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Glen Campbell – Gentle On My Mind lyrics

It's knowing that your door is always open and your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch
And it's knowing I'm not shackled by forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
That keeps you in the backroads by the rivers of my mem'ry
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clinging to the rocks and ivy planted on their columns now that bind me
Or something that somebody said because they thought we fit together walking
It's just knowing that the world will not be cursing or forgiving
When I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're moving on the backroads by the rivers of my mem'ry
And for hours you're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clotheslines
And the junkyards and the highways come between us
And some other woman's crying to her mother cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence, tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see you walking on the backroads
By the rivers flowing gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of of soup back from a gurgling, crackling cauldron in some train yard
My beard a roughened coal pile and a dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands round a tin can I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're wavin' from the backroads by the rivers of my mem'ry
Ever smiling, ever gentle on my mind

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  • u
    Maybe sometimes being "the lucky one" is being this woman, and not one of all the others she may have even thought she had wanted to be until she finally realized this connection was stronger than any bond, because it just is, even if she tried or wanted to change it. Which she doesn't. Even if this guy is a vagabond now with a dirty hat, a checkered past, and nothing to his name. It doesn't change the fact that he will continue to walk the backroads of her mind for the rest of eternity.
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  • d
    This is an amazing song, the lyrics are strong enough to hold as a modern day poem.
    To me it's about the feelings of a guy who's constantly on the move and unable to settle and this lady is the nearest thing he has to a home. No matter how bad things get, she's there, in the back of his mind.
    2 replies
  • u
    The singer is telling of how much he appreciates/loves this particular woman because they have a relationship that is unencumbered. She does not want to hold him against his will he needs to be free and when he decides to see her she is welcoming and understands he will not stay forever but will continue to return to her because she accepts him as he is and accepts that he will not be tied down.
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  • u
    Ranked #16 all time greatest song but I would have to rate it higher. She accepts him and that he will not change. At the same time he is always welcome back knowing it will be only for a short time. Few of us would ever agree to such an arrangement which make this such a powerful song. There are no love letters and no signatures on a marriage license. There are no forgotten promises but still there is the connection that keeps him to constantly think about her.

    To me this is the weakest line in the song and at the same time the most meaningful as there is nothing physical such as a home or family to describe their relationship. Only their love and acceptance of each other and they do not care what anyone else thinks. The whole world can think they are crazy but they do not care.

    He has affairs with other women but he has no feelings for them and leaves them crying or upset or whatever, he does not care. The last part from the wheat fields to the junkyard to the cup of soup being cradled in his hands is one of the most picturesque passages of a song that exists any where. You see him riding the rails looking at the back roads of America carrying nothing with him. Ar night he gathers with the other Bums to try and find food. As he holds the cup of soup in his hands he thinks of his love and why he cannot shake the love he has for her yet why can he not settle down with her.
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