There are a few fascinating facts about this song.
First of, Bob Dylan was only 21 when he wrote what Rolling Stones magazine has described as the “greatest protest song by the greatest protest songwriter of his time”.
Secondly, each line of the song is supposedly the beginning of another song. But Dylan did not think he would live long enough to finish all those songs, so he decided go “all in” and put them all in this one. And I guess you can tell, because even if the lyrics are beautiful, it would be a stretch so say that I understand it all.
My favorite line is deep into the 5th verse: “Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison”. Two very vivid and conflicting images, which also sums up the distressing feeling of the song.
A third interesting fact: Patti Smith performed this song in Stockholm when Bob Dylan received the Nobel prize. She was so overwhelmed by emotions that she had to stop and start the song over, which is completely understandable. Her whole story, with her own words here.