Showing posts from 2021

Open the Door Homer: Dylan, Yeats and the Blind Poet

                              1. Songs of Myself “I Contain Multitudes”, the opening song on Bob Dylan’s 2020 album, Rough and Rowdy Ways , its title inspired by fellow American master Walt Whitman, is a concise distillation of a life long-lived. It is filled with inspirations, with culture, with the personal and the political, love and death, from 'today, tomorrow and yesterday'. Dylan's opening lines, 'the flowers are dying, like all things do' is a distinct echo of Whitman's 'the past and present wilt' from Section 51 of his epic "Song of Myself" and the same section of the poem that gives Dylan's song its title: 'I am large, I contain multitudes'. But as the title suggests, there is far more buried within.                Upon the song’s initial release, commentators remarked upon the song's following lines’ reference to Ballinalee, a quiet town in central Ireland, and its links to “The Lass from Ballynalee”, an English tran