An Adornian Homage to Bob Dylan

Ceci n'est pas Bob Dylan

A stag entered the garden – I saw it from the kitchen window – and it seemed to know my name. I went outside to greet it, but when I arrived it wasn’t there anymore. It had moved into the forest where it was dark and cold. The trees were old and moved in ever-growing circles.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

Three suitors went to win the heart of a princess locked in a tower. They climbed her hair, entered the window, and had to persuade her with their words who loved her most. The first knight, dressed in chainmail and visor, had composed a poem in which he compared her eyes to the stars, her face to the moon, and her lips to a deep, red rose. The second knight had written a speech. More than the highest mountain, the lowest valley, the deepest sea, and the furthest star: that was how much he loved her. The third knight handed her a note. As soon as she began to open it he ran and leapt out of the window to his death. She opened the aged and crumpled piece of paper. It was blank.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham competed in an archery match. The Sheriff shot first, aimed high and pulled hard: the arrow went soaring through the air and landed at the heart of the bull’s-eye. He roared with satisfaction. Robin shot second, but just as he was taking aim a court jester (a dwarf) approached him and whispered something in his ear. Robin unleashed: the arrow went soaring through the air, the wind forcing it to swirl left and right, right and left. Finally, it landed: on the very edge of the target. The crowd cheered: Robin had won.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

A businessman approached me and offered to show me the contents of his briefcase. Since I had nothing better to do, and nowhere else to go, I accepted. His briefcase was enormous, and as he opened it it sounded like the lowering of a drawbridge. Out of the case stepped another businessman, and he too had a briefcase, and he too offered to open it. As he did so, the first businessman came and stood beside me, enthralled by the contents of the second man’s briefcase. This time it sounded like the opening of electric doors. The three of us stood and watched as a third businessman stepped out, also holding a briefcase. The new arrival immediately opened his own case, which made no sound at all. As soon as it was fully open, a woman stepped out ringing bells. The three men were afraid of the sound and ran away.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were sat in a saloon in the Wild West. Chewing tobacco, frequently spitting black globules onto the sawdust floor, they pondered their cards. Just as Jesus was about to make his move, the Devil stormed into the saloon. ‘Come on outta here! It’s high noon, damn you!’ Jesus chewed slowly, pondered his cards some more, and then spat into a tin bucket. ‘I said get the hell outside, Messiah! It’s now or never, I’m warning you!’ Jesus turned his head slowly. He looked the Devil square in the eyes. He said nothing. The Father and the Holy Ghost just kept on chewing.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

She wrote my name in the sand. She spent seven long hours with a piece of driftwood, just carving the letters of my name. The sun reached its highest point, and started its slow decline. The lower it got, the quicker the waves came in. At the end of the seven hours, she asked me what I thought. I didn’t get chance to say, because the breakers crashed into the hollow ciphers, shifting their shapes.

Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?

When we first got married, he asked me my favourite colour. ‘Red.’ Favourite film? ‘Don’t have one.’ Favourite song? ‘Don’t have one’. Favourite meal? ‘Spaghetti bolognaise.’ Favourite shape? If I’d have said ‘Square’, I’d have been lying. If I’d have said ‘Circle’, I’d have been lying. If I’d have said ‘Spiral’, I’d have been telling the truth as far as I knew it to be true. So I said ‘Triangle, darling, because I know it’s your favourite too.’