Guest poem sent in by "Aseem"
(Poem #1770) A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son? Oh, where have you been, my darling young one? I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains, I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways, I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests, I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans, I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard, And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard, And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son? Oh, what did you see, my darling young one? I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it, I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin', I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin', I saw a white ladder all covered with water, I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken, I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children, And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son? And what did you hear, my darling young one? I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin', Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world, Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin', Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin', Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin', Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter, Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley, And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son? Who did you meet, my darling young one? I met a young child beside a dead pony, I met a white man who walked a black dog, I met a young woman whose body was burning, I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow, I met one man who was wounded in love, I met another man who was wounded with hatred, And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall. Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son? Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one? I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin', I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest, Where the people are many and their hands are all empty, Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters, Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison, Where the executioner's face is always well hidden, Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten, Where black is the color, where none is the number, And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it, Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin', But I'll know my song well before I start singin', And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
As the death toll from the recent flooding of Bombay climbed higher each day, and I sat half way across the world, surfing the images of tragedy and despair (feeling strangely guilty, somehow, for not being there) this is the song that kept playing in my head. There are many stories that came out of that fateful day - indeed, as someone said, everyone has a story to tell. There are many different emotions in these stories - some are filled with hope, others with despair; some speak of small miracles, others of senseless misfortune; some allow us to celebrate the brotherhood, the fundamental decency of man towards man, others highlight the world's indifference to the plight of the victims. Dylan's song captures perfectly that sense of a fractured world, the reduction of the truth into a series of images, the impossibility of taking in exactly what has happened. At one level this is a confused, restless song. It moves from phrase to phrase, vision to vision, leaving you with the sense of some sweeping, momentous message, combined with a sense of dread. But it is also a song of great courage - a song that grits its jaw and braces itself for the devastation it knows is coming. There are some beautiful phrases here - lines that demonstrate how true, how fine a poet the young Dylan really was - but the overall message of this song is that we shall face the whole of our sorrow and not be defeated by it. Aseem