In the end, the plague touched us all. It was not confined to the Oran of Camus. No.
It turned up again in America, breeding in-a-compost of greed and uselessness and murder,
in those places where statesmen and generals stash the bodies of the forever young.
The plague ran in the blood of men in sharkskin suits, who ran for President promising life and delivering death.
The infected young men machine-gunned babies in ditches; they marshalled metal death through the mighty clouds, up above God's green earth,
released it in silent streams, and moved on, while the hospitals exploded and Greenfield was churned to mud.
there are worse ways of getting there
and I ain’t complainin’ none
if the clouds don’t drop and the train don’t stop
i’m bound to meet the sun
just then a bolt of lightning
struck the courthouse out of shape
and while ev’rybody knelt to pray
the drifter did escape
the curtains part, and there they see to their horror, attached to the backdrop, the emblem of everything they are coming to hate,
the emblem of napalm and Coca-Cola and white racism and colonialism and imagination’s death.
It is a huge fifty-star American flag.
And Bob Dylan, the emblem of American rebellion and imagination's rebirth, has hoisted it aloft.
"eye don't believe you"
even before my father's father
they called us all rebels
they burned down our cornfields - left our cities leveled
i still feel the eyes of those blue bellied devils
when i'm walkin' round at night
through the concrete and metal
the blacks and the whites
steal the other kids’ lives
wealth is a filthy rag
so erotic - so unpatriotic
so wrapped up in the American flag
The Yellow Badge of Courage
That is no small thing. We live in the smoky landscape now, as the exhausted troops seek the roads home.
The signposts have been smashed; the maps are blurred.
There is no politician anywhere who can move anyone to hope; the plague recedes, but it is not dead,
and the statesmen are as irrelevant as the tarnished statues in the public parks.
We live with a callous on the heart. Only the artists can remove it.
Only the artists can help the poor land again to feel.
and the caravan is painted red and white
that means ev'rybody's staying overnight
and the barefoot gypsy boy
'round the campfire - sing an' play
and the woman tells us of her ways