"Gentle On My Mind" as written by and John Hartford....
It's knowin' that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleepin' bag rolled up
And stashed behind your couch

And it's knowin' I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some lines
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clingin' to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or somethin' that somebody said because
They thought we fit together walkin'

It's just knowin' that the world will not be cursin' or forgivin'
When I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're movin' on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory and for hours you're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the coal mines and the junkyards
And the highways come between us
And some other woman's cryin' to her mother
'Cause she turned and I was gone

I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see
You walkin' on the back roads by the rivers flowin' gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup
Back from some gurglin', cracklin' cauldron in some train yard
My beard a roughenin' coal pile
And a dirty hat pulled low across my face

Through cupped hands 'round a tin can
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're wavin' from the back roads
By the rivers of my memory ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind

Lyrics submitted by faeriellen, edited by emen7

"Gentle on My Mind" as written by John Hartford

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Gentle On My Mind song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThe man wants to be free of commitments , and doesnt want to be tied down.. He is a wanderer and would love to explore the world and travel. Life is a journey.. Someone in his life loves him unconditionally, loves him always whether he's near or far.. And he knows, he will be accepted anytime he comes back, whether he returns physically or by imagination.. That person touched his heart but he is a free spirit and he will wander and roam.. And yet, this object of his affection shall always be in his memory, and will forever be gentle on his mind..
    jambapandaon May 24, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt was written by John Hartford, one of the most amazing musicians this country has ever produced. It seems to be about a hippie and his one true love (wherever she is).

    Hartford says he wrote it in about 15 minutes, after seeing the movie "Doctor Zhivago", which triggered some memories for him. I can't see how they connect, but that's how things go.

    Someplace I read that, shortly after he first wrote it, a female friend visited them, and his wife suggested he play it for her. When he was finished, she was in tears, and said it was the prettiest thing she had ever heard, or words to that effect.

    It's simply brilliant.

    John Hartford died a few years ago, and I still think it's a crime that he got so little recognition for his musical contributions. But as somebody told me at the time, those of us that know him appreciate what he did, and that's enough. And now Glen Campbell is fading away, having just released what he says is his last album, given his failing health (Alzheimers).

    historygeekon September 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationDoes anyone out there have an opinion about the meaning of this song? Too obvious?? is this guy a "player" who'd trying to reform? Is he killing that which he loves?? (GENTLE ON MY MIND - John Hartford)
    pixelperfekton January 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAmazing song! I think it's important to remember when it was written- 1967. Counter-culture, Vietnam, culture of "free-love." Remember Woodstock? Anti-establishment rejecting norms of the past. Agreeing with Jambapanda. Wherever he roams, she's On his mind. He keeps returning to stash his sleeping bag behind her couch. Sweet song.
    Kphudsoon November 08, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNo commitments and none expected, freedom at all cost, no love letters, or official documents, no house to maintain or garden to tend, no outside opinions or unwarranted advice from anyone. His wanderlust has caused problems with her before but he will always love her. She is not the first woman to realize his unwillingness to relinquish his freedom. He is going to party and enjoy life to the fullest no matter what. He loves her, but he will not give up his freedom even if it means living as a homeless hobo. That's my take on it anyway.
    stixtogoon March 17, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe meaning to me about; unconditional love, & free to return to a good
    place of acceptance & security after al our wanderings. is Father God & Jesus their unconditional Love and peace .
    DaveLynn12on September 23, 2015   Link

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