Please, could you help me understand this snippet:
Sheriff John Brown always hated me
For what, I donít know
Every time that I plant a seed
He said, kill it before it grows
What kind of seed? Is it a metaphor?
Thanks in advance.
The quote is, of course, a verse from Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff". The general story of the song is that the singer - say Marley himself - has been consistently harrassed by the sheriff - named in the song as John Brown. We don't know what for, although past theories I have seen say racial prejudice. One day Marley decides to leave town, runs into Brown who is planning to kill Marley, and Marley shoots Brown in self defence.
There are two schools of thought as to what the metaphorical seed might be. One is that it represents a thought, or idea. In this case Brown would be saying: "Whatever Marley wants/tries to do in this town, he shouldn't be allowed to do it." The second theory is that the seed represents children. Considering the racial angle, this would mean Brown is saying something like: "Kill black people as children because they'll only cause trouble when they get older".
The fact that Brown plans to kill Marley, even as Marley is leaving town and therefore ceasing to be a problem to Brown, makes me feel that the more sinister theory is probably the correct one. Remember, the verse does not say Brown actually killed children, but that he said it would be a good idea. I am only guessing, but it seems something a racist would be likely to say.
There is a great analysis of the song at the following link:
Geoffrey Philp's Blog Spot: A Fable of Freedom: "I Shot the Sheriff"
Yes; "destroy it before it becomes a (metaphorical) seedling".
The next line ("He said, Kill them before they grow") supports AJ's "more sinister" theory; or suggests a series of metaphorical seedlings.
I have always liked the mitigating circumstance: "But I didn't shoot the deputy, your honour!"
Gee, being Bob Marley, I always thought he was singing about growing reefer and getting caught doing it.
Thanks a lot!
I did try to find some parsing on the Net, but failed.
Another thing that makes me wonder is
Every day the bucket goes to the well
One day the bottom will drop out
It means There's a limit to one's patience, I think. Is it a commonly used metaphor?
Like a lot of BM's imagery, I think it's biblical. It's not commonly used.