It’s Not Just About Sound

By Larry Fyffe

Singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan not only reshapes the sound of previous poems and songs, but their meaning as well:

And when the white moths were on the wing
And the moth-like stars were flickering out ....
It became a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
(William Yeats: The Song Of Wandering Aengus)

The poet William Yeats influences the song lyrics below (found in the Untold Archives); the song has a happy ending though there be memories of a previous so-so relationship.

Essentially, the song is brand new:

I will play with my maiden with the raven  black hair
In the valley so free, in the vale so fair
And the pale amoliter was gone with the hour
And my pale virgin with my gay wildwood flower
Now it's on with those days with my own honey love
And the streams were to ripple, and the clouds seen above
In the dawn, my love is sleeping, but I know it will last
In the days, good old days, in my old wildwood flower

(Bob Dylan Wildwood Flower)

Uplifts the following sorrowful song lyrics that could even be taken as a murder ballad:

Oh, I twine with my mangos, and raven black hair
With the roses so red, and the lilies so fair
And the myrtles so bright with emerald dew
The pale amelida, and eyes with bright blue ....
Oh, he taught me to love him, and call me his flower
That was blooming to cheer him through life's dreary hour
Oh, I long to seek him, and regret that dark hour
He's gone and neglected his pale wildwood flower
(Carter Family: Wildwood Flower)

Another song, previously mentioned, clearly influenced by Yeats:

You gonna have to leave me now, I know
But I'll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass, in the ones I love
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go
(Bob Dylan: You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go)

As in:

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands, and hilly lands
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips, and take her hands
And walk among long dappled grass
(William Yeats: The Song Of Wandering Aengus)


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