Stephen Kahn

Now what? “So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

In Good news, Hard to tell on May 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

It’s hard not to be glad that we got the bastard.

It’s a relief that the collateral damage is relatively limited.

The age-old problem faced by human beings is: how do we oppose evil without becoming as evil as that which we oppose?

All Along The Watchtower

“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief
“There’s  too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke
“There are many
here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been
through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the
hour is getting late”

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came
and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching,
the wind began to howl

Copyright © 1968 by Dwarf Music; renewed 1996 by Dwarf Music

  1. I like Dylan’s version best. And I really like the irony in the words “Businessmen, they drink my wine,plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is

  2. Mmm, hard not to rejoice in that man’s death after he rejoiced in the death’s of so many, but it was odd hearing Obama saying that “Justice has been done.” More like revenge, but fair enough.

  3. deaths – no apostrophe. Stupid autocorrect.

  4. Dear Stephen
    I accidentally found your site when checking out whether Google would list mine (which is called Let us not talk falsely now) and liked your post about Osama dead and reproduction of All Along the Watchtower. As my therapist once remarked, whatever happens, you find something in Dylan relevant. Like Shakespeare, a bit.
    But I am writing in the hope you will tell me why you used Watchtower in this connection. Michael

  5. Hello, Michael. There is something about Australia. One of my blog friends, Woo, lives in Australia. An uncle and aunt of mine lived in Australia for many years. I’ve never been to Australia.

    Dylan is no Shakespeare, who is besides Willy himself? But he is a fine enough poet that he strums those chords in language and music that make many of us vibrate. As with any poetry, efforts to explicate our responses to it then to kill what attracted and excited us in the first place. This is a warning, as I will continue and kill it.

    All humans want transcendance–a sense there is some meaning and fulfillment besides the drab and obvious details of mundane life. Some people seek it in religion; others seek it in art, story, and music.

    The watchtower guards civilization, safe and secure and perhaps a little boring. Outside lies danger (growling wildcat)…and excitement. The approaching riders bring…what?

    Probably not good news.

    Probably I just killed the song for you.

    Thank you for dropping in to visit my blog. I wait with interest to see what you have to say in your blog. I trust it is not dangerous to read it. Or maybe I hope it is dangerous to read it?

    [Ouch! My wife was out working in the garden–which should be the safest of places–and poked herself in the eye with a raspberry branch. She thinks she is OK, but danger is all around us–even in what we think are the safest of places.]

  6. second paragraph should say tend to kill…

  7. Dear Stephen
    I liked what you took from Dylan’s Watchtower. I have always been moved mysteriously by it, but never even attempted to interpret it. I usually choose to let poetry simply seep into me and affect me viscerally. But a watchtower guarding civilisation is quite nice. Thanks.

    Fear not that you killed it for me. I don’t think anyone could hurt the Dylan whom I have internalised. In fact, I probably err in making too much of a god of him. I like how he doesn’t give a shit about what we think of him. His obligation is to his music and his muse. Reminds me of mad Blake, in that way. And the busker whom I watched and sketched in Oxford one cold wet day when I was in England over Christmas just gone. The sketch had raindrop smudges on it; I gave it to him when he at last had to stop playing because the rain got too heavy. But I photographed it first. It’s on my blog.

    And yes, it is dangerous to read. Or one fondly hopes so, at least.


  8. Well, they say that he was planning more attacks on us, and that he was given a choice to come quietly, but there can be no joy in my heart at his death. I wish he could have been taken alive and put in a jail cell to servce out a life long sentence, or at least tried in court. I do not really know how to feel about it.

  9. What do we do with dangerously mad people who don’t understand they are mad? The only real punishment would be to give them the understanding of how wicked they are. It’s been a long time since I read Anthony Burgess’ novel Clockwork Orange [which also became a movie), but I think that was the theme of his book.

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