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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Postcards of the Hanging

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Opening of Desolation Row by Bob Dylan (1965)

4 Responses to “Postcards of the Hanging”

  1. callie says:

    Oh, John — so perfectly apt at this moment in our history. Thank you for finding a way to comment on it all with such beautiful words.

    jb says: Hi Callie. When you’re lost for words, turn to a poet . . .

  2. callie says:

    As you may have seen from my latest post, I don’t do resolutions and my focus this year is on writing, no excuses. Yet as I went about my morning after reading Dylan’s words — while making the coffee, while toasting the bread, the words are still in my head — I realized your post has made me consider one addition: read more poetry.

    As a prose writer, I am always reading prose and poetry then becomes…other. Yet when I remember to read poetry, I marvel at the power of words, stripped down to their essence. I must steep myself in poetry once again…make it part of my regular reading. Thank you for the reminder!

    jb says: I know you don’t do resolutions (neither do I), but sometimes we’re sub-consciously on the lookout for something that will enrich our lives (or perhaps just something to plug a gap), and I suspect that was what happened with you. Looking for poetry without quite realizing what it was you were missing, and now you’ve made it conscious and who knows where it might lead . . . ?

  3. A Memoire says:

    God Bless Dylan.

    jb says: I’m sure he/she/it did. At least for a while.

  4. Debi says:

    A brill way to handle a complex subject, John. Poets, eh? I envy the word economy – so much said in so few words.

    Happy new year – hope it’s a good one for us all.

    jb says: Hi Debi, was it TS Eliot who said:

    The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible.

    Happy New Year.