by Larry Fyffe
Taken as a whole, the metonymic motifs in the songs of Bob Dylan are not nearly as fragmented as they first appear.
Mythologists, poets, writers, and other artists, speak up for the languageless, for the ‘silent’, Cosmos – once thought made up of the basic elements of wind, water, fire and earth.
The Sun in ancient Greek/Roman mythology is personified as Apollo; he’s masculine, rational, fiery and prone to war.
Influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg, poet and engraver William Blake goes further; presents Apollo as Urizen; gnostic-like, he’s a sinful and bloodied Demiurge who overlooks dark Satanic Mills down on earth.
He’s grouped in with Deists and with Satan of the Holy Bible:
Then the Divine Vision like a silent sun appeared above
Setting ... in clouds of blood (William Blake: Jerusalem)
Los (Sol spelled backwards) represents fallen man; he’s a blacksmith, an artist, who struggles in the prison of a dark world to spread some light:
The blow of his hammer is justice The swing of his hammer mercy (William Blake: Jerusalem)
Dominant-seeking Venus, from mythology, for Blake be disharmonious Eniharmon.
She has a motherly side that’s revealed in the song lyrics below:
My love she speaks like silence Without ideals or violence She doesn't have to say she's faithful Yet she's true, like ice, like fire (Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)
According to Blake, the modern world has been led astray by rationalists, corrupted – imagination lost.
There’s a dark earthy side to Enilhamon that fails to console under such circumstances:
Well, the road is rocky, and the hillside's mud Up over my head nothing but clouds of blood I found my own, I found my one in you But your love hasn't proved true (Bob Dylan: Cold Irons Bound)
Los is lost in Blake’s poetry, locked outside as he is with the once-perfect Eve who’s been seduced by Satan, both locked outside the Gates of Eden:
The silent sun He's got me on the run Burning a hole in my brain I'm dreaming of you That's all I do But it's driving me insane (Bob Dylan: Dreaming Of You)
Perhaps it’s just William Blake’s esoteric poetry that Los is dreaming about, and his trying to untangle what the preRomanic poet is getting at, that’s driving Bob Dylan insane.
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