Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Pity the Poor Immigrant

Bob pities people
Who live evil, selfish lives
Before they repent

I've never understood "I Pity the Poor Immigrant." It's a song that I feel more than comprehend. One of Bob Dylan's most gray, dense and confounding morality tales on the 1967 album "John Wesley Harding," it spends its short running time with the narrator expressing his pity for bad people who do bad things, and them pitying them all the more when everything they believe falls apart and, if I follow the song properly, discover happiness after the abandonment of what they THOUGHT would make them happy. Consider:

The immigrant:
- Wishes he would have stayed home
- Works hard to do evil
- Is always left alone
- Cheats
- Lies (constantly)
- Hates his life but fears dying
- Wastes his strength
- Heaven like Ironsides (the paraplegic detective from the TV show?? The USS Constitution?)
- Cries a lot
- Hears, but can't see
- Falls in love with wealth
- Ignores other people
- Tramples in the mud
- Laughs while building towns of blood

And then the apocalyptic final lines:

"Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass."

I forgive Dylan is redundancy on "final end."

1 comment:

  1. Hello Robert, another slice of musical history. Read enough then come inside Bob Dylan's Music Box http://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/275/I-Pity-the-Poor-Immigrant and listen to all the great versions and relax.