Poetry Sunday: Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez

Paul Simon and Joan Baez are each in the midst of their "farewell tours." Allegedly, they will each be saying goodbye to the road and the touring life at the end of their tours. Reading this story earlier this week impelled me to give a listen to some of their music once again. There was a time in my personal history when they along with a few others, like Bob Dylan, provided the background music for my life, so it was a trip down memory lane for me.
Joan Baez was - and is - a great interpreter of other people's music and she is mostly known for that, but she also wrote some lyrics of her own and one of those songs is among my favorites.
The subject of "Diamonds and Rust" was her relationship with Bob Dylan and the breakup of that romance. Here are her lyrics.
Diamonds and Rust
by Joan Baez
Well I'll be damned 
Here comes your ghost again 
But that's not unusual 
It's just that the moon is full 
And you happened to call 
And here I sit 
Hand on the telephone 
Hearing a voice I'd known 
A couple of light years ago 
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes 
Were bluer than robin's eggs 
My poetry was lousy you said 
Where are you calling from? 
A booth in the midwest 
Ten years ago 
I bought you some cufflinks 
You brought me something 
We both know what memories can bring 
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene 
Already a legend 
The unwashed phenomenon 
The original vagabond 
You strayed into my arms 
And there you stayed 
Temporarily lost at sea 
The Madonna was yours for free 
Yes the girl on the half-shell 
Could keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing 
With brown leaves falling all around 
And snow in your hair 
Now you're smiling out the window 
Of that crummy hotel 
Over Washington Square 
Our breath comes out white clouds 
Mingles and hangs in the air 
Speaking strictly for me 
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me 
You're not nostalgic 
Then give me another word for it 
You who are so good with words 
And at keeping things vague 
'Cause I need some of that vagueness now 
It's all come back too clearly 
Yes I loved you dearly 
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust 
I've already paid
~~~
And here are the lyrics sung by the woman herself.

Comments

  1. I used to perform that song and I discovered that I still know all the words! Good choice.

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    Replies
    1. They are memorable even to one who can't carry a tune.

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  2. That is so beautiful. When I was a preteen I went to a sleepaway camp where the counselors, for the most part, went to Bryn Mawr college (a women's liberal arts college, at least back then) they introduced me to Joan Baez. I've never been a huge fan of hers but this poem, again, is beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. It's nice to see that she's still going strong after all these years. One of her more recent songs that I really love is "The President Sang Amazing Grace."

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