Saturday, June 13, 2009


Click on image to see the swallows, too.

There have been thousands of new mornings since 1970. If you have the time, listen all the way through the video at the end of this post, to the place where the camera moves in closer, and we can see Bob Dylan moved anew by the song he wrote as a younger man.

Something in me was broken by the juxtaposition of one of his newest songs, "Beyond Here Lies Nothing," with a video of a scene of horrendous domestic violence. I received the link to the video via Bob Dylan's official website, and have since unsubscribed to that website. I haven't been able to listen to the new Bob Dylan songs again. The scene was a reenactment of some moments in my life in 1971. The difference is that, as I found myself on floor being hit repeatedly, I shouted as loud as I could, "NOOOOOOOOOO! You can't hit me!!!!!!!! The hitting stopped abruptly. The next morning we agreed to separate.

Beyond that lay 37 years. R wrote and asked to see me before he died in April of 2008 in a VA hospital in Northern California. He was a broken man, blind in one eye and unable to speak except by saying "yes" or "no" via the thumbs-up or thumbs-down sign. The last thing he said to me was "yes" when I asked if he would like me to read the note on the card I had written to him -- a card which had just arrived in his intensive care unit room. When I left, not knowing that he would die within the week, the nurse said, "He will miss you." I said to her, "It's not easy for me to leave him."

When I began watching the Bob Dylan video for "Beyond Here Lies Nothing," I almost turned it off in anguish, but something told me that I needed to face what had happened in 1971. I watched it once more the next day, hoping to see it differently, but doubt I will ever watch it again. I can say this, though. That video showed me what I had not been able to see clearly before and reminded me that, unlike the woman in the video, I didn't fight back except with words. The words made all the difference. In 2001, R said with respect, "You stood up to me."

The following video is of Bob Dylan singing "New Morning" in 2005:


Dale said...


mum said...

All I can think of is placing my hands on the side of your head and touching your forehead with mine.

(I love the sight of those swallows flitting by.)

Anonymous said...

the swallows keep coming back, their black lines sure enough to trust.kjm

am said...

Dale, mum, and kjm -- Thank you for your presence as I tell that story once again. Each time I tell it, there is more healing for me. I see the wider context. Some years ago, a woman born in China told me a similar story. Early in her marriage to a man from the United States, he raised his hand at her in anger. She looked him in the eye and quietly said, "I am your wife. Why would you want to hit your wife?" She said that he never tried to hit her again.