Ramona, come closer,
Shut softly your watery eyes.
The pangs of your sadness
Shall pass as your senses will rise.
The flowers of the city
Though breathlike, get deathlike sometimes.
And there's no use in tryin'
T' deal with the dyin',
Though I cannot explain that in lines.

Your cracked country lips,
I still wish to kiss,
As to be by the strength of your skin.
Your magnetic movements
Still capture the minutes I'm in.
But it grieves my heart, love,
To see you tryin' to be a part of
A world that just don't exist.
It's all just a dream, babe,
A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
That sucks you into feelin' like this.

I can see that your head
Has been twisted and fed
By worthless foam from the mouth.
I can tell you are torn
Between stayin' and returnin'
On back to the South.
You've been fooled into thinking
That the finishin' end is at hand.
Yet there's no one to beat you,
No one t' defeat you,
'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.

I've heard you say many times
That you're better 'n no one
And no one is better 'n you.
If you really believe that,
You know you got
Nothing to win and nothing to lose.
From fixtures and forces and friends,
Your sorrow does stem,
That hype you and type you,
Making you feel
That you gotta be just like them.

I'd forever talk to you,
But soon my words
Would turn into a meaningless ring.
For deep in my heart
I know there is no help I can bring.
Everything passes,
Everything changes,
Just do what you think you should do.
And someday maybe,
Who knows, baby,
I'll come and be cryin' to you.



Lyrics submitted by Jack, edited by vivavinyl


To Ramona song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment:Joan Baez's biography contains extracts from a letter written by Dylan in which he calls her Ramona - and this song seems to chart what she says were their differences - and Dylan's disenchantment with her political causes/convictions.
    SuitBoyon August 31, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:One song off Dylan's album Another Side Of Bob Dylan, “To Ramona” is one of the last songs of his unplugged, pre-1965 stage. It is a very heartfelt song that touches on the idea of the liberal views of relationships and other beliefs versus the traditional, Christian, southern views of things. In addition to being a popular topic during the mid 60's, it also relates significantly to similar opposing views today. In the song, he speaks to a girl whom he has some kind of a relationship with, and explains to her how he finds the idea of traditional marriage pointless, and doesn't agree with conservative beliefs.

    In the first verse, Dylan says “Ramona, come closer, shut softly your watery eyes. The pangs of your sadness shall pass as your senses will rise.” He is speaking to “Ramona”, one of his many lovers who represents the traditional side of the clashing of traditional and liberal views, mainly relationships, comforting her crying by telling her that once she begins to leave the old, traditional conservative relationship needing to be serious, and can open her mind to the liberal, sexual, fun aspects of relationships (which Dylan follows), the pains of her sadness will fade. The next lines, “The flowers of the city, though breathlike, get deathlike at times.” refer to the fact that while traditional values can be good, they also have their big downfalls. Then with, “And there's no use in tryin', to deal with the dyin', though I cannot explain that in lines.”, Dylan is saying that it is not worth trying to work with something that is set in stone (such as a southern girl's traditional beliefs), but he “cannot explain that in lines” because it is a difficult idea to grip if you're heartfelt about your beliefs.

    “Your cracked country lips, I still wish to kiss, as to be under the strength of your skin.” opens the second verse by telling Ramona that she is a “thick-skinned” woman, and he greatly respects her for that, and her “magnetic movements still capture the minutes [he's] in.” meaning that he spends much of his time with her. The lines, “But it grieves my heart, love, to see you tryin' to be a part of a world that just don't exist. It's all just a dream, babe, a vacuum, a scheme, babe, that sucks you into feelin' like this.” express Dylan's feelings towards traditional beliefs and values, saying that they're just a tactic to keep people within certain restricted boundaries, disallowing them to follow their own values and have a full sense of freedom.

    The lines, “I can see that your head has been twisted and fed by worthless foam from the mouth.” express to Ramona that she has been brainwashed by these senseless ideas of the stricter traditional beliefs. Then, “I can tell you are torn, between stayin' and returnin', on back to the South.” shows that Ramona is trying to decide wether to follow her old roots (which would be back in the south), or change direction and go with the liberal views (which are expanding in the north, where she is currently with Dylan). In the verse's last lines, “You've been fooled into thinking that the finishin' end is at hand. Yet there's no one to beat you, no one to defeat you, except the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.”, Dylan is saying that Ramona is too worried about the consequences of not holding true to the strict traditional beliefs so much that she cannot live freely for herself.

    In the fourth verse, Dylan quotes her by saying, “I've heard you say many times, that you're better than no one, and no one is better than you.”, then he analyzes her words, bringing out some contradiction in her actions, with, “If you really believe that, you know you got nothing to win and nothing to lose.” He shows her that “From fixtures and forces and friends, your sorrow does stem. That hype you and type you, making you feel that you must be exactly like them.” saying that her sadness comes from her surroundings of similar traditional beliefs, which force her to conform and remain exactly like them.

