"Love Minus Zero/No Limit" as written by and Bob Dylan....
My love, she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn't have to say she's faithful
Yet she's true like ice, like fire
People carry roses
And make promises by the hour
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can't buy her

In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love, she speaks softly
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge

The bridge at midnight trembles
The country doctor rambles
Bankers' nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night wind blows cold n' rainy
My love, she's like some raven
At my window with a broken wing

Lyrics submitted by roger wilco

"Love Minus Zero/No Limit" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © AUDIAM, INC

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Love Minus Zero/No Limit song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI have pondered this song for years, and was never able to come up with a decent theory as to what it meant (which is the reason it really thrills me to stumble upon this site), but I have always felt that the subject was not not a person, but rather a (from dylan's point of view) truth of some sort. For instance, Dylan says his love is true, like ice, like fire. Human beings all have flaws, therefore no human being could come close to being as true as something as elemental as ice and fire. Also, in the line "without ideals or violence," once again all flawed human beings possess both ideals and a tendency towards violence of some sort, whereas some kind of deep, concrete truth is the only thing that could attain this level of detachment from human affairs. I think the end line maybe refers to Dylan perhaps realizing that the truth he believed in for so long is not without its flaws also.

    I also just now thought of a song whose first line parallels the last line of this song. In It Aint Me, BAbe, the song begins..."Go away from my window..." Perhaps this is referring to the raven with a broken wing. Of course, I always assumed It Aint Me, Babe referred to an actual woman, and this parallel could make sense of Love Minus Zero/No Limit is indeed about a romantic love. Who really knows?

    This is why I freakin' LOVE Dylan. His lyrics can be interpreted in so many different ways, much like all the poetic greats of the past...how many modern songwriters can claim that?
    lamantedivitaon June 14, 2008   Link

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