Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row”

And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers

Like most people, when asked, my father’s favorite Dylan record was Highway 61 Revisited.  It was, for him, a landmark.  While he definitely liked certain tracks from earlier records more, this was the album that he felt most comfortable listening to from start to finish.  My father was definitely much more of an album over singles person than most people that I know, and so it was the album that I spent so much time listening to when my father chose to play Dylan.  I can remember sitting on the floor, next to the speakers, wondering what on Earth might be going on in all of that “noise.” This song took years to make any sense to me at all – and now, well, it’s strangely the shortest eleven-minute song I know.  I never feel that it takes very long to run its course, and I’m always a little sad when I’ve finished shaking hands with all of these characters. Continue reading