Bob Dylan and Don’t Ya Tell Henry (part two)

Bob Dylan and Don’t Ya Tell Henry (part one)

Don’t You Tell Henry (Part II)

by Larry Fyffe

Singer/writer/musician Bob Dylan oft pays tribute to other writers:

Even if the flesh falls off my face ....
(Bob Dylan: Dreaming Of You)

As in:

Flesh is falling off his face ....
(Henry Rollins: Black Coffee Blues)

A word image that traces back to a biblical prophet who foresees a blissful paradise on earth, but it’s in the future, certainly not now:

Their flesh shall consume away
While they stand upon their feet
(Zechariah 14:12)

Henry Rollins threads  himself a purple cloak of sorrow, of misery, of the black dog from Bob Dylan’s song lyrics rather than the other way around. Dylan treads a middle path, refrains from overdoing conceits that plough the feeling of despair so far into the ground that the reader or listener becomes so desensitized that s/he can no longer feel what is meant to be conveyed.

Rollins turns poet/musician Rod McKuen on his head, finds darkness within himself rather than the spiritual joy expressed by McKuen in spite of gloom and doom in the world outside.

For Zechariah and McKuen a rosy garden be in the offing:
When the sun comes a-singing, I'll still be waiting
Jean, Jean, the roses are red
All the leaves have gone green
The clouds are so low, you can touch them. So
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean
(Rod McKuen: Jean)

The above overwrought Romantic images tempered in the following song lyrics:

Now when all the flower ladies want back what they have lent you
And the smell of their roses does not remain
And all of your children start to resent you
Won't you come see me Queen Jane
(Bob Dylan: Queen Jane Approximately)

Painted baroque black below – to the point of mockery:

They say love only comes around once
And you have to hold out, and be strong until then
I have been waiting, I have been searching
I am a man under the moon walking the streets of the earth until dawn
There's got to be someone for me, it's not too much to ask
Just someone to be with, someone to love
Someone to give everything to
(Henry Rollins: Someone)

A sentiment borrowed from a song before:

You say you're looking for someone
Who's never weak, but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong

(Bob Dylan: It Ain’t Me)


You might also enjoy Don’t ya tell Henry: Dylan’s exuberant tattle

and Bob Dylan goes fishing: Don’t ya tell Henry.


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