"Absolutely Sweet Marie" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Well, your railroad gate
You know I just can’t jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet
With all these promises you left for me
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I waited for you when I was half sick
Yes, I waited for you when you hated me
Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic
When you knew I had some other place to be
Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously
But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately

Well, six white horses that you did promise
Were fin’lly delivered down to the penitentiary
But to live outside the law, you must be honest
I know you always say that you agree
Alright so where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I don’t know how it happened, but the
Riverboat captain, he knows my fate
But ev’rybody else, even yourself
They’re just gonna have to wait

Well, I got the fever down in my pockets
The Persian drunkard, he follows me
Yes, I can take him to your house but I can’t unlock it
You see, you forgot to leave me with the key
Oh, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well now, I been in jail when all my mail showed
That a man can’t give his address out to bad company
And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad
In the ruins of your balcony
Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie


Lyrics submitted by oofus, edited by jazztrot

"Absolutely Sweet Marie" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Absolutely Sweet Marie song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationI think the song is about being frustrated that he can't write a song. Marie is the muse. Where are you, tonight, Muse, when I need you? It's so hard to jump the railroad gate and get the song. The trumpet is his instrument--guitar, piano, whatever--that he's waiting to play it on. The promises are promises of inspiration. Muse or fortune or inspiration--all sort of the same.

    In this case, he was locked in a room writing up songs at the studio for the album while the musicians waited. Why he didn't have all the songs ready, I don't know. I guess he waits until the last minute.

    The fever is the the desire to write, the Persian drunkard is the drunkard within that calls him away from his work and that he's having a hard time locking away.

    A lot of his songs are about his relationship with his art. To live outside the law you must be honest, refers (I think) to speaking the truth when you're making unconventional art. I think he was often unsure whether his more surreal songs were just nonsense or poetically truthful.

    One person's opinion.
    Fencingon August 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can't jump it
    Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
    I'm just sitting here beating on my trumpet"

    Sounds like she shuts him out (physically?), so he's forced to take care of his own, uh, "needs".

    Beating on my trumpet?

    Seems fairly obvoius to me. ;-)
    Mr. Blue Skyon October 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is about intraveneous drug use, I believe. The "tracks" it leaves on your arms. Jumping is injecting. "your railroad gate, you know I just can't jump it. Sometimes it gets so hard, you see". After long term use, the arm "tracks" harden over. Infection causes them to "yellow". The "six white horses" are six hits of heroin. The "river-boat captain" is his dealer. etc. etc. He is wondering what, on her trip, Marie is thinking/dreaming about.
    tomconway53on April 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe's longing after a woman that has stood him up / rejected him.

    So he's thinking of her, sitting here "beating on his trumpet"
    originlon August 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthe wanted to sleep with her but she shot him down so he had to take care of it himself
    yourtongueinhisteethon August 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm just sitting here beating on my trumpet
    With all these promises you left for me - been there... really great lines.

    I love it when Bob is that obvious and just sits there and laughs at everyone who's trying to make something more of the song.
    OnlyAPawnInTheirGameon November 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBob rocks
    impossibledreameron April 15, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite line, "To live outside the law you must be honest." Great song from my favorite Dylan album.
    mrjoneson February 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I got the fever down in my pockets"
    Does this mean sexual arousal?
    George Harrison did a great rendition on Dylan's 30th anniv Concert.
    chrisb1on February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Well I wait, Edie, for you, inside the frozen traffic, Edie / When you knew I had some other place to be" listen closely...this is about Sedgwick.
    elephant_rangeon March 19, 2005   Link

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