A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.
The basic function of popular music is to create an environment for courting, lovemaking, and doing the dishes. It's useful because it addresses the heart in the midst of all these activities, and it will always be useful in this very important way.
I always felt I was scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to get a song together.
I had the title poet, and maybe I was one for a while. Also, the title singer was kindly accorded me, even though I could barely carry a tune.
Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered.
When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig. That's about all you can do.
I speak of a clinical depression that is the background of your entire life, a background of anguish and anxiety, a sense that nothing goes well, that pleasure is unavailable and all your strategies collapse.
My sense of proprietorship has been so weak that actually I didn't pay attention and I lost the copyrights on a lot of the songs.
As I approach the end of my life, I have even less and less interest in examining what have got to be very superficial evaluations or opinions about the significance of one's life or one's work. I was never given to it when I was healthy, and I am less given to it now.
I had girlfriends who really irritated me by their devotion to the Beatles. I didn't begrudge them their interest, and there were songs like 'Hey Jude' that I could appreciate. But they didn't seem to be essential to the kind of nourishment that I craved.
I think the term poet is a very exalted term and should be applied to a man at the end of his work. When he looks back over the body of his work and he's written poetry then let the verdict be that he's a poet.
I think that Bob Dylan knows this more than all of us: you don't write the songs anyhow. So if you're lucky, you can keep the vehicle healthy and responsive over the years. If you're lucky, your own intentions have very little to do with this.
We're in a world where there's famine and hunger and people are dodging bullets and having their nails pulled out in dungeons so it's very hard for me to place any high value on the work that I do to write a song. Yeah, I work hard but compared to what?
Most of the time one is discouraged by the work, but now and again by some grace something stands out and invites you to work on it, to elaborate it or animate it in some way. It's a mysterious process.
I have a deep tribal sense. I grew up in a synagogue that my ancestors built. I sat in the third row. My family was decent. They were good people; they were handshake people. So I never had a sense of rebellion.
I read with some amusement my reputation as a ladies' man. My friends are amused by that, too, because they know my life.
I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labor and recompense. I always said I don't want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my song.
My reputation as a ladies' man was a joke. It caused me to laugh bitterly through the 10,000 nights I spent alone.
I don't have any sense or urgency about any of my writing, actually. I don't think mankind will be damaged if I don't put out a new album or a new book.
Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I've practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity.
As a young man, Yeats spoke to me in a way I could understand. Shakespeare I couldn't understand, but Yeats I could. It was his subject matter and also I really admired the way he put his personal life on the line.
There's always a group of songs that I'm working at. Some of them are 10 years old, and some of them are just a few weeks old. I'm always trying to adjust these songs to some position where I can bring them to completion.
In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress.
My mind was always very cluttered, so I took great pains to simplify my environment, because if my environment were half as cluttered as my mind, I wouldn't be able to make it from room to room.