"Spirit on the Water" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Spirit on the water
Darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking about you baby
I can't hardly sleep

I'm traveling by land
Traveling through the dawn of day
You're always on my mind
I can't stay away

I'd forgotten about you
Then you turned up again
I always knew
That we were meant to be more than friends

When you are near
It's just as plain as it can be
I'm wild about you, gal
You ought to be a fool about me

Can't explain
The sources of this hidden pain
You burned your way into my heart
You got the key to my brain

I've been trampling through m'ud
Praying to the powers above
I'm sweating blood
You got a face that begs for love

Life without you
Doesn't mean a thing to me
If I can't have you
I'll throw my love into the deep blue sea

Sometimes I wonder
Why you can't treat me right
You do good all day
Then you do wrong all night

When you're with me
I'm a thousand times happier than I could ever say
What does it matter
What price I pay

They're braggin' about your sugar
Brag about it all over town
Put some sugar in my bowl
I feel like laying down

I'm as pale as a ghost
Holding a blossom on a stem
You ever seen a ghost? no
But you've heard of them

I see you there
I'm blinded by the colors I see
I take good care
Of what belongs to me

I hear your name
Ringing up and down the line
I'm saying it plain
These ties are strong enough to bind

Now your sweet voice
Calls out from some old familiar shrine
I got no choice
Can't believe these things would ever fade from your mind

I could live forever
With you perfectly
You don't ever
Have to make a fuss over me

From East to West
Ever since the world began
I only mean it for the best
I want to be with you any way I can

I been in a brawl
Now I'm feeling the wall
I'm going away baby
I won't be back 'til fall

High on the hill
You can carry all my thoughts with you
You've numbed my will
This love could tear me in two

I wanna be with you in paradise
And it seems so unfair
I can't go to paradise no more
I killed a man back there

You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time


Lyrics submitted by JoshPowell, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Spirit on the Water" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Spirit on the Water song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commenthave you ever seen a ghost?

    Great song. really campy music but everyonce in awhile theres a line that makes you go O_O evil.
    dieloonyon September 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's interesting how even the best lyricists can create bad poetry:
    "I'd forgotten about you
    Then you turned up again
    I always knew
    That we were meant to be more than friends"

    But the magic of Dylan is the insane amount of poetic thought that goes into each song (20 stanzas in this one), and each song is filled with gems:
    High on the hill
    You can carry all my thoughts with you
    You've numbed my will
    This love could tear me in two

    I wanna be with you in paradise
    And it seems so unfair
    I can't go back to paradise no more
    I killed a man back there

    and the quasi-biblical allusion:
    I've been trampling through mud
    Praying to the powers above
    I'm sweating blood
    You got a face that begs for love
    LoganWalteron May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite song from the album.

    Bad poetry? I think this wasn't even supposed to be deep poetry deserving of analytical thought. Picture a Venn Diagram with two circles: poetic Dylan (think "Highway 51" and "Ballad of Judas Priest...") & front-porch singer/songwriter (think the New Morning album). Poetic Dylan puts poetry to music, but the lyrics come first. Front-porch singer/songwriter Dylan has occasionally corny lyrics, but the music and melody come first. The two spheres overlap, and in the middle you have his perfect mix of poetry and melody (think "All Along the Watchtower"), but a lot of times it's just great poetry to so-so music, or songs like "Spirit on the Water," where Dylan is a traditional singer-songwriter not trying to impress us with lyrics first and foremost.

    This song makes me think of Dylan playing on an old Southern plantation, you know, "Southern Gothic." It's a really pretty love poem, but the lyrics come second. It's about a dependent relationship; he feels like she brings him the happiness he seeks in life, so he's willing to put up with being mistreated:
    "Sometimes I wonder
    Why you can't treat me right
    You do good all day
    Then you do wrong all night

    When you're with me
    I'm a thousand times happier than I could ever say
    What does it matter
    What price I pay"

    I imagine it's a song you'd play drinking wine on a romantic evening at Olive Garden lol
    The romance of it is kind of dysfunctional, as he is putting her on a pedestal, but it is frank about the self-deprecation and self-pity, and the "do-do, do-do" melody is so pretty, it gives it a nostalgic feel. I was going through a similar relationship and the time, and this song meant so much to me because of that. I'm too proud to let my inner hopeless romantic take over, but I feed him a song like this every now and then and he's satisfied ;D
    Shep1986on November 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat instrument makes the "do-do, do-do" sound that pops up all the time as one verse ends another begins? Like right after he sings "Sometimes I wonder" and "You think I'm over the hill". Piano? Keyboard? Organ? or guitar strumming?
    Shep1986on November 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts one of those songs where you want to fall asleep too
    hornbogen34on January 25, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningAmazing how otherwise intelligent people completely fail to even approach the meaning of this song. It is one of the most overtly Christian songs Dylan has done. The song is about his relationship with God, plain and simple. It is not 'quasi-biblical'. The first 2 lines are a paraphrasing of Genesis 1:2. Wake up, people. This song tells you an immense amount about Dylan's life and the quality of his faith.
    uzenzoon August 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's such a badass song :)
    For me it has such great feel of space, freedom and oportunity
    IvekZgon April 16, 2014   Link

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