bob dylan | when the ship comes in

5 11 2008

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NOTES from the UNDERGROUND No.159 | ELECTION DAY NOVEMBER 4, 2008,

THE POLITICS OF LITERATURE

WHEN THE SHIP COMES IN
ELECTION DAY

When The Ship Comes In
Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin’.

Like the stillness in the wind
‘Fore the hurricane begins,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking.
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they’ll be smiling.
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand,
The hour that the ship comes in.

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they’re spoken.
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline.
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck,
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin’.
And the ship’s wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin’.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’.
But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it’s for real,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Then they’ll raise their hands,
Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands,
But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered.
And like Pharaoh’s tribe,
They’ll be drownded in the tide,
And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.


“When the Ship Comes In”

is a song by Bob Dylan, released on his 3rd studio album The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964. Joan Baez stated in the documentary film No Direction Home that “When the Ship Comes In” was, more or less, inspired by a hotel clerk that refused to allow Dylan a room due to his “unwashed” appearance (he was not famous outside of the folk movement at this time). The song then grew into a sprawling epic allegory about vanquishing the oppressive “powers that be”. Another inspiration was the Bertold Brecht/Kurt Weil song, “Jenny the pirate’s bride”.





bob dylan | the times they are a-changin’

1 10 2007

thetimesare.jpg

Poetry Dispatch No. 11 | September 26, 2005

Friends,

Whether you were a participant or mere bystander to his “Times They Are a-Changin’ ’’ Dylan was, and remains, our preeminent , primitive –poet, prophet of all American times. The 60’s would not have been the 60’s without his gift of subtle song and protest.

Tonight, PBS presents a 2-part series (26th and 27th) on Dylan’s life, “NO DIRECTION HOME: BOB DYLAN,” a documentary by Martin Scorsese, not to be missed. Dylan’s voice may BE grating. His guitar playing, ONLY adequate. But his lyric writing remains some of the best American poetry ever written. I urge you to tune in tonight. And to sometime read his lyrics alone. No music. Only his words upon the page. For openers, see below. Check the poetry. And the prophecy. Norbert Blei

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THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ by Bob Dylan

Come gather round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance wont come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheels still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That its namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you cant understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you cant lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

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Bob Dylan 1965 San Francisco Press Conference with Allen Ginsberg








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