Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie by Bob Dylan (lyrics)

Simply Press Play and Read Along. >> You Will Be Moved!

I typed this up for the Pure Enjoyment it gives me. You really need to hear Bob Dylan read this live before a huge theatre full of people too. Eric Clapton called it his best work EVER.


When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb

When you think you're too old, too young,

too smart or too dumb

When yer laggin' behind an' losin' yer pace

In a slow-motion crawl of life's busy race

No matter what yer doing if you start givin' up

If the wine don't come to the top of yer cup

If the wind's got you sideways with with one hand holdin' on

And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone

And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it

And the wood's easy findin' but yer lazy to fetch it

And yer sidewalk starts curlin' and the street gets too long

And you start walkin' backwards though you know its wrong

And lonesome comes up as down goes the day

And tomorrow's mornin' seems so far away

And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin'

And yer rope is a-slidin' 'cause yer hands are a-drippin'

And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys

Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys

And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe's a-pourin'

And the lightnin's a-flashing and the thunder's a-crashin'

And the windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops a-shakin'

And yer whole world's a-slammin' and bangin'

And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm

And to yourself you sometimes say

"I never knew it was gonna be this way

Why didn't they tell me the day I was born"

And you start gettin' chills and yer jumping from sweat

And you're lookin' for somethin' you ain't quite found yet

And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air

And the whole world's a-watchin' with a window peek stare

And yer good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flying

And yer heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin'

And yer jackhammer falls from yer hand to yer feet

And you need it badly but it lays on the street

And yer bell's bangin' loudly but you can't hear its beat

And you think yer ears might a been hurt

Or yer eyes've turned filthy from the sight-blindin' dirt

And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush

When you were faked out an' fooled white facing a four flush

And all the time you were holdin' three queens

And it's makin you mad, it's makin' you mean

Like in the middle of Life magazine

Bouncin' around a pinball machine

And there's something on yer mind you wanna be saying

That somebody someplace oughta be hearin'

But it's trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head

And it bothers you badly when your layin' in bed

And no matter how you try you just can't say it

And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it

And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head

And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead

And the lion's mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth

And his jaws start closin with you underneath

And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind

And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign

And you say to yourself just what am I doin'

On this road I'm walkin', on this trail I'm turnin'

On this curve I'm hanging

On this pathway I'm strolling, in the space I'm taking

In this air I'm inhaling

Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard

Why am I walking, where am I running

What am I saying, what am I knowing

On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailin'

On this mandolin I'm strummin', in the song I'm singin'

In the tune I'm hummin', in the words I'm writin'

In the words that I'm thinkin'

In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinkin'

Who am I helping, what am I breaking

What am I giving, what am I taking

But you try with your whole soul best

Never to think these thoughts and never to let

Them kind of thoughts gain ground

Or make yer heart pound

But then again you know why they're around

Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down

"Cause sometimes you hear'em

when the night times comes creeping

And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping

And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin'

And you can't remember for the best of yer thinking

If that was you in the dream that was screaming

And you can't remember for the best of yer thinking

If that was you in the dream that was screaming

And you know that it's something special you're needin'

And you know that there's no drug that'll do for the healin'

And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding

And you need something special

Yeah, you need something special all right

You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track

To shoot you someplace and shoot you back

You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler

That's been banging and booming and blowing forever

That knows yer troubles a hundred times over

You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race

That won't laugh at yer looks

Your voice or your face

And by any number of bets in the book

Will be rollin' long after the bubblegum craze

You need something to open up a new door

To show you something you seen before

But overlooked a hundred times or more

You need something to open your eyes

You need something to make it known

That it's you and no one else that owns

That spot that yer standing, that space that you're sitting

That the world ain't got you beat

That it ain't got you licked

It can't get you crazy no matter how many

Times you might get kicked

You need something special all right

You need something special to give you hope

But hope's just a word

That maybe you said or maybe you heard

On some windy corner 'round a wide-angled curve

But that's what you need man, and you need it bad

And yer trouble is you know it too good

"Cause you look an' you start getting the chills

"Cause you can't find it on a dollar bill

And it ain't on Macy's window sill

And it ain't on no rich kid's road map

And it ain't in no fat kid's fraternity house

And it ain't made in no Hollywood wheat germ

And it ain't on that dimlit stage

With that half-wit comedian on it

Ranting and raving and taking yer money

And you thinks it's funny

No you can't find it in no night club or no yacht club

And it ain't in the seats of a supper club

And sure as hell you're bound to tell

That no matter how hard you rub

You just ain't a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub

No, and it ain't in the rumors people're tellin' you

And it ain't in the pimple-lotion people are sellin' you

And it ain't in no cardboard-box house

Or down any movie star's blouse

And you can't find it on the golf course

And Uncle Remus can't tell you and neither can Santa Claus

And it ain't in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes

And it ain't in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons

And it ain't in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices

That come knockin' and tappin' in Christmas wrappin'

Sayin' ain't I pretty and ain't I cute and look at my skin

Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow

Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry

When you can't even sense if they got any insides

These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows

No you'll not now or no other day

Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper mache┬┤

And inside it the people made of molasses

That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses

And it ain't in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies

Who'd turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny

Who breathe and burp and bend and crack

And before you can count from one to ten

Do it all over again but this time behind yer back, my friend

The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl

And play games with each other in their sand-box world

And you can't find it either in the no-talent fools

That run around gallant

And make all rules for the ones that got talent

And it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do

And think they're foolin' you

The ones who jump on the wagon

Just for a while 'cause they know it's in style

To get their kicks, get out of it quick

And make all kinds of money and chicks

And you tell to yourself and you throw down yer hat

Sayin', "Christ do I gotta be like that?

Ain't there no one here that knows where I'm at?

Ain't there no one here that knows how I feel?

Good God Almighty


No but that ain't yer game, it ain't even yer race

You can't hear yer name, you can't see yer face

You gotta look some other place

And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin'

Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burnin'

Where do you look for this oil well gushin'

Where do you look for this candle that's glowin'

Where do you look for this hope that you know is there

And out there somewhere

And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads

Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows

Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways

You can touch and twist

And turn two kinds of doorknobs

You can either go to the church of your choice

Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital

You'll find God in the church of your choice

You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion

I may be right or wrong

You'll find them both

In the Grand Canyon

At sundown


Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie

By Bob Dylan -'73

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Comments 9 comments

G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Wow that was great..and "where do you look?" Have a wonderful day :o) hugs G-Ma

DJ Funktual profile image

DJ Funktual 7 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove Author

I hope people get a chance to hear this. This is quite powerful.

J.Stump profile image

J.Stump 7 years ago from USA


Sandstone 7 years ago

This is Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Henry Thoreau and Dr. Suess combined; pure genius.

Sweet Irene 7 years ago

Anyone who writes off Bob Dylan as nothing but a glorified-hippy-songwriter, who just happened to make it big, needs to listen to this. It'll make them eat their words. Say what you want to about the guy, but don't dismiss his talent.

noelaspill 6 years ago

This sounds great but by the time I found it it had been taken down. Any info on where it came from?

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Wow! I've never heard or seen this one before and I'm not even sure how I found this hub, but thank you so much DJ Functual!

Megalomediac profile image

Megalomediac 4 years ago

Wow - I literally just spent two painstaking hours perfecting the re-posting format of "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie" while listening to the mp3 on amazingly worthwhile yet isolating experience - it's heartening to realize I'm not the only one;-)

Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

The words are wonderful to read. I think it really was fantastic. I only wish I could have found this page before the video had been taken down.

I would so have loved to hear these great words in Dylans┬┤ voice.

Thanks for posting.

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