Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chimes of Freedom

Bob Dylan's remarkable song, Chimes of Freedom came on my iPod shuffle mix this afternoon. It has always been one of my favorite of Dylan's protest era songs. It speaks of the ever-present need for the chimes of freedom to be tolling for so many of us. As I was listening, the first verse listing jumped out at me as befitting all the news of refugees in Europe. This part of the song reminds us of the responsibility that I believe we have toward our fellow human beings:

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Here's the whole song. 

But the rest of the list is just as powerful as that first verse...

I can find myself at least a couple of times in the list...

or people I have known and met...
the rebel, the rake
the luckless, the abandoned an’ forsaked
the outcast, burnin’ constantly at stake

the gentle, the kind
the guardians and protectors of the mind
the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time

the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
the deaf an’ blind, the mute
the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit

the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail

the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an’ worse
for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe

We gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing!

It's hard to beat the poetry and depth of Dylan. Even when the words seem to be coming from somewhere the rest of us are unable to find, the way the words meld and move make us stop and pay attention. Dylan has often used words as others use musical notes.

The chimes flash full and loud in this unequaled song. Listen again, or hear Bruce Springsteen's superb version (Link).

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