Bob Dylan And Fearful Symmetry (Part X)

By Larry Fyffe

Poet William Blake presents his readers with a rather dark Existentialist point of view – bound we be in Poe-like chains of circumstance – even before the experience of adulthood has a chance to cloud up the innocent sunshine days of childhood:

My mother groaned, my father wept
Into this dangerous world l leapt
Helpless, naked, piping loud
Like a fiend hid in a cloud
Struggling in my father's hands
Striving against my swaddling bands
Bound and weary, I thought it best
To sulk upon my mother's breast
(William Blake: Infant Sorrow)

Akin to the sentiment expressed in the following song lyrics:

If I had some education
To give me a decent start
I might have been a doctor or
A master in the arts
But I used my hands for stealing
When I was very young
And they locked me down in jailhouse cells
And that's how my life begun
(Bob Dylan: The Ballad Of Donald White)

Less serious other artists be as they attempt to lighten up the sorrows that exist in the human condition by cooking up a batch of dark humour – as pointed to by Jochen Markhorst:

I took me a wife 'bout five years ago
We got one kid, he's just about four
He gets up at the table, and slaps his ma
Rubs flashes in my hair, says:"ain't you my pa?"
Runs string beans up my nose
Sticks potatoes in my head
(Chris Bouchillon: New Talking Blues)

Likewise dark-humouredly done so in the song lyrics quoted below:

She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine
And I said, "Oh, I didn't know that
But then again there's only one I met
And he just smoked my eyelids
And punched my cigarette"
(Bob Dylan: Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again)

There be these lines as well:

Mama's in the pantry, preparing to eat
Sister's in the kitchen, a-fixing for the feast
Papa's in the cellar, a-mixing up the hops
Brother's at the window, a-watching for the cops
(Chris Bouchillon: New Talking Blues)

Echoed in the song lyrics below:

Johnny's in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the government
(Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues)

In these ones too:

Well I rung the fallout shelter bell
And I leaned my head, and I gave a yell
"Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man"
A shotgun fired, and away I ran
(Bob Dylan: Talking World War III Blues)

Poet William Blake never has to worry about the Atomic Bomb:

Go away, you Bomb, get away, go away
Fast, right now, fast, quick, you get me sick
My good gal don't like you none
And the kids on my corner are scared of you
(Michael Montecossa : Go Away You Bomb ~ Dylan/Montecossa)

Untold Dylan

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