Re: Levon Helm dies at 71
RIP, Levon Helm.
A few years ago, I was teaching a poetry unit. I had a lesson planned but ran into a problem that required an emergency change of plans.
"The Weight" was being used with a cell phone commercial, and so I ran off the lyrics before first period. I had the students work in groups to analyze literal meanings of the lyrics and was amazed at the enthusiasm and insights. I had never realized how many religious references were in that song.
I realize Robbie Robertson has claimed it wasn't about religion, but I have my doubts.
The word weight never appears in the actual song but load does appear in the chorus and may refer to sin.
The first stanza is about the traveler trying to find a place to sleep (Mary and Joseph). He is turned away. The setting is Nazareth which is the location of a guitar manufacturor in Pennsyvania but also the home of Jesus.
Every stanza has a reference. The devil and temptation are mentioned. Moses, Luke, and Judgement Day in the following stanzas. At the end, the narrator is waitng in a cannonball to take him away. The Cannonball Express was a mythical train that took people to Heaven.
Btw, I have a friend who claims to know Anna Lee who lives in northwest Arkansas.
"Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."- Noam Chomsky
Last edited by Spitball; 04-20-2012 at 09:21 PM.