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)
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