Friday, September 14, 2012

Tempest (Part II)... "Love is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken"

"My heart is cheerful, it’s never fearful”

Is it possible to do southern Gothic with a sunny disposition?
Sure it is, if you throw in plenty of nods to William Shakespeare.

After receiving it in the mail earlier this week and giving it a few listens I am not disappointed.
Of course I’ll need some more time to digest it but here are a few first thoughts…

Dylan songs are always an exhibition in how to make a fine lyrical stew.
The guy just throws about anything in the pot, never mixing metaphors mind you, and somehow it just works.
One of the great things about Dylan is how he has always confounded people, particularly the ones who think he is speaking for them or is on their side. He always finishes his point by making a weird or unexpected turn.
That said, I think maybe he’s on my side.
There’s a great line in Martin Scorce’s “No Direction Home” where Pete Seeger marvels at all of the different women that show up in Bob Dylan’s music. He says something to the effect that no man on earth has the time, much less the where with all, to have been in as many different relationships that Dylan references. Well, clearly women and relationships are a favorite lyrical device of Dylan’s.

So on that note, I’m just going to throw out a few lines that have struck me on this album and let you in on what sort of woman seems to fascinate Dylan the most, particularly as he seems to be getting a kick out of his twilight years.

From "Duquesne Whistle" 
You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going
You’re like a time bomb in my heart
I can hear a sweet voice gently calling
Must be the Mother of our Lord

"Soon After Midnight" 
Charlotte’s a harlot. Dresses in Scarlett
Mary dresses in green.
It’s soon after midnight, and I’ve got a date with the Fairy Queen.

In "Narrow Way" 
If I cant work up to you
You’ll surely have to work down to me someday
Look down angel from the skies
Help my weary soul to rise
I kissed the cheek.I dragged the plow
You broke my heart.I was your friend till now

Ive got a heavy stacked woman with a smile on her face
And she has crowned my soul with grace
I’m still hurting from an arrow
That pierced my chest
I’ve going to have to take my head
And bury it between her breasts

Hmmm...sometimes he's in awe and sometimes he has tongue firmly in cheek. But there's always some hint or whisperings about the beauty, grace and danger of the feminine genius going on here

I think people have a hard time with Dylan the same way they have a hard time with Shakespeare.
Shakespeare has a pretty good sense of humor but he's not just messing around.
He has something very penetrating to say.
Same with Dylan.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

  - William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 16

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