Francis O’Hare – For Bob Dylan

Francis O’Hare was born in Newry, Co. Down, in 1970. His first full collection, Falling into an O, was published by Lagan Press, Belfast, in 2007. A further pamphlet collection was published by Lagan Press in 2009, entitled Alphaville. He published his second collection, Somewhere Else, with Lagan Press in 2011. In the same year, he also published a collection in America, with Evening Street Press, Ohio, entitled Home and Other Elsewheres. He has published poems in various magazines in Ireland, the U.K. and the United States, including Poetry Ireland Review and The Yellow Nib.

For Bob Dylan

who painted pictures you can dance to in the gallery of your mind
who displayed mount rushmore portraits in the museum of the wind
who heard the hydrogen jukebox and learned reality rhymed

who built time machines from matches and travelled far and wide
who passed mountains, highways, forests, oceans, graveyards all sad-eyed
who saw ten thousand movie-visions all along the countryside

who dressed up like a jester to tell his cryptic joke
who liked to drink red burgundy in arabesques of smoke
who sang disconsolate love songs ’cos the universe’s heart was broke

who sailed in search of ahab’s whale, found Isis in its place
who wandered through infinity, spent the night in outer space
who slept on Jehovah’s couch and shared a joint with His son Jesus

who rode his rusty motorbike like roy rodgers’ trusty trigger
who wore a mask like zorro, jesse james, the lone ranger
who lived outside the law a few times, hid out across the border

who loved a girl, a woman, a princess from on old
who hurt her and was hurt by her, a story often told
who built out of the ruins a temple made of gold

who felt the hard rain fallin before it even fell
who hitched a ride with dante through the nine circles of hell
who followed in his footprints on the path guided by virgil

who watched the tv horrified as j. f. k. got shot
who sang for martin luther king and then heard he’d been shot
who shared a limousine with lennon who later on got shot

who tried to use a change of key to free imprisoned slaves
who often turned his songs into old ships and rode the waves
who stood beneath the sky as lightning struck the heavens’ staves

who climbed a white ladder through a shining waterfall
who held up cardboard placards in an alley to us all
who told the truth but slantwise, obeyed his master’s call

who evaded all the labels and the ones who think they know it
who might have been a highwayman, a hobo or a prophet
who called himself a song and dance man but was really just a poet

who witnessed transfiguration of the times, lived in a tent
who explored the ancient mystery of who he was or wasn’t
who set us an example of what j. alfred prufrock might have meant

who stole the name of Dylan ’cos it wasn’t up for sale
who came from iron range hibbing where the wind blows like a gale
who won’t go gentle into that good night but with a harmonica’s desolate wail




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