Songs and Poems

I am starting this thread in the hope that people will post poems or lyrics that they cherish for the way the words illustrate or encapsulate a feeling or notion with a precision that has made them memorable, haunting or just plain enjoyable. And hopefully comment why they treasure these particular words.

I am going to start off with the lyrics to a song which have resonated with me for nearly 50 years now. Long before I’d heard the word autism.

The Drifter’s Escape

“Oh, help me in my weakness”

I heard the drifter say

As they carried him from the courtroom

And were taking him away

“My trip hasn’t been a pleasant one

And my time it isn’t long

And I still do not know

What it was that I’ve done wrong”

Well, the judge, he cast his robe aside

A tear came to his eye

“You fail to understand,” he said

“Why must you even try?”

Outside, the crowd was stirring

You could hear it from the door

Inside, the judge was stepping down

While the jury cried for more

“Oh, stop that cursed jury”

Cried the attendant and the nurse

“The trial was bad enough

But this is ten times worse”

Just then a bolt of lightning

Struck the courthouse out of shape

And while ev’rybody knelt to pray

The drifter did escape

Bob Dylan

Dylan often uses the outsider to comment on society, like the previous generation of the Beat poets and writers. 

In verse one the Drifter is in the court room expressing his fragility and how he is unaware of the nature of his transgression. 

In verse two, the judge -  official duties performed - removes the apparel of office and sympathises, he’s seen outsiders before. There is a restless crowd outside and the jury are crying for more - the disapproving, accusatory baying of those unable to accept and include lives lived outside the mainstream.

In verse three, the nurse and the attendant are appalled by the mob behaviour. Then divine intervention - or an ordinary weather incident ,take your pick - and the Drifter, unencumbered by popular superstition or orthodox religion, makes his escape. I’ve always felt a certain connection with the Drifter. In my young teenage years I banged on so much about Bob Dylan, that I ended up with the nickname Bob.

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