They sat together in the park
As the evening sky grew dark
She looked at him and he felt a spark
Tingle to his bones
'Twas then he felt alone
And wished that he'd gone straight
And watched out for a simple twist of fate

They walked along by the old canal
A little confused, I remember well
And stopped into a strange hotel
With a neon burnin' bright
He felt the heat of the night
Hit him like a freight train
Moving with a simple twist of fate

A saxophone someplace far-off played
As she was walkin' on by the arcade
As the light bust through a beat-up shade
Where he was waking up
She dropped a coin into the cup
Of a blind man at the gate
And forgot about a simple twist of fate

He woke up, the room was bare
He didn't see her anywhere
He told himself he didn't care
Pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside
To which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate

He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks
Hunts her down by the waterfront docks
Where the sailors all come in
Maybe she'll pick him out again
How long must he wait?
One more time, for a simple twist of fate

People tell me it's a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin
But I lost the ring
She was born in spring
But I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate

Lyrics submitted by typo

Simple Twist of Fate Lyrics as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Simple Twist of Fate song meanings
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  • +10
    General CommentI always saw this as a sad song about meeting your soulmate, but the time just wasn't right for you. You spent one great night with her and didn't realize this WAS the person you're supposed to be with until it was too late.
    jersey73on May 08, 2004   Link
  • +7
    My InterpretationI'm thinking they met by chance, like he just bumped into her. I think the "go straight" comment means he took a different path randomly. Like he took the long way home for a change.

    So then they hung out and he fell for her. 'Lightning struck' so to speak, at least for him. She either felt the same way but bailed for some reason, or she just had some no consequences banging and didn't feel the same way about him.

    I think she liked him, but sees the relationship casually. Perhaps she just fails to grasp the potential that's there for something more. He calls her his 'twin'. We are what we value. So he discovers someone that that values what he himself values. Perhaps she does too, but just doesn't appreciate how rare and important that is. Consider her dropping the coin in the blind man's cup. Why is that in there? She is patronizing someone that cannot see her for what she is. She gives herself to someone almost impulsively, without thinking. Dylan, I think, laments this fact.

    Hearing the ticking of the clocks is obviously a reference to feelings of getting older. In this context I think is afraid that he is running out of chances to meet someone that he can relate to. The parrot comment may be explained as a reference to "parrot" used as a verb and not a noun.

    The definition:

    Verb 1.parrot - repeat mindlessly; "The students parroted the teacher's words"
    echo, repeat

    I think the guy is obsessing about this girl and can't get his mind off of her. His thoughts are parroting the circumstances and it is bugging the hell out of him. Just my thoughts.

    He then discusses waiting at the docks for her. I think this is an allusion to waiting for one's ship to come in. Think about soldier returning home to their families. You always see them getting off of ships into the joyful arms of their families that have been patiently awaiting their return. There's that moment of searching through a crowd of people that all look the same for that special someone you long for. Dylan is comparing his longing for this woman (or anyone that he relates to in a similar fashion) to this. Even the possibility the next ship breaking the horizon is what you are looking for is enough to get your hopes up.

    Thern there's the last bit:

    "People tell me it's a sin
    To know and feel too much within."

    I think he believes that people are too cautious with their emotions. He obviously isn’t, and feels that while there is bigger risk, there is bigger reward. She was the perfect fit for him (in his mind) and that is something that people should be willing to risk heartache for. That he “lost the ring” could be interpreted as losing the reward.

    The born in spring/too late part could be a reference to just bad timing or circumstances. A stretch would be that often animals are born in spring have an advantage as more food and warmer weather early on helps survival rates. Those born later are not so lucky and this timing is all about fate. That said, he probably blames himself for things not working out (like there is a reason she wasn’t as in to him or she just didn’t open her eyes to the possibility). He feels that he (or just this particular instance) is somehow defective due to circumstances that he does not understand and cannot control (a simple twist of fate).

    My two cents as conveyed in a conversation with another. I welcome any thoughts on this from you people.
    mrbeechumon April 19, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General Comment"She was born in the spring. I was born too late."

    When it comes to love and soulmates, timing can be everything; and it's really heartbreaking when everything is right except for the timing.
    Sylviedon February 09, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentDylan never ceases to touch me and my life through his songs, it is almost uncanny just how he hits you where it matters, and feels the most, these lines for instance:

    "He told himself he didn't care, pushed the window open wide,
    Felt an emptiness inside to which he just could not relate."

    I just sat with my mouth open the first time I heard that. Such a perfect description of how it feels to lose track of someone you think or know that you will one day grow to love.
    531on March 05, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe line about "He felt a spark tingle to his bones/'twas then he felt alone"...I can't say I can think of a single couplet that better sums up the way that people feel when they first meet a girl that's going to become a part of their life. That sudden tingle, and then the feeling of being completely open and vulnerable, in that it's just you and her. Incredible writing.
    FScottFitzgeraldsBookson August 29, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationOh, this is such a sad tune. I take it as Dylan met this great woman and he instantly knew she was someone special to him. I don't think Dylan meant that much to the woman though.

    This song is saying great love requires fate. No matter how hard someone tries to make their own fate, it wont work. The real, authentic fate is in the hands of the gods and you cannot fool the gods. Those who are meant, are meant.

    Dylan understands that and he understand that the timing was off for him and this woman. He sort of curses fate.
    ash22a5on April 07, 2016   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMan... Beautiful beautiful song. I get this sad feeling when I listen to this song, and then think about her...
    DarkLedBetteron July 06, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. It's fantastic on the bootleg series. I've always felt like Bob Dylan was relaying the message of seeing that one beautiful person who took your breath away. Maybe you talked, maybe you didn't. But the result was just the same: fate left you empty handed. The song is pretty straight forward. It's also pretty f'in sweet.
    Grandureon February 03, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGod, I'm sick of everybody turning every song on this site into a song about either being gay or drugs. THIS SONG HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOMOSEXUALITY. GET OVER IT.
    HyperBullyon February 12, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationTo me the song is when you meet that person you've been waiting for, but you came too soon or too late, just the wrong time. Just as simple and painful as that.
    WoodyDeleonon August 31, 2011   Link

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