i love dylan

Altarwise by Owl-Light

Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house
The gentleman lay graveward with his furies;
Abaddon in the hangnail cracked from Adam,
And, from his fork, a dog among the fairies,
The atlas-eater with a jaw for news,
Bit out the mandrake with to-morrows scream.
Then, penny-eyed, that gentlemen of wounds,
Old cock from nowheres and the heaven’s egg,
With bones unbuttoned to the half-way winds,
Hatched from the windy salvage on one leg,
Scraped at my cradle in a walking word
That night of time under the Christward shelter:
I am the long world’s gentleman, he said,
And share my bed with Capricorn and Cancer

– Dylan Thomas

One critic has dismissed this poem as being ‘wilfully obscure’.
It sounds good though.
Especially that opening line.
And ‘ the atlas-eater with a jaw for news’
I like that.
And the dying fall of that last line……
And the alliteration..

Anyhow it’s not only meaning of the words that attracts  you to a song,
or a poem,
it’s the melody, the rhythms, the sounds;
the meaning of the words is often subsumed in their sounds.
Listen to a few readings of Thomas’s stuff –
Richard Burton (he’s terrific),
Dylan himself, Anthony Hopkins, Peter Bellamy,
(not so  good, too thespian, too sonorous)
and you come to realise that what you are listening for/to
is not the intellectual meaning
but the sensual music.

A bit like Bob Dylan,
forging strange meanings from metaphors
that gave their component parts new life,
an appeal to the ear as much as to the intellect.

Dylan! What a genius you were!


One response to “i love dylan

  1. The whole sequence is gorgeous although very difficult. Wonderful poet. My favorite of his is the poem he wrote for Llewellyn at age 6, “This side of the truth.” So affirming and tender.

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