Two Prophets

For We Write Poems Poetry Prompt #197: Prophet


Two Prophets

It ain’t me, babe,
wasn’t a true follower
only stood on very edge
of the crowd
never too proud
to lean in and listen.

Just like a woman,
it was the words I heard
that often called to me,
caught my attention and kept it
long enough to learn them.

Don’t think twice,
music was only secondary
means of remembering
that moment, this experience.

You were enigmatic tambourine man,
leader through those changing times,
prophet blowing in the wind.

Seeking shelter from the storm,
she came, twenty years later,
your face hand painted
on her black leather guitar case.

Asked, “What good am I?”
Then taught me

Elizabeth Crawford  1/23/14

Process Notes: I have written several poems concerning prophets. This one was the result of a circuitous path of synchronicities. Although, I chose this prompt and wrote it up several weeks ago, I didn’t think much about it until a few days ago. When I did, the first thing that popped into my head was a Bob Dylan song someone told me made her always think of me (she was in need of a safe place, so I brought her home). That was over twenty years ago, and I had never heard the song before then, but it sounded like a good life philosophy to me, and reflected a great deal of our relationship. I went looking for a list of Dylan’s songs, flirting with the idea of using some of his titles as part of the poem, but gave up when I realized how many he either wrote or co-authored (500?). I was only familiar with about 23 of them. But, while exploring the music, I found an interview done with Dylan, in which he was asked if he saw himself as the prophet many defined him as. I was surprised to hear that word in conjunction with his person. Although I came of age in the sixties, I liked a variety of music and musicians, but was a follower of none. Yet, try as I might, I couldn’t seem to pull it together. So, I chose to forget about it and to watch the next episode in an old tv series. At the end of the episode, a familiar voice sang a few lyrics of a song. Of course, it was Dylan and I knew the poem was supposed to happen, just not how. Went to bed and awoke to that first line in my head. The italicized words are titles or references to Dylan songs. The URL after the poem is a recording of the song that put me on this path to begin with. The very interesting interview may be found on the same page in the right hand sidebar. Gotta love it when it all comes together.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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7 Responses to Two Prophets

  1. Your process notes are as interesting as the poem! I’m sure the whole story of how your friend came to stay with you is an interesting one. I love the ending line – just when you think you are the one guiding, you learned from her!


  2. annell4 says:

    Magic! You want to be there when it happens!


  3. Misky says:

    This is a quite exceptional piece of writing, Elizabeth. Ive read it through a few times now, and really like it.


  4. Thank you for including the process notes…I really like when poets do that because it illuminates the process by which it was birthed, and that can be as fascinating as the poem itself. You don’t get a change to do it except in a medium like this — live readings aren’t conducive to lengthy explanations and sometimes in print you can’t control what accompanies your work.

    What calls to me from this poem is how easily humans can reach each other through words…once we take away our mental filters, it becomes easy. And we understand.



  5. “Asked ‘What good am I?’ then taught me everything.” Wow, Elizabeth. This is absolutely wonderful.


  6. Stormcat says:

    I liked reading the evolution of your inspiration along with the poems. I liked both of them but the second (which you say you wrote first) really grabbed me. To me you were saying that the reluctant prophets, the ones who don’t even know their own role, the ones who are truly humble, those are they who make a real difference.


  7. julespaige says:

    I too like reading what you write and how you are inspired to write it.
    I being a misfit of the 1960’s and having moved too much never got into music artists.

    Thank you for your visits. ~Jules


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