I must have listened to the song “Man in the Long Black Coat” a hundred times back when I owned the album Oh Mercy. It’s one of those Bob Dylan songs that admit of many interpretations, and I never pressed too hard to decide what it all means.  I like just letting the images wash through my mind, and they’ve meant different things at different times. Recently I bought the CD again, and on listening to the song now, for the first time it is obvious to me that the man in the long black coat is death.