The Great Poet Emily DickinsonThe Great Poet Emily Dickinson    

The World's Premier

Humanitarian Web Resource

line decor
  
line decor
    


Return to Main Poetry Page

“It was known all around that Lily had Jim's ring
And nothing would ever come between Lily and the king.
No, nothin' ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts.”

(Bob Dylan)


This is an epic song with a host of characters and various sub-plots interweaving dramatically, a tale of love and hate, of rogues and thieves, of passion and friendship, of humour and beauty, and much else, with every intense line sung with raw emotion as though it contained the key to the meaning of life, while the fast-paced instrumental backing presses on with a sense of increasing urgency. Simon Rees, March 2007


Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts

Bob Dylan, 1974

The festival was over, and the boys were all plannin' for a fall.
The cabaret was quiet except for the drillin' in the wall.
The curfew had been lifted and the gamblin' wheel shut down,
Anyone with any sense had already left town.
He was standin' in the doorway lookin' like the Jack of Hearts.

He moved across the mirrored room. "Set it up for everyone," he said,
Then everyone commenced to do what they were doin' before he turned their heads.
Then he walked up to a stranger and he asked him with a grin,
"Could you kindly tell me, friend, what time the show begins?"
Then he moved into the corner, face down like the Jack of Hearts.

Backstage the girls were playin' five-card stud by the stair -
Lily had two queens, she was hopin' for a third to match her pair.
Outside the streets were fillin' up, the window was open wide -
A gentle breeze was blowin', you could feel it from inside.
Lily called another bet and drew up the Jack of Hearts.

Big Jim was no one's fool, he owned the town's only diamond mine.
He made his usual entrance, lookin' so dandy and so fine.
With his bodyguards and silver cane and every hair in place,
He took whatever he wanted to and he laid it all to waste.
But his bodyguards and silver cane were no match for the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary combed her hair and took a carriage into town.
She slipped in through the side door lookin' like a queen without a crown.
She fluttered her false eyelashes and whispered in his ear,
"Sorry, darlin', that I'm late," but he didn't seem to hear.
He was starin' into space over at the Jack of Hearts.

"I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinkin' to himself,
"Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf."
But then the crowd began to stamp their feet and the house lights dipped dim
And in the darkness of the room there was only Jim and him,
Starin' at the butterfly who just drew the Jack of Hearts.

Lily was a princess, she was fair-skinned and precious as a child.
She did whatever she had to do, she had that certain flash every time she smiled.
She had come away from a broken home and lots of strange affairs
With men in every walk of life which took her everywhere,
But she'd never met anyone quite like the Jack of Hearts.

The hangin' judge came in unnoticed and was being wined and dined.
The drillin' in the wall kept up but no one seemed to pay it any mind.
It was known all around that Lily had Jim's ring
And nothing would ever come between Lily and the king.
No, nothin' ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary started drinkin' hard and seein' her reflection in the knife.
She was tired of the attention, tired of playin' the role of Big Jim's wife.
She had done a lot of bad things, even once tried suicide,
Was lookin' to do just one good deed before she died.
She was gazin' to the future, riding on the Jack of Hearts.

Lily took her dress off, buried it away.
"Has your luck run out?" she laughed at him, "Well, I guess you must have known it would someday.
Be careful not to touch the wall, there's a brand new coat of paint.
I'm glad to see you're still alive, you lookin' like a saint."
Down the hallway footsteps were comin' for the Jack of Hearts.

The backstage manager was pacing all around by his chair.
"There's somethin' funny going on," he said, "I can just feel it in the air."
He went to get the hangin' judge, but the hangin' judge was drunk,
As the leading actor hurried by in the costume of a monk.
There was no actor anywhere better than the Jack of Hearts.

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 -
And Big Jim was standin' there, you couldn't say surprised -
Rosemary right beside him, steady in her eyes.
She was with Big Jim but she was leanin' to the Jack of Hearts.

Two doors down the boys finally made it through the wall
And cleaned out the bank safe, it's said they got off with quite a haul.
In the darkness by the riverbed they waited on the ground
For one more member who had business back in town,
For they couldn't go no further without the Jack of Hearts.

The next day was hangin' day - the sky was overcast and black.
Big Jim lay covered up, killed by a penknife in the back,
And Rosemary on the gallows - she didn't even blink.
The hangin' judge was sober, he hadn't had a drink.
The only person on the scene missin' was the Jack of Hearts.

The cabaret was empty now, a sign said "Closed for repair."
Lily had already taken all of the dye out of her hair.
She was thinkin' 'bout her father, who she very rarely saw,
Thinkin' about Rosemary and thinkin' about the law,
But most of all she was thinkin' 'bout the Jack of Hearts.

 

Copyright © 1974 Ram's Horn Music

 

Previous page Poetry from Some Favourite Lyrics by Bob Dylan Return to Intro page

Index of Bob Dylan Songs by Title 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Index of Bob Dylan Lyrics by Extract

Back to top

Return to Main Poetry Page


Sister Sites Maintained as Educational Resources by the Same Authors:

Link to: FCT World - Resources on the Unique & Powerful System of Medicine called Field Control Therapy   Link to: Key Toxins - Exclusive Articles, Info & Interviews about Toxicity, the World's Most Pressing Issue
Link to: Tibetan Pulsing World - Resources on the Transformative System of Yoga & Meditation called Tibetan Pulsing   Link to: Deep Energy Healing - Resources on Different Therapies, the Nature of Healing and the Future of Medicine

© Copyright 2007 Simon Rees, Kevin Eakins and SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd.  

Disclaimer: The information at this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The content of this website comprises only the observations and opinions of the authors and contributors: it does not constitute medical advice to readers.

 

  Who Are We?
Contact Us