Partly in tribute to someone who has been a great hero for me from way back, and partly for the sheer fun of it, I started with what I consider to be Bob Dylan's magnum opus, his Visions of Johanna, and tried to write an adaptation based on the life and the world I know - not autobiographical, but imaginably so. With all necessary apologies and best wishes to Bob, this was the result.
How like the web, to be filling my head
with stuff I don't care a toss,
attempting, I know, to soothe all the pain in the hope I'll forget
the one thing I'll treasure for ever -
my Sally, my love and my loss.
The old man was asking for money again - I dropped a few quid
(what she would have done). He nodded, no fuss -
no, none of the fuss he'd have made
if she'd dropped the dosh.
Daily I pass by our bistro -
cannot think why I once thought it posh.
I gaze through the window, amazed
at the place where we grazed:
the decor's decidedly tatty;
the fare, not the fare that we shared.
I walk home most times, not risking the taxi.
Can't face the driver, the questions, the "Where is your Sally?"
Crossing The Square, I'm repeatedly asked if I'd like a good time,
just as I was when Sally was there on my arm.
How we laughed at their cheek,
and roared at the visions that rose in our minds
of what I had missed!
The gig was a sell-out, "World Crack" sent them wild,
their faces were twisted, their bodies perspired.
It was never that risqué when Sal' came along -
but just for that once, I found it too tame:
four men trying hard to recapture their game.
It never took off - and I missed the last train,
walked home once again.
And there was my Sally, in every last bus,
she waved or she smiled from each window that passed.
The cinema screen has gone too serene,
and gone are the thrills that it brought.
The art films we watched
no longer enchant; they're precious, contrived,
pretentious and twee. I wouldn't go now - not even for free!
Not without Sally explaining to me
the shots and the symbols and what I should see.
The season's last match brought them back to The Hill:
the two Polar Bears, their faces jet black,
eyes orange and red, their white woolly coats, rosettes that belonged
to none of the teams that we've ever seen.
One fancied my Sally once, asked her to walk
and said he would teach her to talk the new talk.
How we laughed at our visions of what she had missed!
The evenings are long, I still cook the meals
that she taught me to cook, remember their names
that I read in the book, and enjoy the faint taste
of a life that was mine, with Sally my mentor, my Sally divine.
My head's full of thoughts, ideas that explode.
They all came from her, she planted the seeds
and watered them well,
replacing the stuff that was in there before.
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