ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken

I think I was 13 when I heard Bob Dylan singing for the first time. This moment struck me and sticks with me until now. It made me to learn to play guitar. I made me to switch from accordion to a set of Hohner blues harmonicas. I started singing English lyrics with not understanding a word at all. But the lyrics felt more appropriate for me than those of “Kennst du die Berge, die Berge Tirols” or the ones of a certain Roy Black who was popular back then. Dylan’s lyrics just felt right, and it took me time, a long time to grasp some of their meanings.

I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

For a while I tried to play the streets with Dylan songs. Of course, all I got was laughter. Dirty laughs most of the time, my parent’s generation shaking heads. “Beim Hitler hätte es das nicht gegeben” was a comment quite often heard.

Meanwhile, half a century has passed. Bob Dylan’s songs are still with me, and my brain still tries to understand the meaning of most of his lyrics. But my ears and my heart have no difficulties at all.

I heard the sound of the thunder that roared out a warning
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
I heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
I heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley

As always, I still find comfort in taking a guitar and a blues harp and lose myself in one of Dylan’s songs. This assists me in keeping track in life against all odds in today’s society.

Yesterday, Bob Dylan got the Nobel prize for literature.

Let me finish this blog with a modified quote from Dylan: “I am only kcposch if I want to be kcposch; most of the time I am just myself.”


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