Bob Dylan  And Fearful Symmetry (Part VIII)

Bob Dylan and the Faithful Symmetry


by Larry Fyffe


Physical barriers create a garrison to provide protection against the environment, but they can also isolate individuals, sexes, ‘races’, classes, and cultures from one another

How the chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackening Church appalls
And the hapless soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down palace walls
(William Blake: London)

As Harold Bloom asserts, a Gnostic-like vision can be detected in the art of William Blake  –  and in the poetry of Robert Frost. In their vision, a symbolic ‘wall’ separates the blackened material world from the warm light that’s emanates from an ideal spiritual plane.

So expressed in the song lyrics below:

There's a wall between you, and what you want
And you got to leap it
Tonight you got the power to take it
Tomorrow you won't have the power to keep it
(Bob Dylan: The Groom Is Still Waiting At The Altar)

Gnostic-like, in mytonymical diction below, the horse and drum be associated with the horrors of war.

Kill the beast, and feed the swine
Scale the wall, and smoke the vine
Feed the horse, and saddle up the drum
It's unbelievable, the day would finally come
(Bob Dylan: Unbelievable)

A spiritual plane there be though sorrowfully only a few human beings are capable of getting in touch with it:

Far way in the stormy night
Far away and over the wall
You are there in the flickering light
Where the teardrops fall
(Bob Dylan: Where Teardrops Fall)

Indeed, getting in touch, and keeping in touch, with the far away absolute Spirit of Love, the so-called Monad, is not an easy thing to do:

They say that every man must need protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above the wall
(Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released)

Claimed it can be that it’s a vision of both darkness and light that the singer/songwriter above, or at least his persona, has consistently held – even during his “Christian” phase.

In the song lyrics below, the metronomical watchtower stands for the whole wall, and, as the poet Frost suggests, there’s something running beneath it that “makes gaps even two can pass abreast”:

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
Outside in the distance
A wildcat did grow
Two riders were approaching
The wind began to howl
(Bob Dylan: All Along The Watchtower)

Rather ambiguous all the lyrics above be, but maybe in the last song lyrics quoted the two riders approaching are William Blake and Robert Frost, or perhaps Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg.

Untold Dylan

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