One of Tom Waits’ most beloved songs, Time first appeared on the album Rain Dogs in 1985, which is still considered his masterpiece. And, on this album, the song mentioned above is regarded by most of the critics as the focal point, as well as the poem which best describes both the sources of inspiration found in poets like Ginsberg and Kerouac and the melancholy and the emotion from the entire album.

Of course, there are many interpretations for this particular song, some of them possibly stated by Tom Waits himself. But the beauty of a poem doesn’t lie in what the writer says about it, but in what the reader feels and thinks when reading it.

Thus, I can say that there is a reason why so many characters (Harlow, Napoleon, and Mathilda) are presented in a rain-soaked landscape. Of course, the emotion is the one that conquers it all, especially when the lyrics are accompanied by Tom Waits’ unmistakable voice. But these are all tragic characters and, when paired with each other, they all say the same thing.

Time – eventually it consumes all, whether a pauper or an emperor. Harlow is best known for his theories about maternal separation, social isolation and dependency. Napoleon is the one that tried to conquer the world and now he looks in the mirror, with his invisible fiancé at his side.

These are real characters that have existed in our history. But they are nothing more than symbols in here.

Among these characters appears Mathilda, who is obviously a fictional character. It is in this moment that Tom Waits’ poem becomes even more powerful, since Mathilda is invested with even more realism than the previous two. They were just symbols in Time, but she is real: she is an escort, she is a confident, she is everything everybody else needs her to be (tragic, isn’t it?).

From this point of view, I can say that Time is about appreciating what you already have. Time consumes all. Welcome it just like it is. And never forget to love.

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