Shadows are falling and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well, I've been to London and I've been to 'gay Paris'
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain't looking for nothing in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm moving, but I'm standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear a murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.



Lyrics submitted by roger wilco


Not Dark Yet song meanings
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31 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:He's older...but Sara is still fresh in his mind. At what point do you give up on passion and love? He's been there, done that and everyone asks the same damned questions over and over.
    It's a beautiful song with powerful words, no doubt in that. It must be hard for him when he gives us all so much and god couldn't give him the one thing he wanted most; his love. He's just a man and he needs and wants like the rest of us.
    He has seen more and been more than most of us dream, but Sara isn't there. He was foolish and he knows it. This is a man on the brink of giving up. BUT, there is still a fire in his soul and a love in his heart.
    eek...too deep for me. Many apologies =)
    pictorialpyroon June 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:according to Dylan, this song was pieced together from one-line or two-line verses just scribbled randomly in a notebook he carries to jot down song ideas.

    actually, much of the entire "Time Out of Mind" album was written the same way.

    this song makes me thing of an old man on his deathbed who is recalling the events and feelings of his past life; telling what he's learned in his long years.

    "it's not dark yet, but it's getting there". brilliant.
    roger wilcoon May 29, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Hey, first of all excuse my bad english please. I'm german.
    I've been thinking about this song many times. Mostly while walking my dog in the morning, in the dew and often in the fog. And for me it's that interesting, for it describes the state of ending in general using four situations: ending of a day in the first verse, the ending of love in the second one, ending of "the believing in the good of mankind" in the third und the ending of life in the last verse. This state, when you know something is going to an end, you can't change it, it's out of your control, is a very interesting one. Very, very sad but you knew it all the time: all things must pass.
    PS: one more time: xcuse my bad english please
    wolf-rüdigeron June 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This song is stunning. Already some great commentary going on here so all I'm going to say is this: I'm reading "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde and just stumbled upon this sentence, "Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic." It's early in chapter three in case you want to read it yourself.
    BornIntoThison May 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:As a few others have mentioned, I always viewed this song as Dylan pausing for a bit and reviewing his life thus far: where he now was; where he came from; the impact his life has had on others; the price and toll he has paid, or rather his soul and humanity have paid, for his decision long ago to pursue the life he chose. And all the while he is taking this inventory of his life, and determining his (then) current status as a member of the human race, he, perhaps for the first time in his life feels a real sense of his mortality, and he wonders what, where, and who he will be when it finally ends.

    I've always taken Dylan at his word; that he never viewed himself as only a folk singer, or as a writer of protest songs or even, as he has been referred to ad-nausium as the, "voice of a generation" It wasn't more than a few months ago that the crowd who likes to think of themselves as intellectuals went ballistic that Dylan dared to not only perform in China, but to accept money from the Chinese for performing - which is after all his chosen livelihood and how he makes his living. The attitude of this group was best typified in a NY Times piece written by Maureen Dowd. She was outraged and when on and on about how his accepting money from the Chinese was akin to him selling out everything he ever preached and stood for. Basically, she was disgusted. Whereas everything she claimed Dylan was selling out and every ideal she accused him of betraying were all the very same things Dylan spent his life telling everyone that he wanted no part of. He said he wrote songs, not protest songs, and that he wasn't out to change the world.

    So if Ms. Dowd and her ilk had had their way, Mr. Dylan would never have performed in China. But Dylan obviously knew that introducing his music to a younger generation of Chinese people, perhaps for the first time would cause them to stumble upon the songs and lyrics of "blowin' in the wind" and so many others and maybe this would inspire them and spur their quest for more freedom.

    The reason I wrote so much about the recent controversy over his performance in China is that I think it ties into the major theme of "Not Dark Yet". That Dylan now found himself with scars that won't heal, a soul made of steel, and not even caring about the words the female mentioned in the song went to such great pains to write to him. And in my opinion, the cause of many of these pains he now suffers from were the direct result of all the abuse and ridicule he has taken throughout his career from the likes of Ms. Dowd and others who never bothered to listen to what he said and who would have been able to stifle his message even further had he not possessed the character to ignore them and their dictates as to who he should and shouldn't play for or write about.
    JamesAdieon July 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:it may be my own trite perception of this song, but i believe this song is about inching closer and closer to hopelessness. that is, he is on the verge of losing all hope (and subsequently, care about anything), but he's not quite that far gone. this view of this life is not dark yet, but it's getting there. beautiful way to describe such a terribly sad state.
    chicananerdon January 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I think this is an autobiographical song with Dylan reflecting on his life, his mortality, and how fame and wealth didn't mean much to me. I think the title refers to Dylan getting older, but not dead yet, and regretting some of his actions and people he hurt in his life. I think this might be my favorite Dylan song. I hope I get to see this man perform before it is dark.
    coreythomas86on May 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:He was in a really bad motorcycle accident and it took a long time to heal. I think this fits with what its like to be in really bad pain. That leaves scars that the sun doesn't heal! I will bet riding his motorcycle was a beautiful thing still caused him great pain. I was born here will die here against my will -we have no control we play the hand we are dealt here possibly a near death experience. But pain pure and simple can make death an angel of grace. When it goes dark no more pain but its not dark yet but its getting there!
    deevisvpon October 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i think this song is more of a song about midlife crisis than a dying man. He is reflecting on his life and seeing that although he has accomplished things, they really dont matter (i know it looks like im moving, but I'm standing still) i think it is search for purpose in a life that is getting closer to the end
    zline32on June 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:It has a definite depression vibe, as in clinical as opposed to mere angst. I get the sense he's crying for help: it isn't dark *yet* so maybe he can be saved. Some of the lines ("I ain't looking for nothing in anyone's eyes"; "I just don't see why I should even care") sound like things people say when they're secretly hoping to be given a reason to feel otherwise.
    gracelynon August 15, 2002   Link

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