Literary Shelf

Bob Dylan: Blowin' in the Wind

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!—
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
- H.W. Longfellow in A Psalm of Life

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
- Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
- Dylan Thomas in Fern Hill

Blowing in the wind, what is it blowing? O man, what is it? Let us see. The wind is blowing or Bob Dylan is blowing some song, striking the guitar and singing and performing. Let us be attuned to that. Let us give an ear to the song coming, carried by the wind. The poem comes as a whistle. The wind blows it too.  A man goes, passes by whistling, humming the song, Blowin’ in the Wind. It is a song, a song of America, of the United States of America. It is a song of the free wind blowing; it is a song of the feeling of being free.

Written in 1962, the song was released in 1963.  The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994 and it ranked number 14 on Rolling Stone magazine’s  list of the “500 Greatest Songs of  All Time”.  It was a favourite with the radio airplays.

Blowin’ in the Wind is a very beautiful lyric indeed which presents Bob Dylan as a singer of heart, as a happy-go-luck man, as a fiddler, as a rambler, but the way he whistles the notes, strikes us beautifully, appearing to be pleasing to the ears and the song was on the lips of the people for so long whose impact they could not forget it. It presents Lord Zimmerman as a free-wheeler, a bohemian, a gypsy, a bohemian, a romantic, a folk artiste. Taking to the heart, he sings, taking to trend and tradition.

Blowin’ in the wind is one of the best lyrics so stylistic, nasal and linguistic in quality. The word “blowin’” casts an impact  and incantation of its own and the song reflects his waywardness,  pastoral style and the flight he takes with the bohemian view, the romantic standpoint of his, just like a hippie, a vagabond, a music-maker, a song-maker he goes creating and re-creating catching the pulse and folk rhythms and beats, what it is on the minds of the young guys.

The poem as a song refreshes the memory of Robert Frost and his poems. There is a trend, tradition of folk tradition in him.

How many roads must one walk down, walk down to be a man? How many ways to take to before he turns into a man? How many travels has one to? Before he turns into a man really? The path is long, long and tedious and tiresome and you have to go, you have to go. The path of life, the path of life as such, as such, my friend as it keeps winding, winding all along. 

How many roads a man must walk down, how many ways, you say it, say it, to be a man, for to be a man, how many, how many ways must he travel, walk them down? O man, say you! O passer-by! O friend! Say, say you, before you go, go away, taking to the way, the way unfolding and turning away. How many ways? How many ways should a man as for to be a man? The path that see you, where does it go, goes to where and how does it bifurcate it? 

A folk musician, an album singer, he has his way of presentation. Bob has represented America and the American sentiment through counterculture, anti-establishment syndrome which it was prevalent in then-time America as for the policymakers made it belligerent which the populace appreciated it not and Dylan catches them to convert into his songs, the songs of protest and freedom.

How many seas must a dove sail before it sleeps in the sand? Will it not tire of flying, crossing? A dove too will get exhausted and exasperated. How many cannon balls should they fly before it silences as for peace to return and unrest to get diminished? How long will you keep devastating? How long will the fire-flames keep singing? The answer, the answer is it, my friend, blowing, blowing in the wind, keep you, keep you singing, singing the song of love; go you, go you humming, humming down your ways. Think you of their folly which but they know it not, feel it not. How foolish are they! How hard of heart! How much inhuman! How cruel and callous from their within!

How many years a mountain can exist before it is washed to the sea, can you say? For how many years can a man be made captive? He is bound to be liberated, bound to be liberated. How long can a man, can a man pretend to be unmindful of? For how long, how long, how many years, how many years, can he pose to be unaware of even though he knows it, knows it? His pretension will definitely come to light, come to light one day.

How long, how long will you go depriving of? How long, O man? How long will you go deriding them? Why to be so arrogant, so pretentious, so hypocritical and egoistic? O man , have pity, pity in your heart! Try to be a man. Try to be a man at least, O man! A man you must behave in a way a man behaves. If a man does not come to in the help of a man, what sort of, what sort of man is he!
The fiddler will keep singing, singing the song, the mouth organ player will keep, keep playing the organ and it is, it is up to them whether they do it, do it their duty or not which but the time will say it.

How many times must a man look up ill the clear sky becomes visible? How are they who hear it not, hear it not crying? How hard of heart, hard of heart have they become! When will they understand it? When will they? How many will it get killed as for them? Why do they not think? Why do they not? When will they come to understand? When will they take to counsel?
To be a man is most important, to be a man. A man is a man who walks the path of life. A man is a man coming in the help of man. If help you not, what sort of man are you! Try to stand you n your feet. Learn through your own experiences of life and none but your experiences will make you into a man. But everything has but got a limit. To be a man is to think about others too, not about oneself.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ’n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ’n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

Top | Literary Shelf

Views: 397      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.