Bob Dylan: The Property Of Jesus

Bob Dylan: The Property Of Jesus

By Larry Fyffe

The poets of the Transcendental Romantic movement react to the stand-offish examination of the natural world by a science that casts “God” off to the outside of the Universe.

Influenced, like William Blake, by Emanuel Swedenborg’s mysticism, these Romantic poets consider it possible, through intuition, to communicate with Nature by getting in touch with its beauty without the distractions of the hustle and bustle of modern urban living.

What can be felt,  they say, is a Oneness, the Unifying Spirit that pervades all the external world of Nature, and the internal mind of Man: this Universe of ours exists to comfort its creations.

Even the Darwinian-tempered Victorian poets find it difficult to resist the powerful eagle-like grasp of the writings of the Romantic Transcendentalist imagination:

“Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white
Nor waves the cypress in  the palace walk…
The firefly wakens; waken thou with me”
(Lord Tennyson: The Princess)

This Romantic ideal in a nutshell:

“Flower in the crannied wall
I pluck you out of the crannies
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand
Little flower  —  but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all and all
I should know what God and man is”
(Tennyson: Flower In A Crannied Wall)

Such thoughts and feelings linger yet in modern poems and songs:

“I’ve been thinking things all over
All the moments full of grace
The primrose and the clover
Your ever changing face”
(Bob Dylan:  Can’t Escape From You)

That women are associated with the phases of the moon; men with the light of the sun – an idea words still whisper in the wind:

“Let them say that I walked
In fair nature’s light
And that I was loyal
To truth and to right”
(Bob Dylan: ‘Cross The Green Mountain)

Harmony in Nature, the music of the spheres, be the hallmark of these poets:

“The ocean wild like an organ played
The seaweed wove it strands
The crashing waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and the sand”
(Bob Dylan: Lay Down Your Weary Tune)

Say they, Nature possesses a restorative spirit to enlighten Man that is far superior to the dogma of established religion:

“Through the mad mystic hammering of the the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind”
(Bob Dylan: Chimes Of Freedom)

One has only to listen:

“Can’t you hear the rooster crowin’
Rabbit runnin’ down across the road
Underneath the bridge where the water flowed through
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue”
(Bob Dylan: New Morning)

The natural world, though it changes and time passes, shows one that they should have love and compassion for others:

“If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and the summer ends
Please see if she’s wearing a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin winds”
(Bob Dylan: Girl From The North Country)

To many of the Transcendentalist Romantic movement, the religious figure known as Jesus, a fellow human being, is for them a poet, and an advocate of Nature’s  love and compassion:

“When the whip that keeps you in line
doesn’t make him jump
Say he’s hard-of-hearing, say that he’s a chump
Say he’s out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve
Because he doesn’t pay tribute to the king that you serve”
(Bob Dylan: Property Of Jesus)

What is on the site

1: Over 360 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.

3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.

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