(great site, reading some of the theamatic essays are really insperational and helpful, id suggest the one on Ripple by William C. Dowling to start out(Breaks it down forsure haha))
Hunter's note in Box of Rain says "This lyric is a requiem for King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, a progressive and democratically inclined ruler [and, incidentally, a fan of the Grateful Dead] whose assassination in 1975 shocked us personally."
I always thought that BFA referred to the Yom Kippur War (October 1973) between Israel and the Arabs--the song was written no more than a year or so thereafter, and after all the initial release of the album had the Hebrew and Arabic translations of the lyrics (only to the song BFA).
I spent a lot of time in Israel-- when friends of mine in the states would ask me "who's right, Israel or the Palestinean Arabs?," all I could say was "The truth lies somewhere in between."
http://www.hunterarchive.com/files/lyri ... mpter.html
link to a little shpeel about what was up, at the beginning of that page its just hunter talking about the changes and shit the band went through and what they were feelin theres a short little paragraphh about BFA
But I'm not going worry about philosophical arguments concerning 'the function of poetry' or whatever. I'm singing my song, I feel the world becoming new as I do so, and maybe you will too.