Tangled Up in Blue


This odd combination of  2 blue flag Iris flowers intrigued me. At first I thought it was one very odd flower.  In time I realized it was 2 flowers that had been growing so close they became intertwined.  I solved this mystery. Another one I could not solved.

The image brought to mind one of Bob Dylan’s classic song, “Tangled Up in Blue” . it is a deeply mysterious song from a classic album “Blood on the Tracks”. I always loved that song particularly the refrain of the words “Tangled up in blue” at the end of each verse. Yet I always had a very hard time trying to figure out what Dylan was getting in the song. What was tangled up in blue?


in the song he talks about meeting a woman at a topless bar.  It is sort of a love song. But not really. They don’t last together for long.

At one point she picks up a book of poems:

“Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true

And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue”


In New Orleans where they met Dylans sings:

“I lived with them on Montagüe Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafés at night
And revolution in the air

Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside

And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue”


Everything about the song is mysterious to me.  Who was the 13th century poet?  Dante was born in the 13th century but straddled the 14th century. Once Dylan said it was Petrach but that can’t be right. I am not sure it matters. I think the references to revolution and slavery suggest freedom but I am not sure how that fits in. If you know more let me know. Enlighten me a lowly pilgrim seeking light.

What is blue? The dress of his mother in the song?  Once he said he was thinking of Joni Mitchell’s also classic album “Blue” that came out in 1971. Amazingly I was actually listening to a radio documentary about the record on CBC radio at the time I was shooting the images of this blue flag iris. What an incredible coincidence? It was almost supernatural.

The song is still mysterious but I like it. The flowers I saw were just about as mysterious. When I untangled them to realize they were two flowers, that made them a little less mysterious. But no less beautiful.

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