    The last verse finishes Dylan's thoughts to Ramona. He says that, “I'd forever talk to you, but soon my words, they would turn into a meaningless ring.”, which means Dylan would continue with the prudent relationship with her, but their lack of a substantial connection (according to Dylan and the liberal style togetherness) would develop merely into a futile marriage, because, “For deep in my heart
    I know there is no help I can bring.”, Dylan wouldn't be able to forever give her the kind of love she would need. Dylan leaves Ramona with, “Everything passes, everything changes, just do what you think you should do.”, telling her that he believes nothing stays constant in life, but, “someday maybe, who knows, baby, I'll come and be cryin' to you.”, supporting his argument that everything is ever changing, and anything could happen.
    gonsfootballon March 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:It's all just a dream, babe,
    A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
    That sucks you into feelin' like this.

    why has no one commented on this one... you crazy people. this song is one of the greatest dylan songs. it explains so many things and describes pretty much every person i know... well, no, not true. but this song really is great and should be listened to by all.
    pomegranatesROCKon June 12, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:In my opinion this song is mostly about ramona dealing with the dying as he explains in
    the first verse.

    Ramona lost someone or something and he tells her that there is no way to deal with that but to
    let it go. He also knows that she has to deal with the normal feelings associated with death or the loss of something important.

    Details:

    Ramona, come closer,
    Shut softly your watery eyes.
    The pangs of your sadness
    Shall pass as your senses will rise.

    Ramona is dealing with with the loss of something or someone important for her (death).

    And there's no use in tryin'
    T' deal with the dyin',
    Though I cannot explain that in lines.

    But not even he can explain to her how to deal with it...

    But it grieves my heart, love,
    To see you tryin' to be a part of
    A world that just don't exist.
    It's all just a dream, babe,
    A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
    That sucks you into feelin' like this.

    .. he knows that the pain is only in her imagination because everyone tells you that it is
    normal to be sad if someone you love dies. In the end (maybe ten years after) you'll see that
    from a differnt point of view but for the moment it sucks you into feeling like this.
    It also hurts him to know how she feels and that there is no way to make her feel better.

    I can see that your head
    Has been twisted and fed
    By worthless foam from the mouth.

    You've been fooled into thinking
    That the finishin' end is at hand.
    Yet there's no one to beat you,
    No one t' defeat you,
    'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.

    only your own thoughts (promoted mainly by society) are killing you there is nothing
    else that hurts you and if you would ignore it it won't be there.

    From fixtures and forces and friends,
    Your sorrow does stem,
    That hype you and type you,
    Making you feel
    That you must be exactly like them.

    same as before

    I'd forever talk to you,
    But soon lose my words,
    They would turn into a meaningless ring.

    don't know if you have had this before but if you are focused on the pain
    it seems ridiculous if someone is trying to tell you not to feel it thats exactly what he
    is telling her "i know the longer i am talking the less you'll take it serious"

    For deep in my heart
    I know there is no help I can bring.
    Everything passes,
    Everything changes,
    Just do what you think you should do.

    he knows that he can't do anything for her at that moment. She has to figure it out for herself
    and handle the grief as good as she can. He also makes clear that its not the best way to ignore but
    to take the time you need to let is pass.

    And someday maybe,
    Who knows, baby,
    I'll come and be cryin' to you.

    and although he told her all those "wise" words that at that moment when he had a clear mind maybe there might be a day for them playing the game the opposite way around because if the feelings are there
    you can't ignore them no matter how many "to ramona"'s you wrote.

    you can eat me,
    you can beat me
    you can defeat me
    i wont see you
    but
    when you see me
    when you feel me
    and believe me
    i will be you

    morganrileyon February 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I've heard you say many times
    That you're better 'n no one
    And no one is better 'n you.
    If you really believe that,
    You know you got
    Nothing to win and nothing to lose.



    this is my motto in life
    intoodeepon October 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is my favourite song of all time. there is nothing in this song i havent though or felt before, its just so dead on.
    Thebequiffedoneon February 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:To add to that the 'You know you got
    Nothing to win and nothing to lose' finds an echo in 'Like a Rollin' Stone' 's 'when you got nothing you got nothing to lose', providing further evidence that that too is about Baez.
    SuitBoyon January 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Well...what can i say......it is simply a PERFECT song. Fabulous and flawless interpretation on utube by sinead lohan.......but nobody does any of dylan's songs as well as the master himself....
    HonoluluBobon January 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Well...what can i say......it is simply a PERFECT song. Fabulous and flawless interpretation on utube by sinead lohan.......but nobody does any of dylan's songs as well as the master himself....
    HonoluluBobon January 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is the letter to joan baez's mother from bob PRETENDING TO BE JOAN BAEZ. [remember that]

    slopbucket.com/bob/tbob/writtenword/…

    this part of the letter from "joan" is what makes me pretty sure that this song is about Joan Baez.>>"like it was about the time i was
    scratching an trying t bend his elbow off he started
    calling me ramona.
    i swear at first i thought it was some game.
    he kept sayin things like "no use trying" an words like "exist" an
    mummy i swear he even mentioned something about
    crack country lips."
    yowadup7on March 11, 2008   Link

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