Nobel Bob


Naked and numb
every man’s conscience
can be read in the
murmur of flashing

when within the great
American song
thunder ducked inside

Some heard the vile
for having created
new poetic

some heard far between
sundown’s finish and
midnight’s broken toll
chimes of freedom.

You cannot depend
on being read with
shadows in the

remember what it was
when we came here
to get away
from tradition.


Mike Ferguson
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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2 Responses to Nobel Bob

    1. Strong, satisfying and thoughtful poetry. The oddest sense that every line starts halfway through a longer line which never finishes, so the propositions seem to assemble themselves from an accidental conflation of many voices, like phrases gathered in a scrap book over many years.

      Comment by Bernard Ward on 22 October, 2016 at 10:29 pm
    2. I think that the poem of Dylan as Nobel prizewinner is a welcome movement away from stuffy traditionalism. But more, it’s a recognition that the best writing blasts away conventional straitjackets, creating universal appeal. It is blissfully non-academic.

      That his poetry is great is not a new idea; on the pavement level I taught that many years ago in school and college. It has just taken the reactionaries years to catch up.

      Your poem is mimetic with it’s coloratura effects. I like the apparently loose, informal control which is of course an illusion. Your poem, with its vocabulary of change in mood and tone, of appealing to those of us on street level, says it as it should be said.

      Comment by Jackie Moore on 24 October, 2016 at 11:43 am

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