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    #1

    I plant a seed

    Hi,
    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.

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    #2

    Re: I plant a seed

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Hi,
    Please, could you help me understand this snippet:

    Sheriff John Brown always hated me
    For what, I don’t 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.
    Yes, it's a metaphor - but I don't understand it (partly because it doesn't make sense - What is the 'it' in the last line? Certainly not the seed. I suppose the problem was that 'Whatever it was that I wanted to grow' just didn't fit ). Perhaps it means 'he stifled my creativity'; but I really don't know.

    b

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    #3

    Re: I plant a seed

    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"

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    #4

    Re: I plant a seed

    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!"

    MrP


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    #5

    Re: I plant a seed

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    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!"
    MrP
    But it doesn't say 'them' - it says 'it' (the seed). I don't think it needs anything like this complex an analysis. The song just uses a standard English metaphor - every time I suggest an idea, he stifles it before the idea has a chance to develop.

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    #6

    Re: I plant a seed

    Gee, being Bob Marley, I always thought he was singing about growing reefer and getting caught doing it.


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    #7

    Re: I plant a seed

    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?

    TIA

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    #8

    Re: I plant a seed

    Like a lot of BM's imagery, I think it's biblical. It's not commonly used.

    b

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    #9

    Re: I plant a seed

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    But it doesn't say 'them' - it says 'it' (the seed). I don't think it needs anything like this complex an analysis. The song just uses a standard English metaphor - every time I suggest an idea, he stifles it before the idea has a chance to develop.
    I agree. For me, "it" refers to seed.

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    #10

    Re: I plant a seed

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Yes, it's a metaphor - but I don't understand it (partly because it doesn't make sense - What is the 'it' in the last line? Certainly not the seed. I suppose the problem was that 'Whatever it was that I wanted to grow' just didn't fit ). Perhaps it means 'he stifled my creativity'; but I really don't know.

    b
    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    But it doesn't say 'them' - it says 'it' (the seed). I don't think it needs anything like this complex an analysis. The song just uses a standard English metaphor - every time I suggest an idea, he stifles it before the idea has a chance to develop.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I agree. For me, "it" refers to seed.
    I don't think we disagree (although we are saying opposite things ) - when I said 'certainly not', I was referring to the sense of 'grow' that equates with 'get bigger'. A seed doesn't do that (except to a trivial extent, before the plumule and the radicle emerge from it).

    b

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