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Woman in hat with large glasses by meat stall.

Sad-eyed Lady

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums
Should I leave them by your gate
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Bob Dylan (1966)


Poetry wanders freely, not needing to bow to any corresponding state of affairs. Dylan’s song reflects Looking over Moffat in southern Scotland as the green tinged dawn begins. Kipling makes this point that poetry does not necessitate verisimilitude. this claim clearly. The haunting words live on with us and to them we give what meaning we may. What they meant to the writer is not likely to be disclosed, and few of the lines tempt agreement, let alone bear analytic scrutiny. But haunt they do. Here we can see language, Mist creeping up the valley in Ae forest, south of Scotland. An analogy is offered to place language relative to thought and the world. not as a matter of correspondence, Mount Phang Xi Pang in northern Vietnam. Interesting to compare this with a page where the idea of correspondence as sincerity is promoted. or even of homologous patterning, but rather pointing to some other world, Looking over a snow covered eastern turkey from above.
To a page on the ineffable.

much as does the wind, which ‘bloweth where it listeth’, taking us outwith the mundane, and perhaps, at the same time, deeper into ourselves. In this way words and music echo this tantalising aspect of beauty: that it is mysterious.

Dylan is supposed to have written this long ‘desultory philippic’ using ‘Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands’ as a way of expressing his wife’s name Sara Lownds. It was the last (whole side) track on the double LP Blonde On Blonde. King James Bible - John 3:8 - "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth...” There is a common word for both wind and for spirit in classical Greek and Hebrew.

The sad eyed lady in the photograph was a stall holder in the market at Thuận Châu in north-western Vietnam.

Above hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 19th September 2021

Murphy on duty to this site