Auld Lang Syne

Wednesday, October 5, 2011



Today's blog will not "strain the brain" as my classmates used to say. I want to talk about Dylan. I have a few favorite songs: Man in the Long Black Coat probably tops my list along with Rainy Day Women #12 and 35, Hurricane, Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, and Times They are A-Changin' to name just a few.

I have listened to Dylan for over 50 years now and his music (see list above) is one of my mainstays when I write (That and Pink Floyd's The Wall and Talking Heads' Burning Down the House). We are fortunate here in Rockland to have WERU radio which plays Dylan on Friday mornings. It is nice be among other Dylan admirers. But what do they do when listening to his music? I write (or dance sometimes). Are there people out there in radio land who whip up amazing pastries while listening? Create art collages? What? I am really curious about this.

I just read an article in the London Guardian newspaper that Dylan is short-listed for the Nobel in Literature. His odds of winning just went from 100/1 to an amazing 10/1. He is up against some pretty heavy-duty poets, including Tomas Transtromer. I vote for Dylan!

I might say here that Bob Dylan is not my only "muse" for writing. I'd add in Dylan Thomas (my two Dylans!). I find both of these amazing poets to be a source of inspiration, both for style and work ethic. Both have created unforgettable poetry. I can look to it for a way "in" to my own thinking, for a boost to my own voice.

A bit ago (a few years ago) I decided to write a poem in homage to these two giants. I post it here for your enjoyment. It is a montage of them and a tribute to poets everywhere. I think you will recognize (or find familiar) the elements that refer to them.

My Dylans

after Bob and Thomas

I’ve been ten thousand miles too,

to hell and back in your hard rain,

been screaming into the good night

a few times and wrote it down like you

just to keep from throwing it all away.

My hands were blazing, my face to the hard

light of my own rainy days, smoking

late but freed still from an obscure childhood.

Been wounded, been down the road

a few times and wrote it down. I needed to

look at your tweed face, your hair

billowed like some fuckin’ angel. Look at me

here with a hard rain fallin’ on my bare head, few

colors shining, ten thousand silver moments ringing.

You knew the grave before it opened.

Times change, time stays toxic. Too full

of blood to taste the way out, too much dust

to see where I’m going. Formed of sand, I too

will trickle away, one grain at a time, and change

is the curse that’s been cast; first let me be last.

Well that is, as they say, it. I've got nothing more for you today. Time to turn on a little Dylan and write. Hell, it's not even Friday!

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