• absoftitanium
  • General Comment:
    This song could well be a conversation between God and Jesus, the 'blue-eyed son'. He is reporting on what mankind has proven himself to be all about. God has given mankind the intelligence, the hands and the free choice to live in paradise, and this is what he has done with it. In the process, God has also given mankind enough rope to hang himself good and proper, for all time.

    The last stanza is not meant as 'Jesus' going back to tell mankind about the error of its ways and try for better things: It is long, long past too late for that, and nothing can be done to forestall the inevitable anyway. No, the last stanza is about sending the Prophet of God down to tell mankind to prepare for the Holocaust; it is coming. It is here. This song is about the coming Apocalypse, and the hard rain is the shitstorm man has brought down upon himself with his wars, his inhumanity to all life, his pollution, his wasteful and profligate ways with fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

    Read the fucking words, people:

    'I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
    I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
    I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
    I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,'

    The twelve misty mountains are volcanoes, the six crooked highways are mankind's dishonesty, the seven sad forests are the dying trees due to changing climates, the dozen dead oceans; have you read about what's happening right now to the world's oceans??

    'I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin',
    Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,'

    Have you ever heard and seen a tsunami? More are coming, all over the world.

    'I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children' is a reference to the child soldiers in Africa. They carry automatic weapons and machetes, supplied by the West, and doing the bidding of the Masters of War, rich white people. Child soldiers are now, not in 1962. This is all prophesy, 50 years on.

    'And I'll tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it,
    And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it,
    And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
    But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
    And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.'

    Mankind has shit the bed, and I am here to tell you about the Fall. The rain that is coming is gonna be one hard motherfucking rain. Think white hot volcanic ash, landing with the impact of machine-gun bullets, covering the earth. Think earthquakes and tsunamis wiping out every part of civilization, think dead oceans, dead forests, worldwide starvation, disease and horror.
  • 5 Replies
  • I like your first paragraph. Sounds good to me. And blue eyes would represent the privileged, I believe.
  • @absoftitanium it's just the light and the darkness.
  • @absoftitanium Not sure what the other two replies are about. @funnyguy: Blue eyes representing the privileged? Huh? Did you actually read his first paragraph? Or listen to the song, for that matter? And @gazza: What's just the light and the darkness?

    Anyway back to @abs. This is the best interpretation I've read of this song. It was my hope that the last stanza meant that some of the most victimized areas would have half a chance of being salvaged, but you're probably right that it's far too late for that. Maybe the prophet is going down with them to bring the souls worth saving up to God in the end. In any case Dylan definitely meant it to refer to the end times, since he once gave this response to a question:

    "No, it's not atomic rain, it's just a hard rain. It isn't the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that's just gotta happen..."
  • @absoftitanium This has to be the best comment in all of songmeanings, I keep coming back to it and feel the same awe every time.
  • @absoftitanium I also have to add that even these dark stormy clouds have a silver lining. The Last Poets tell us about it in "Mean Machine":

    For it was prophesized many centuries past
    That the end will come in a fiery holocaust
    And only the righteous people will survive the blast
    And the Devil's machine will bring about its own end
    And peace, love and joy will reign once again.
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