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Monday, January 07, 2008

Onward in my journey, I come to understand...

Hello, friends. The song of the month this is Every Grain of Sand by Bob Dylan. It is the closing song off of the album Shot of Love from 1981, the last of three overtly Christian albums.

Every Grain of Sand

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.

Copyright © 1981 Special Rider Music

Like many of Bob Dylan's songs, it recognizes opposites sides of everything. Even in the midst of the faith we've been given, our sinful nature causes us to doubt. I don't know of any other song that can be so changed by one lyric change. The album version shows a bit of despair, "I am hanging in the balance, of the reality of man". Every live version I've ever heard turns things around, "I'm hanging in the balance of a perfect finish plan." I don't think I like the song with the original lyrics, with the lyric change it's a masterpiece. I've been lucky enough to see this song live twice, & it was a highlight of each show. In fact, I can't think of one live version I don't like. Emmylou Harris sang the song at Johnny Cash's funeral.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Most Likely (You'll Go Your Way & I'll Go Mine)-Bob Dylan, Boston 1994

Hallelujah-Jeff Buckley, Grace-This song came up on the ol' Ipod shuffle at work today, & somebody told me that they recognized this song from the movie Shrek. I found that to be quite shocking, I'm not sure why. Can anybody confirm this?

Every Grain of Sand-Bob Dylan, Detroit 2004

Man in the Long Black Coat-Bob Dylan, Detroit 2004

Fire on the Mountain-the Grateful Dead, Shakedown Street

Happy Monday, friends...



Joyce said...

Sorry, cannot confirm the song in Shrek, but what to thank you for the powerful lyrics. I'll need more of that.

Pam said...

Yes, I believe it is in Shrek, but I'm not sure of the scene. I agree with you about preferring the change of lyrics in Bob's song. Joyce is right--powerful!

Pam said...

P.S. Do you think in this point in his journey Bob Dylan's "come to understand"?

Heidi said...

Yes it is in Shrek! I don't think Bob Dylan sings it in the movie though. I can't think of the guys name at the moment... Scott says it is Rufus Wainwright...of course he had to go look it up when I asked (it only took him 10 minutes :))

andrew! said...

I know it wasn't bob dylan, I thought it was Jeff Buckley.

Mary said...

Fire on the Mountain is a song I like from the Grateful Dead. I have heard the Bob Dylan song you wrote about. Did you get the Dylan Chronicle for Christmas?

andrew! said...

No, I bought it when it came out. It's a pretty interesting read.

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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...