It’s taken some time, but Bob Dylan is beginning to captivate me. His voice moans, raw and rasping.  His words make drum-like rhythms, philosophical yet simple.  And his harmonica shimmers, flashing out in a bright embellishment of voice and guitar. It all has the flavor of ardent sincerity.

On the first day of my 9th grade Civil Rights in American Literature class, my students and I listened to Dylan sing “Blowin’ In the Wind.” Images of a white dove flying in search of a place to sleep and a mountain that is endlessly being washed into the sea seemed to strike a chord with these teenagers. They bent over the words, then looked up as they recognized Dylan’s cries for freedom and justice.

My dad can sing most of the words to Dylan’s songs. The other day, we rode in the car listening to “Tomorrow Is a Long Time:”

“There’s beauty in the silver singin’ river/ There’s beauty in the sunrise in the sky/ But none of these and nothing else can touch the beauty/ That I remember in my true love’s eyes./ Yes and only if my own true love was waitin’/ Yes and if I could hear her heart a-softly poundin’/ Only if she was lyin’ by me/ Then I’d lie in my bed once again.”

Dad said he didn’t know if he’d ever heard a more beautiful love song.