U3A: Blowin’ in the Wind

Van Gogh
How many roads most a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see ?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

 

“Blowin’ in the Wind” was written by Bob Dylan in 1962. The melody comes from an old slave song and the lyrics recall Exekiel: “They have eyes to see but see not; ears to hear, but hear not.”

The theme may also derive from a passage in Woody Guthrie’s autobiography (“Bound for Glory”) where he compares his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets.

It is a protest song dealing with freedom and humanity, war and peace, which became a sort of anthem of the 1960s civil rights movement. Like most of his songs, it contains political and social ideas, expressed in a simple direct way.
It represents a forceful demand for social justice and poses a series of questions that people refuse to answer, revealing what is man’s greatest inhumanity to man: indifference.
Some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong,” he declared in the Freewheelin’ liner notes.

The refrain “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” is ambiguous: it may claim either that the answers are already there, they are obvious and direct or that they are as intangible as the wind. Therefore they cannot be found, because the wind is a fleeting, invisible thing that comes and goes; it is not permanent and it is not written out in stone. Perhaps, the answer must be found within themselves, or within society.

In 1962 Dylan stated: “There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. … it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some …But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know . . . and then it flies away. I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong”.

 

Quante strade deve percorrere un uomo
prima che lo si possa chiamare uomo?
E quanti mari deve sorvolare una colomba bianca
prima che possa riposare nella sabbia?
Sì, e quante volte dovranno volare le palle di cannone
prima che siano bandite per sempre?
La risposta, amico mio, vola nel vento
la risposta vola nel vento

Quanti anni può esistere una montagna
prima che venga spazzata via fino al mare?
Sì, e quanti anni deve vivere certa gente
prima che le sia concesso di essere libera?
Sì, e quante volte un uomo può voltare la testa
fingendo di non vedere?
La risposta, amico, vola nel vento
la risposta vola nel vento

Quante volte un uomo deve guardare verso l’alto
prima di riuscire a scorgere il cielo?
Sì, e quante orecchie deve avere un uomo
prima di essere capace sentir piangere la gente?
Sì, e quante morti saranno necessarie prima che sappia
che sono morte troppe persone?
La risposta, amico, vola nel vento
La risposta vola nel vento

(L.Z.)

 

23 thoughts on “U3A: Blowin’ in the Wind

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