Monday, September 24, 2012

"May Your Song Always Be Sung"

Oddly enough, the boys brought home some cool retro hippie posters:

Back in the seventies, you know, last century, when posters like these were popular, I heard a song by Bob Dylan.  (I can hear your eyes roll.)

I am a huge Dylan fan, always was, even before I knew it.  I sang 'Blowin' in the Wind' and 'Mister Tambourine Man' for years before I actually heard Bob do them.  And then I heard him do them, and they blew me away.  So did this song:

I got the album Planet Waves sometime around nineteen-hundred-and-seventy-five and spent a lot of time sitting on my bed learning the tunes Bob Dylan had sent me, directly, it seemed.  The words to this song encouraged and brightened me; it was a song for the boy/man, artist/athlete, intellectual/idiot I was at that moment.  I sang it as an anthem, pounding the chords, and, singing like Woody, I shouted it to the mountaintops, a promise.  Then it was the prayer of a dreamer; eyes, heart and soul forward, ready to fly.

As a young man out of college, slummin' it, drinkin' too much, thinkin' too much, working too much at everything but a career, I sang this song dirge-like, with a melancholy angst that I only now begin to understand.  The part in life where you realize dreams don't always come true and, as it turns out, you can dream it and not do it.  I can vouch for that.  I sang it for us then, I guess.  I sang it for the young men I knew so well, dying of AIDS; I sang it to the brokenhearted actors, singers and playwrights selling insurance or bartending.  I sang it to a generation of lost, wandering dreamers.

Yesterday, I played it again, on the same guitar, vintage now but purchased new, on which I learned it.  I sang in the basement of my home, surrounded by love, content for the most part, and, if I can say it, a little wiser.  I sang it this time for our sons, my sons and yours.  I sang for children, I sang for childhood, I sang for innocence, I sang for hope.  I sang it forward, as Bob had done for me.  I will do for them.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others and let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
May you stay Forever Young

 May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay Forever Young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And May you stay Forever Young

Bob Dylan  1974 

Today, I send this out to my kids as a dream, to you as a prayer and to myself as a hope. The hope that I have done this thing, lived this life well enough; that I have laughed and cried with enough honesty; that I have loved enough with my soul to be worthy of saying:  "I have kept my promise, may my song always be sung."

Thanks, Bob.


  1. Well said.

    And that is real art work. :)

  2. Beautiful. Just...beautiful. I know I'm dating myself, but '70s music is the best! My guitar insists on playing Bob Dylan too(and Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, and Judy Collins.)There are lots of young kids on my Facebook, and I don't see many signs of the idealism that music represented.

  3. That was great. I was a late fan of Dylan--probably just after watching "Don't Look Back" a few years ago. Even though he came out in the movie as this strange, arrogant, even a little mean kid, who somehow got this divine inspiration to write amazing songs, these were still amazing songs that helped shape the world and change lives.