Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Bob

Today is the birthday of Bob Dylan. In high school I owned one 45 of Bob; it had “Like a Rolling Stone” on one side and “Gates of Eden” on the other, and I listened to it quite a bit.

Far away from me, but still in California, my husband-to-be was an ardent Bob Dylan fan, so after we married I became the co-owner of a good collection of his music that we continued to acquire. It’s hard not to develop a fondness for songs that you hear again and again over the years, so I did come to appreciate “Bob,” as he was known around here.

My favorite of his songs was always “Everything is Broken,” because it’s such a simple expression of the reality of humankind fallen and needy, and all creation groaning. We are often dismayed about our material possessions wearing out or being destroyed, but they are insignificant when laid beside the hearts and lives that are daily shattered and traumatized. The lyrics of the song seem a little flat to me without the music, and Bob’s burnt-out voice conveying an appropriate tone to the words.

I also have watched several times on YouTube Bob singing with Johnny Cash “A Girl of the North Country” on Cash’s show. It’s sweet! (But I’m afraid it may have been taken down.)

I didn’t hear about this birthday until I read The Writer’s Almanac for the day, and it’s interesting that the poem Garrison Keillor posts for the day is by Billy Collins, titled “Despair” and lamenting that there is “So much gloom and doubt in our poetry—”

Keillor tells us that today is also the birthday of the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky who was born just a year before Dylan. He suffered a lot for his poetry under the Soviets and would have had good reason to write gloomy material. I haven’t read many of his poems other than those in the book Mr. Glad gave me, his Nativity Poems, from which I posted one here at Christmastime once, and it was filled with hope.

Here is the Dylan poetry. Happy Birthday, Bob!

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN

Broken lines broken strings
Broken threads broken springs
Broken idols broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles broken plates
Broken switches broken gates
Broken dishes broken parts
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken
Everything is broken.

Seems like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground
Broken cutters broken saws
Broken buckles broken laws
Broken bodies broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath feel like you’re chokin’
Everything is broken.

Every time you leave and go off some place
Things fall to pieces in my face
Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties broken vows
Broken pipes broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken.

music-Dylan face cropped

He makes us stitch and sing.

I have an assortment of things to share, which I beliP1100820 Ps 23 hanging by Geve all flow from people’s creative impulses. So I’ll make that my theme.

When I was sorting and sifting with Kate I found some crafty things I did when money was tight. If you make presents for your parents you might inherit those same things after a while.

This was the case with wall-hangings I made 40 years ago, which came back a few years ago, but then got buried again until last month. This one speaks to me now, so I hung it over a knob near where I am typing at the moment. The scraps of fabric I used remind me of dresses I made for myself in high school and college.

 

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Another sort of scrap art is this large design in cloth that I found last month on the wall of a hospital corridor, when I was walking up and down with a post-surgical patient. That hospital has really nice art on the walls, and I kept thinking I should go on a picture-taking tour, but I didn’t. A close-up of this one shows the close quilting.

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I have to cregum art pastoraledit Chel at Sweetbriar Dreams for introducing me to Ben Wilson via her blog. This man paints miniature works of art on chewing gum that has been rudely and antisocially discarded on the streets of London. Igum art isle of wight liked this BBC video about him.

The art at right includes mention of the Isle of Wight, which reminds me that I didn’t tell you about the birthday party we had for Mr. Glad last month.

gum art bbc w hand

Our small group of friends and family sat around singing to guitars songs such as Dylan’s “Forever Young” and the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” which gives you a clue as to which birthday my husband celebrated. Ever since then I can’t get that song out of my mind, including the stanza that goes:

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear.
We shall scrimp and save.
Grandchildren on your knee:
Vera, Chuck & Dave.

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P1100897crp At least I got a break during church this morning when other music pushed the torture aside. I went with Mr. Glad to his church which was meeting for the first time in a new place, and I took a few pictures of the window shades which I thought much better than a lot of modern church art I’ve seen. I of course prefer icons, but these images feel light and joyful, and are reminiscent of stained glass.

The last one shows the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, a reference to Christ from the book of Revelation. He is “The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” As all our arts begin with gifts God has given us, may their ends also be for His glory and in His praise.

Gardeners and Bells

I prefer to write about beautiful things, so I don’t want to tell about the mess I made this evening of staking a tomato plant about two months too late. It is a robust Juliet cherry with branches 2-3 feet long that had started to send down roots where they were sprawled on the damp ground. I gathered up the legginess as best I could with gardener’s tape, around three splintery stakes. In spite of the chaotic result, I expect there will be fruit, thanks to the rain and sunshine that falls on the gardens of the just and the unjust, the diligent and the lazy.
Beautiful tomatoes from the past

A few days ago I ran across Leonard Cohen’s verse (below) that has been singing itself in my head ever since, making me notice many ways that our earthly lives fall short of the ideal, often in more significant places than the garden. We fail to do our best, others fail to love us, the banks and the corporations do us wrong — we populate this list day by day.

It’s an aspect of reality that can only be denied at the risk of one’s sanity. The humbling we experience when contemplating the “streets filled with broken hearts” and other destruction that Bob Dylan sings about in “Everything is Broken” is the best start toward mental and spiritual health.

 Then the Gardener, the Physician of our souls, the Light of the World, can do His work, and give us grace to keep working at repairing the bad jobs we’ve made. He also gives us Himself as the rejoicing of our hearts — and nothing is more Real than that.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
    –from “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen