Bob Dylan And  Don’t You Tell Henry

By Larry Fyffe

From Celtic mythology, the Shannon River in Ireland gets named after the granddaughter of the Son of the Sea diety: she supposedly opened a well, and out burst the mighty river.

Shamus Heaney’s poem “Rite Of Spring” perhaps references that myth.

From the mythology of native American ‘Indians’, the Shenandoah River gets named after the Daughter of the Stars; supposedly after the ground holding it gives way, the river flows from a mountain lake in Virginia.

James Joyce’s “Finnigans Wake” shows how the mythological culture and language of one country gets stirred in with the language and beliefs of another country when the latter becomes the dominant domain.

On the micro-level, artists feed off of one another’s works.

Off Samuel Beckett’s, for example:

I tell myself something is coming ...
but it never does
(Henry Rollins)

Mashed together the likes of Godot, the Nazz, the Crimson King, and now the Chokerman jumps aboard Pirate Jenny’s Black Freighter ~ with his black-humoured monologues:

He comes up to me, and says, "Are you registered to vote?"
(Henry Rollins)

The song lyrics beneath reference the absurdist writer/punk-singer above who commits the high sin of hubris; deludes himself that he can out-depress the master of the black dog:

I'm crossing the street to get away from a mangy dog
Talking to myself in a monologue
I think what I need might be a full-length leather coat
Somebody just asked me if I'm registered to vote
(Bob Dylan: Highlands)

Referenced above too be Robert Burn’s poem about the Highlands, and Washington Irving’s story about Rip and his dog “Wolf”.

In the song lyrics below, the young word-slinger Henry is figuratively gunned down by his own bullets:

I have nothing for you
I don't even have a self for myself anymore
(Henry Rollins)

As in:

Got nothing for you, I had nothing before
Don't even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pouring down
Nothing you can sell me, I'll see you around
(Bob Dylan: Mississippi)

According to the Holy Bible, God punishes Moses because he claims credit for leading the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt when he actually stays  with the Isis princess too long; Moses dies looking over the Jordan River at the Promised Land.

As in:

You can't come back, not all the way
(Henry Rollins)

The “Nile of America” flows through Egyssippi:

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day to long
(Bob Dylan: Mississippi)

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