Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not Dark Yet

Laconic chords, a simple drum conveying a haunted feeling of sunset rouge sky. A perfect blend of sound and vocal delivery… curled words climbing crags of lament, words that conspire in their explorations of the tragic sense of life.

Pain. Dylan puts everything right out there, capturing a feeling so many have known. “Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb…” Yes, this is how it feels when you are down and out. Not Dark Yet effectively evokes emotions that are harrowingly universal. When the world has crashed, time drags the dregs of our hollowed out souls.

Elizabeth Elliot’s These Strange Ashes comes to mind here. Hemingway’s Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea likewise. I think, too, of Javier Bardem in The Dancer Upstairs.

It will never be a theme song for a sitcom, but it’s easy to see why Hollywood occasionally weaves Dylan’s music into its more sobering films.

The song first appeared on Dylan’s Time Out of Mind album, 1998. A song rich with the angst of unrequited love, alienation and despair, it is the perfect lead-in to Dylan’s Cold Irons Bound rocker.

Not Dark Yet

Shadows are falling
and I’ve been here all day,
It’s too hot to sleep
and time is running away;
Feel like my soul has
turned into steel...
I’ve still got the scars
the sun didn’t heal;
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

My sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Well I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down to the bottom in a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes
Sometime my burden is more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was that I came her to get away from
Don’t even here the murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Bob Dylan
Copyright 1997 ~ Special Rider Music


Sandra said...

I think this reflects emotions everyone has had. The current times has brought this feeling closer to the surface for many. Not the feeling of lost love, but that of despair or impending despair.

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for sharing that. Yes, we can take so much for granted, and forget how much anguish others are feeling right now. Almost ten percent or one in ten of Americans...

We need to not forget our own past hard times which taught us so much.