(“I’ve been ten thousand miles in the neighbor’s backyard” -Luna)
Sometimes I wonder if Bob Dylan is one of those poets whose songs are meant to be interpreted by others. Think of Joan Baez and Blowin’ In The Wind, or A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and the same Joan Baez.
Or take this version from Patti Smith. It’s beautiful and moving. I think Patti’s struggles make it more emotional, more alive.
She later wrote about this performance in The New Yorker (link here). I pause and admire some of the things she says:
“I thought of my mother, who bought me my first Dylan album when I was barely sixteen. She found it in the bargain bin at the five-and-dime and bought it with her tip money. “He looked like someone you’d like,” she told me. I played the record over and over, my favorite being “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It occurred to me then that, although I did not live in the time of Arthur Rimbaud, I existed in the time of Bob Dylan.“
“When my husband, Fred, died, my father told me that time does not heal all wounds but gives us the tools to endure them. I have found this to be true in the greatest and smallest of matters.”
“And all the things I have seen and experienced and remember will be within me, and the remorse I had felt so heavily will joyfully meld with all other moments. Seventy years of moments, seventy years of being human.”
It’s somewhat ironic that, towards the end of the song, one of the verses say:
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’