bob dylan | the times they are a-changin’

1 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 11 | September 26, 2005


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



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’.


Bob Dylan 1965 San Francisco Press Conference with Allen Ginsberg



One response

12 10 2007
Robert M. Zoschke

First time I saw Dylan…1989/90…McGaw Hall, Northwestern University, Chi Town North Shore…half of the basketball gymnasium seats were closed off, with the band/stage fronting that side, half the court and the stands on the other side were the general seating…three and a half hours, electric set, acoustic set, electric set, acoustic encore with band, dylan solo encore, third encore was electric with band “Ballad of a Thin Man”…in the top 10 of all concerts I ever saw…first musician singer/songwriter i ever poured over album sleeve lyrics of, all the while saying “this is poetry” to myself…tried taking a hot tight ass blonde chick from the advertising dept. I worked in at the time to the show, she blew me off at the last minute (I didn’t realize the mink coat she wore to the Chinese Buffet Happy Hour Lunch Joint on Jackson Boulevard I took her to for lunch frequently had been given to her by a Senior Executive keeping her as his girl on the side in a Lake Shore Drive Condo). So I gave the extra ticket to a girl on the street and she didn’t bang me either. But the show was stellar-awesome….and I heard the chorus of …”How does it feel? To be on your OOOWWWWN” barreling through my thinking ears as I dealt with the cruel North Shore winter wind on the walk to the car in the parking lot after the show. This was the Oh Mercy tour, the first time Dylan worked with Daniel Lanois on an album, and that album was in my top three of that year…finest Dylan record I heard to my taste until Time Out of Mind, which stands to me as his finest work in decades, simply the most poetically written and poetically heartfelt to the listening ear record one could pick up in the last ten years, made by anyone anywhere…

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