Bob Dylan: Shattering The Glass Of Mirrors


By Larry Fyffe

A quick review. It’s a deep artistic well from which singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan draws, Jungian or deliberately, in a number of his song lyrics.

From a Romantic poem, darkly hopeful:

Column, tower, and dome, and spire
Shine like obelisks of fire
Pointing with inconstant motion
From the altar of dark ocean
To the sapphire-tinted skies
(Percy Shelley: Euganean Hills)

Echoed is the sentiment in the ominous song lyrics below:

There's a woman on my lap, and she's drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes
I'm looking up at sapphire-tinted skies
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

From a song in which there be sparks of hope in an otherwise dark world:

I saw, I saw the light from heaven
Shining all around
I saw the light come shining
I saw the light come down
(Bascom Lunsford: Dry Bones)

In death for sure if not before:

I saw my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released
(Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released)

From a poem featuring “Blake-light” tragedy; without darkness, there’d be no light:

It is right it should be so
Man was made for joy and woe
And when this we rightly know
Safely through the world we go
(William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence/Joy)

Below, a darker talking song that sinks much deeper into Gnostic gloom:

Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of children no where to go
(September On Jessore Road ~ Ginsberg/Dylan)

From an over-the-top Romantic light opera/movie,”Rose-Marie”:

But if when you hear my love call ringing clear
And I hear you answering echo so clear
Then I know our love will become true
You will belong to me, and I'll belong to you
(Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald: Indian Love Call ~ Firml et. al.)

The sorrowful song lyrics quoted beneath express a longing for love unfulfilled:

Sadly I look out my window
Where I can see the raindrops fall
My heart is many thousand miles away
Where I can hear my true love call
(Bob Dylan: California Brown-Eyed Girl)

From a ‘film noir” movie:

"I'll have some rotten nights after I've sent you over
but that'll pass"
(Private detective Sam Spade: The Maltese Falcon)

Following be cynical song lyrics concerning relationships that turn sour:

Well I have had some rotten nights
Didn't think that they would pass
I'm just thankful and grateful
To be seeing the real you at last
(Bob Dylan: Seeing The Real You At Last)

Observed it is that Bob Dylan pays tribute to artists who shatter the glass of mirrors that reflect an illusion of the existence of a perfect world.

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