Sunday, June 28, 2009

my name it don't matter

When I was at university, I really became a confirmed folk music enthusiast. I mentioned to schoolmates, that, Bob Dylan was worthy of a Nobel prise; they softly ridiculed me. A while back, I read, he was nominated. To many, his voice is an obstacle. Some enjoy his work when performed by others. I knew one, whom, thought All along the watchtower, by Jimi Hendrix, was the finest rock song. I loved the voices of Joan Baez and Judy Collins. Those of my acquaintance did not. Many hours I played, listened, and sang to the records I enjoyed.

Dylan was not the only poet/lyricist, I found brilliant. There have been very, few, serious poets of the last half century, in the country, whose verses either sing or sting. Springsteen, Simon, Young and some other musicians have written gems, whilst professors and aesthetes type leaden words. Billy Collins has several delightful poems, some Richard Wilbur, and not much else. Robert Frost was a giant, Sandburg nearly and since their deaths it has fell. I know the russians have Vladimir Semjenovič Vysockij, and I have little familiarity of others.

Some of Dylan's songs took ancient folk melodies, and wedded words that had the same feel. Some lyrics struck deeply.
Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest...
Dylan was a young man, and some of the lines were weary and haggard. There is the knowing desperation, the weltschmerz of the observant powerless. I also knew, that, my name it don't matter, and the land i came from is called the midwest. I, most probably, will never be recognised; and though my name means something to me, it does not to others, but i can place myself in time.
...I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
My youth was sharply earnest. I knew it then, and was not going to reject nor deny it, but with the passage of time, I have grown tired, if not wiser. I was older then, i am younger than that now. Sounds a paradox, but that which i would battle then with gusto and awareness, now still exists, and my sabre is not forged. The passage of time puts me unready for engagement, and i knew that then.

Certainly, there are other readings of Dylan, and he encourages an uncertainty as opposed to an understanding. The material after the early periods sings less to me.

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