Bob Dylan And Delmore Schwartz (Part II)

Bob Dylan And Delmore Schwartz (Part I) appears here

By Larry Fyffe

Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan comes in contact with the nonabstract, co-ordinating conjunctive style of  Ezra Pound’s poetry indirectly through the poetics of Delmore Schultz – ‘the thing’ is the thing.

The vorticose imagery of Ezra Pound swirls in the themes of the modern symbolistic poems of Delmore Schwartz. Dominant be the imagery of a non-discriminatory whirling universe – if there be any divine plan behind the universe, it’s kept secret from most of its earthly inhabitants by the God of Creation; He’s transcendent, mysterious, and unknowable; He’s beyond, not immanent in, the material world:

Each minute bursts in the burning room
The great globe reels in the solar fire
Spinning the unique and trivial away
How all things flash! How all things flame!
(Delmore Schwartz: Calmly We Walk Through This April's Day)

A sorrowful sentiment expressed in the lyrics of the following song:

When the Reaper's task had ended
Sixteen hunderd had gone to rest
The good, the bad, the rich, the poor
The lovliest, and the best 
(Bob Dylan: Tempest)

As for the distant God, He’s apparently disinterested, and just stands there looking down.

However, according to Schwartz, something stable in the whirling chaos of time, with a bit of luck, may be found to cling to – possibly someone to love:

The old error, the thought of sitting still
The senses drinking, by the summer's river
On the tended lawn, below the traffic
As if Time would pause, and afternoon stay 
No, night comes soon
With the cold mountains, with desolation, unless love
Builds it's city
(Schwartz: In The Slight Ripple, The Mind Perceives The Heart)

The singer/songwriter stirs the theme into the lyrics of the song below:

I'm movin' after midnight
Down boukevards of broken cars
Don't know what I'd do without it
Without this love we call ours
Beyond here lies nothin'
Nothin' but the moon and stars
(Bob Dylan: Beyond Here Lies Nothing ~ Dylan/ Hunter)

Indeed, it’s hard to keep a good-hearted person down – his or her ‘spirit’ figuratively lives on in the memory, in the imagination, and in the world of dreams:

A master of men was the Goodly Fere
A mate of the wind and the sea
If they think they have slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally
(Ezra Pound: The Ballad Of The Goodly Fere)

Similarly, writes Bob Dylan:

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine
Alive as you or me
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold
(Bob Dylan: I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine)

Ezra Pound would freeze the never-ending flow of time if he could:

Tell her that sheds 
Such treasure in the air
Recking not else, but what her graces give
Life to the moment
I would bid them live
As roses might, in magic amber laid
Red overwrought with orange, and made
One substance, and one colour
Braving time
(Ezra Pound: Envoi)

Reminding us of the pounding imagery of Delmore Schwartz:

As for my part felt in my heart as one who falls
Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly and feel the vast
Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down
An endlessly helplessly falling, and appalled clown
(Delmore Schwartz: All Night, All Night)

And the imagery in many of the songs of Bob Dylan:

Look out kid
You're gonna get hit
By users, cheaters, six-time losers
Hang around the theatres
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin' for a new fool
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters
(Bob Dylan: Subterranean Himesick Blues)

What else is here?

An index to our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

There is an alphabetic index to the 550+ Dylan compositions reviewed on the site which you will find it here.  There are also 500+ other articles on different issues relating to Dylan.  The other subject areas are also shown at the top under the picture.

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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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