06 November 2014

It's about Grace, Tom

Ballad in Plain D
by Bob Dylan
I once loved a girl, her skin it was bronze
With the innocence of a lamb, she was gentle like a fawn
I courted her proudly but now she is gone
Gone as the season she’s taken
Through young summer’s breeze, I stole her away
From her mother and sister, though close did they stay
Each one of them suffering from the failures of their day
With strings of guilt they tried hard to guide us
Of the two sisters, I loved the young
With sensitive instincts, she was the creative one
The constant scapegoat, she was easily undone
By the jealousy of others around her
For her parasite sister, I had no respect
Bound by her boredom, her pride to protect
Countless visions of the other she’d reflect
As a crutch for her scenes and her society
Myself, for what I did, I cannot be excused
The changes I was going through can’t even be used
For the lies that I told her in hopes not to lose
The could-be dream-lover of my lifetime
With unknown consciousness, I possessed in my grip
A magnificent mantelpiece, though its heart being chipped
Noticing not that I’d already slipped
To a sin of love’s false security
From silhouetted anger to manufactured peace
Answers of emptiness, voice vacancies
Till the tombstones of damage read me no questions but, “Please
What’s wrong and what’s exactly the matter?”
And so it did happen like it could have been foreseen
The timeless explosion of fantasy’s dream
At the peak of the night, the king and the queen
Tumbled all down into pieces
“The tragic figure!” her sister did shout
“Leave her alone, --- damn you, get out!”
And I in my armor, turning about
And nailing her to the ruins of her pettiness
Beneath a bare lightbulb the plaster did pound
Her sister and I in a screaming battleground
And she in between, the victim of sound
Soon shattered as a child ’neath her shadows
All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight
I gagged twice, doubled, tears blinding my sight
My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night
Leaving all of love’s ashes behind me
The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet
The words to say I’m sorry, I haven’t found yet
I think of her often and hope whoever she’s met
Will be fully aware of how precious she is
Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me
“How good, how good does it feel to be free?”
And I answer them most mysteriously
“Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?”


Barto said...

I always think of singer Bob Dylan as one of the leading proponents of the Sexual Revolution, the Hippie Movement, "sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll," and all that, right along with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, Warren Beatty, Playboy Magazine, Roe v. Wade, & the Vatican II Council.

Bob Dylan may have, from time to time, poetically expressed something akin to the grace found in the revelation of Christ. But, some good elements can be found in Communism too, such as the value of universal education.

Craig V said...

I don't get it.

Splain Lucy.

BB said...

"You keep telling yourself that, Jane, if it makes you feel better..."

rationalnational said...


You are way off, my friend.


dulac90 said...

I'm having a hard time valuing this particular gift and talent Bob offers.

Barto said...


Thank you, no doubt I am “way off” about many things, but I did read that First Things article on Bob Dylan that you cited. It reminded me that Dylan did become a Christian of some kind for a period of time, and even put out 3 gospel albums.

But now it is reported that he attends a synagogue, and, to the extent that he is religious, practices Judaism.

I used to own one Dylan album, and found his songs somewhat enjoyable. You really can't deny talent. Music is music. Human emotions are universal. I used to like Cat Stevens too, before he became a Mohemmedan.

But if Bob Dylan could be translated into a Catholic bishop or priest, I think he'd take the form and shape of a Cardinal Bernadin or a Fr. Bozek.

I always associated Dylan's 1962 song "Blowin' in the Wind" with the Vatican II Council that, coincidentally, also commenced in 1962. "The answer my friend is blowing in the wind." That's what Dylan sang, and that's what the Vatican II Council said too. Pope John XXIII referred to the Council as a “new Pentecost.” Even today, Pope Francis can't stop preaching about how we all need to be receptive to the new things being revealed today by the "God of surprises."

Perhaps Dylan never was entirely the radical that the Hippies took him to be. He did cohabitate with his Communist girlfriend Suze Rotolo, got her pregnant (she aborted it), broke up with her & then shacked up with Joan Baez. Dylan also admits to being a heroin addict in the 1960s, and introduced the Beatles to cannabis. But I guess none that means that he was an apt hero for the Hippies.

I suppose the issue as to whether Bob Dylan shares blame for the social, moral and sexual decay in that began in the 1960s is akin to the issue as to whether the Vatican II Council is responsible for the collapse of the Catholic Church since the 1960s. Some can say that Bob Dylan and the Vatican II Council both have simply been horribly misunderstood by millions of devoted fans.

But I don’t think so. To me, Bob Dylan and the Vatican II Council stand for everything that a Catholic should be against.

For a singer, what's wrong with Dean Martin? He had a great voice, and I've never heard anyone blame the Sixties Revolution on him.

thetimman said...

Barto, I suggest listening to Time Out of Mind and later albums. After all, blowing in the wind was fifty years ago, and people grow. Bob Dylan is Catholic, hardcore (or at least his music is).

Dulac, you're a good friend, but a Bob Philistine.