"Ain't Talkin'" as written by and Bob Dylan....
As I walked out tonight in the mystic garden
The wounded flowers were dangling from the vine
I was passing by yon cool crystal fountain
Someone hit me from behind

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Through this weary world of woe
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
No one on earth would ever know

They say prayer has the power to heal
So pray from the mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am a-tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain't going well

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
I'll burn that bridge before you can cross
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
There'll be no mercy for you once you've lost

Now I'm all worn down by weeping
My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry
If I catch my opponents ever sleeping
I'll just slaughter 'em where they lie

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Through the world mysterious and vague
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' through the cities of the plague

Well, the whole world is filled with speculation
The whole wide world which people say is round
They will tear your mind away from contemplation
They will jump on your misfortune when you're down

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Eatin' hog-eyed grease in a hog-eyed town
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Some day you'll be glad to have me around

They will crush you with wealth and power
Every waking moment you could crack
I'll make the most of one last extra hour
I'll avenge my father's death then I'll step back

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Hand me down my walkin' cane
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Got to get you out of my miserable brain

All my loyal and my much-loved companions
They approve of me and share my code
I practice a faith that's been long abandoned
Ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
My mule is sick, my horse is blind
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Thinkin' 'bout that gal I left behind

Well, it's bright in the heavens and the wheels are flyin'
Fame and honor never seem to fade
The fire gone out but the light is never dyin'
Who says I can't get heavenly aid?

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Carryin' a dead man's shield
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' with a toothache in my heel

The sufferin' is unending
Every nook and cranny has its tears
I'm not playing, I'm not pretending
I'm not nursin' any superfluous fears

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Walkin' ever since the other night
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
Walkin' 'til I'm clean out of sight

As I walked out in the mystic garden
On a hot summer day, a hot summer lawn
Excuse me, ma'am, I beg your pardon
There's no one here, the gardener is gone

Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Up the road, around the bend
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
In the last outback at the world's end


Lyrics submitted by SmileAway, edited by Mellow_Harsher, Mikesch

"Ain't Talkin'" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC OBO SPECIAL RIDER MUSIC

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Ain't Talkin' song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI see it as a man who has lost his faith in a faithless world, he may even be a preacher, or a pilgrim
    Everywhere he looks, there is evil and ruthlessness, and all the while he even wants to give into the temptation of evil, he is fighting with himself, he wants to just find his enemies and "slaughter them where they lie." He wants to believe that prayer will heal him, and even though he loves his neighbor and tries to "do good unto others", "Things ain't going well..."
    But he can't give in, his own suffering is "unending", the fire that was once in his heart for his god is now gone, but the light of hope is still there.
    Through out the song, his heart is burnin' and yearnin' for something better, and until he finds it, even if he has to go to the "last outback at the world's end", he will never stop walkin' or looking for that fire, that unconditional love that he is losing every day.
    It's a haunting, beautiful, lonesome, heart wrentching, ballad of indescribable pain, anger, love, and faith
    Not only one of my favorites on the new album, but of all Dylan's songs
    UnForGivenon September 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentanother thing that is interesting is the line
    "who says i cant get heavenly aid?"
    it is very similar to an Adolph Hitler quote
    "and who says im not under Gods specia protection?"
    cheeveson September 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentman, even dylan's apocalyptic songs have barrells of humour in them these days!!

    whatever character is narrating this is one messed up, confused fella - torn between a life of sin and a life of purity - sounds like a soul singer to me!!!

    fascinating, beautiful stuff

    i used to listen to it as i wandered into the city, buildings weeping themselves into being all around me - the mystic garden, truly overgrown!!!

    dylan knocks me all over the place with this one!! aint talkin'?? the guy can't STOP talking!! he's like Hamlet - endlessly procrastinating, his every word gives him away 'cos every second he's TALKING to us he isn't DOING!!!

    he's one siiick puppy!! eight minutes in the company of a very talented chap...
    sugar_b5on January 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthmmm... it sounds to me that the world is the mystic garden that doesn't have a gardener (obviously God)...
    dame13on October 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinetly the best,most mysterious and sinister
    song on the modern times album.
    it will eventually find its way into his greatest hits collection someday.


    it could be told from the eyes of the devil, or a fallen angel.
    cheeveson September 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first heard this song as I was taking a rode trip across the deep south. I bought the album before I left, and by the time I got to this song, I was crossing the Georgia/Florida border late at night, right after it had stopped raining. The smell of wet pavement, the tropical rural landscape, and the stillness of the night are the things that come to mind whenever I listen to this song.
    suarezon November 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment18 stanzas of heart burnin' goodness. I listen to this song as a digression of the human heart. At first, the narrator is still trying to hold onto something good (although unsuccessfully):

    "They say prayer has the power to heal
    So pray from the mother
    In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
    I am a-tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others
    But oh, mother, things ain't going well"

    But the struggle is too much, and the heart is quickly darkened, readily admitting that it will commit evil, if given the chance:

    Now I'm all worn down by weeping
    My eyes are filled with tears, my lips are dry
    If I catch my opponents ever sleeping
    I'll just slaughter 'em where they lie
    LoganWalteron May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgenius
    Dmbcash17@aol.comon October 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me this song is right up there as some of Bob's best work, another "masterpiece".....UnforGiven, i like what you had to say about this songs, makes good sense to me.
    markrobion July 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"They will tear your mind away from contemplation"
    Sounds like the modern internet/FOX News/Paris Hilton world to me.
    Dylan wants to focus on what's important.
    "I'll make the most of one last extra hour"
    Do something meaningful

    "All my loyal and my much-loved companions
    They approve of me and share my code
    I practice a faith that's been long abandoned
    Ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road "
    Reminds me of the film The Road, a post-apocalyptic film about maintaining dignity in anarchy.
    The world today is in moral, spiritual anarchy, nobody's sure if there is any truth with a capital T
    Those who live by a code of honor and justice and love become harder to come by

    I get a sense of quiet desperation from this song
    "No one on earth would ever know"
    "Got to get you out of my miserable brain"
    Also a sense of self-pity that desperately wants to reveal itself
    "Some day you'll be glad to have me around."
    "Got to get you out of my miserable brain"

    It sounds like Dylan misses someone a lot, he must have spent a lot of time with a girl and now it's all over and this source of love is suddenly gone.
    In its place is a vacant emptiness that depresses him
    He's sad, so all he can see of life is sadness:
    "The sufferin' is unending
    Every nook and cranny has its tears"

    But he realizes, if suffering is eternal, then wouldn't good feelings be just as eternal?
    "Fame and honor never seem to fade"
    Good deeds, the source of honor and fame, cannot be erased
    A deed cannot be undone
    Dylan wants to find the source of this, and he's Christian, so
    Maybe he's referring to Jesus when he says:
    "The fire gone out but the light is never dyin' "
    Jesus (the fire) is dead, but the light (Jesus' spirit) lives on
    I think Dylan is running on the fumes of hope, trying to find this source
    Like UnForGiven says,
    He's willing to go to "the last outback at the world's end" to find it

    Great poetic imagery in this song, too! What a perfect song!
    Shep1986on December 09, 2010   Link

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