By Larry Fyffe
Too happy in her unhappiness is the singer of the lyrics below:
There is nothing that a flower can say That your lips can prove with a kiss Send me no flowers today Got a lot of flowers, and what I miss Is being in your arms again
(Doris Day: Send Me No More Flowers ~ Bacharach/David)
Not so, the singer of the following lyrics:
Everybody got all the money Everybody got all the beautiful clothes Everybody got all the flowers I don't have one single rose I feel a change coming on And the fourth part of the day's already gone
The roots of songs from the lost-love tree sink deep into the soil of the past:
He taught me to love him He called me his flower That blossomed for him All the brighter each hour But I wroke from my dreaming My idol was clay My visions of love Have all faded away
(Carter Family: Wildwood Flower ~ Webster, et.al.)
The hope of everlasting love hangs around, but it too fades away:
Well, what's the use of dreaming? You got better things to do Dreams never did work out for me anyway Even when they did come true
(Bob Dylan: I Feel A Change Coming On ~ Dylan/ Hunter)
As life itself fades away. In the poem quoted below, over-happy about the prospect of death is the poet’s persona – the flowers of the cypress tree symbolize sorrow, but to him they look like roses:
But the horror of Death is an ecstasy And the sweetest song is an elegy And the lovliest flowers in the world to me Are the roses which bloom on the cypress tree
(Midnight: Charles Baudelaire)
The persona presented by the singer/songwriter in the following lyrics considers such a sentiment rather idiotic; in no hurry is he to greet the end of life, inevitable though it be; sorrow is just part of life that has to be put up with:
I waited for you on the running boards Near the cypress tress, while the springtime turned Slowly into autumn
(Bob Dylan: Idiot Wind)
To wait for happiness in another world, in an ‘afterlife’, be the ‘morality of slaves’:
I am a forest, and a night of dark trees But he who is not afraid of my darkess Will find banks full of roses under my cypresses
(Frederick Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra)
Sardonically, so spake another poet:
Ah Sunflower! weary of time Who countest the steps of the sun Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the traveller's journey is done
(William Blake: Sunflower)
[Editor’s footnote: if you have played the Wildwood Flower video then do leave it running, the follow up video is a treat too].
What else is on the site
You’ll find some notes about 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.
The index to all the 594 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.
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If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.
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