I like this song. I remember the Bob Dylan and Joan Baez versions from my childhood. My favorite version is John Mellencamp’s cover from his Rough Harvest album (which is an all around great abum BTW). Now, as much as I like this song and as many times as I’ve heard it, I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it is about. Perhaps some of you know?
It’s a ducking-out-of-a-relationship song. This is just a guess, but I always figured it’s a goodbye to Joan Baez (which makes it cooler that she covered it), and the world of folk music and radical politics that he was about to disembark from. That’s what I think, anyway.
As for what the specific images mean, it’s anybody’s guess. I fear trying to figure out whether the Camouflaged Parrot is the military or the media or an actual bird in a little army uniform may be putting more thought into it than Dylan did.
I really like the Baez cover too, I always figured it was about the plight of the Roma during WW2. Maybe not now that I think of it.