"Cold Irons Bound" as written by and Robert Allen Zimmerman Bob Dylan....
I'm beginning to hear voices and there's no one around
Now I'm all used up and I fee so turned-around
I went to church on Sunday and she passed by
And my love for her is taking such a long time to die
God, I'm waist deep, waist deep in the mist
It's almost like, almost like I don't exist
I'm 20 miles out of town, Cold Irons bound

There's a wall of pride high and wide
Can't see over to the other side
It's such a sad thing to see beauty decay
It's sadder still to feel your heart torn away
One look at you and I'm out of control
Like the universe has swallowed me whole
I'm 20 miles out of town and Cold Irons bound

There's too many people, too many to recall
I thought some of 'em were friends of mine
I was wrong about 'em all
Well, the road is rocky and the hillside's mud
Up over my head nothing but clouds of blood
I found my own, I found my one in you
But your love just hasn't proved true
I'm 20 miles out of town, Cold Irons bound

20 miles out of town, Cold Irons bound

Well the winds in Chicago have turned me to shreds
Reality has always had too many heads
Some things last longer than you think they will
Some kind of things you can never kill
It's you and you only I'm thinking about
But you can't see in, and it's hard looking out

I'm 20 miles out of town, Cold Irons bound

Well the fat's in the fire, and the water's in the tank
And the whiskey's in the jar, and the money's in the bank
I tried to love and protect you because I cared
I'm gonna remember forever the joy we've shared
Looking at you and I'm on my bended knee
You have no idea what you do to me
I'm 20 miles out of town Cold Irons bound
20 miles out of town, Cold Irons bound


Lyrics submitted by nitsirhc

"Cold Irons Bound" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Cold Irons Bound song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentGo to youtube, you will find Dylan with a cowboy hat on, and in a cowboy
    cut suit, just like Hank Williams use to wear on stage. This song was done
    live on a movie set for Masked, and Anonymous. From the album, Time Out
    of Mind. There is, NO SHADOW of ANY DOUBT it's Dylan at his very best.
    The video is close, and tight. The band is on fire, and over the top.
    The lyrics are superb. I know cold irons bound, is slang for prison, but
    the lyrics go deeper. This is a little after his second marriage had gone south.
    So, the drift is just that, but still it goes deeper than anything that I have listened to from Dylan. My parents had Woody, and Hank, but my generation had the Bobcat. I'm a fortunate son to have seen Bob live, twice. We have All
    been fortunate to drink from is music.
    closecallon August 02, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo responses? This is one of Dylan's best!!!
    Anyway, I'm not too sure what it means, but I think it goes along with the themes of isolation and regret found elsewhere on "Time Out of Mind".
    suarezon September 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlthough it's not often mentioned, it is important to note that much of "Time Out of Mind" (including the title itself) comes from phrases used in "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan. The phrase "twenty miles out of town in cold irons bound" comes from the description of the prisoners in the castle of the Giant Despair. This incredible song seems to be a song about a man struggling with sin and pride and the frustration that his desires of his sinful nature trap him in despair and prevent him from getting closer to God.

    By the way, don't miss the amazing live version of this song featured on the Masked and Anonymous soundtrack!
    coldironson May 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment.......above is fine post "coldirons"
    HonoluluBobon July 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOr, think about this is how a man creates a hell for himself, then trying to escape, well there is no escape without cold irons bound when he has to return to his failure.
    mfalconesson January 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnybody here read the Dark Tower series by King? It is like this song
    mfalconesson January 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks for the info about pilgrims progress i didn't know that. i must read it. i think dylan has always borrowed heavily from poetry, even his name. for me this song is about the loss of a powerful relationship in which the narrator thought he had discovered himself and which he thought would be everlasting, but it wasn't.
    enochsoameson October 18, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think "cold irons bound" means he's on his way to jail; maybe he killed her. "Up over my head nothing but clouds of blood."
    nemer001on May 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is really about Norma Jean Baker a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe and Dylans' childhood fantasies about her. Norma Jean was born in Harlan County, Ky. to poor parents who worked in the coal mines (COLDIRON, KY. MINE # 1) and made moonshine whiskey as a means of survival. When Dylan struck out on his own his means of travel was by Greyhound bus and one of his ventures was to visit the home town of Marilyn Monroe (NORMA JEAN BAKER) and the nearest town with a bus depot was Pineville Ky. which is 20 miles exactly from Cold Iron, Ky, thus cold iron bound!!!!
    kynativeon September 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song Comparison"...I'm going back to New York City; I do believe I've had enough...."
    "...I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes; You'd know what a drag it is to see you..."
    "....we're idiots, babe..."

    ....what i'm wondering is if there was a 'state of dylan' whether desolation row was a quick bus ride to cold irons bound, right past maggie's farm?
    blizon October 20, 2014   Link

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