It’s Not Just About The Sound (Part II)

by Larry Fyffe

The verse of the poem quoted below replaces Edgar Allan Poe’s symbolic dark raven with a silver trout; Aengus, a mythological god of youth and love:

When I laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame
But something rustled on the floor
And someone called my name
(William Yeats: The Song Of Wandering Aengus)

More Poe-like are the lyrics in the song beneath; the lover’s just not the same when dead and still:

I know she cares about me 
I heard her call my name
And I know that she's dead and gone
Still she ain't the same
(Velvet Underground: I Heard Her Call My Name)

Writes the Gothic poet:

And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door
That I scarce was sure I heard you
(Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven)

In the song below, as in “Wildwood Flower”, the words are lined with realism, and with the idealistic hope of finding an everlasting, mutual love relationship while both partners are living. The words carefully chosen – loud love rather than a love scarcely heard:

Looking at my shadow, watching the clouds up above
Rolling through the rain and hail
Looking for the sunny side of love
Gonna walk on that dirt road 'til everything becomes the same
Gonna walk down that dirt road 'til everything becomes the same
Gotta keep on walking 'til I hear her holler out my name
(Bob Dylan: Dirt Road Blues)

Unlike the following song lyrics in which the swarn represents a Universe
uncaring to whatever humankind’s situation may be therein, dead or alive:

Tenderly William kissed his wife
Then he opened her head with a buther knife
And the swarn on the river went gliding by
Lady Margaret's pillow is wet with tears
No body's been on it in twenty years
(Bob Dylan: The Ballad Of The Gliding Swan ~ Evans/Dylan)

It’s a big mistake to conclude that Bob Dylan chooses his words just for the sound rather than for their meaning as well.


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