Bob Dylan, “Boots Of Spanish Leather”

Absent of history, of their physical descriptions, of a reason why, “Boots of Spanish Leather” laments lost love in a parting dialogue containing some of Dylan’s best poetry. In this melodic dirge, we get the fading glimpse of a relationship as it dissolves into sea spray at sunset. With the verse, “If I had the stars from the darkest night/ or the diamonds from the deepest ocean/ I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss/ for that’s all I’m wishing to be owning,” Dylan offers listeners a pure and simple idea of love: contentment. Perhaps its appeal rests in the song’s symmetry, the back and forth of the conversation that finally loses balance in the last two verses, when the call and response becomes simply a call. Reminiscent of the work of Dylan’s namesake, “Boots of Spanish Leather” finds beauty amid destruction, moving from a problem to a solution neatly, circularly. And don’t we all want that closure after grief, those boots of Spanish leather?

—Hannah Saulters