A hard rain…
Don’t we all, deep down, truly despise conformity. Who’s spine does not quiver at the sound of Mozart’s ‘Figaro’ being blasted over the prison tannoy in ‘Shawshank’, or Schoolboys being coaxed into standing on their desks in ‘Dead Poets’. Without art, we are not human. The ability to imagine and to take that imagination and turn it into reality, is one of the things that is really unique about humanity.
When Dylan wrote ‘A hard rain’s a-gonna fall’ in the summer of ’62 at the impossibly young age of just 21, he opened the window for creative liberation within everyone, taking people out of their domestic entrapment and into a wider utopia. And to put this song into contemporary context for younger readers, we were weeks away from what many feared would be nuclear war between Russia and USA. Dylan, so the myth goes, wrote each line as if it were the title of a song, fearing he would never have time to write more:
Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
By Roland Blunk, well just the blog. Dylan wrote the lyrics, although I would be happy to claim them!