back time and do it again knowing what he knows now.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 16th, 2011 7:24am report


    He is a fugitive on the run and she took him in and then realized he was a fugitive and turned him in he was executed an started a new life in heaven he was at that time sheltered from the storm.




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