Bob Dylan Pawns His Watch Parts XIX and XX

Bob Dylan Pawns His Watch (Part XIX)

by Larry Fyffe

Behind the Clown of Satire marches the Champion of Truth.

Ancient alchemy seeks a method to reverse and forward the process of time; thereby transforming the four basic elements of earth, wind, fire, water into one another for the benefit of humankind.

Pointed out by Richard Thomas:

I saw another at work to calcine ice into gunpowder, who likewise 
showed me a treatise he had written concerning the malleability 
of fire, which he intended to publish

(Jonathan Swift: Gulliver's Travels, Part III, chapter v)

Echoed in the song lyrics below:

I'll be saved by the creature
I'll get blood from a cactus, gunpowder from ice
I don't gamble with cards, and I don't shoot no dice
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

In Mary Shelley’s novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein abandons the Romantic Transcendentalist writers whose thoughts focus on communal and family love.

Instead, he turns to modern science and technology as a sure means to improve the living conditions of mankind.

Through a friend, Victor comes in contact with ancient writings that focus on the wisdom of social solidarity rather than on science:

Alas, it’s too little, too late:

The Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit language engaged his attention,
and I was easily induced to enter on the same studies
(Mary Shelley: Dr. Frankenstein - Chapter 6)

In the following song lyrics, the narrator thereof takes on the persona of Doctor  Frankenstein; determined he is to do a better job at creating a well-rounded good human being whereas Victor fails miserably at his attempt to play God:

I study Sanskrit and Arabic to improve my mind
I wanna do things for the benefit of all mankind
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

Frankenstein can not bear the hideous creature he brings to life; cannot love him though that it what the creature most craves.

No female does Victor make to grant the monster his wish for the warmth of a loving companion.

Dr. Bob is not going to make the same mistake; he’s gonna make himself a female companion.

Even if she’s just in his imagination, she’ll always be in his art:

Shimmy your ribs, I'll stick in the knife
Gonna jump-start my creature to life
I wanna bring someone back to life, turn back the years
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

Thereby, with his bow of burning gold, his arrows of desire, and his spear, the narrator brings his creative self back to life.

Brings him his chariot of fire; brings it all the way home.

Bob Dylan Pawns His Watch (Part XX)

My Own Version Of Me/You

The song “My Own Version Of You” by Bob Dylan contains hope for happiness and harmony on the micro-level for humans down on Earth, but on the macro-level a darker interpretation is there for the taking.

A Gnostic view of creation holds that a flawed Demiurge is conceived after the female half splits from the male half of the Unknowable God who’s far-away in the high spiritual world.

He erroneously believes he’s the absolute and perfect light of God, but flawed be the Demiurge, and so is the dark fragmented material world that he creates.

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” springs to mind:

I'll take the Scarface Pacino  and the Godfather Brando
Mix it up in a tank, and get a robot commando
If I do it up right, and put the head on straight
I'll be saved by the creature that I create
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version of You)

Ominous are the lines below with a twisted Gothic tombstone feeling; the optimistic light-bearing sentiments of the Romantic Transcendentalists thrown out the window.

Yearning for the comfort of female companionship, the isolated Demiurge opens a moonlit sepulcre that’s down by the sea.

Therein lies the body of the young and beautiful Annabel Lee:

Can you help me walk that moonlight mile
Can you give me the blessing of your smile
I'll bring someone back to life, use all my power
Do it in the dark, in the wee small hours
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

The narrator in the song settles on the image of the Satanic aspects of the nearby Demiurge.

The supposedly caring Gnostic hermaphroditic God is simply hiding too far beyond the horizon of the Cosmos for any unifying communication with Earth to be received.

Pleads the narrator, let us mere mortals know why there is being and not rather nothing:

Can you tell me what it means to be or not to be
You won't get away with fooling me
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

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