Blowin’ in the Wind – Lyrics by Bob Dylan, illustrations by Jon J Muth (Book review)

In response to what is happening in Gaza, I decided to share this picture book with you. The book uses the lyrics of Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan and is illustrated beautifully by Jon J Muth.

Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan is possibly my favourite Dylan track of all time, a protest song calling for the end of war, death and occupation. The song is full of metaphor and extraordinary poetic power.

How many roads must 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 really 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.

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind” an ambiguous lyric. Does Dylan mean the answer so obvious it is staring us in the face, or is he saying it is as intangible as the wind?

I don’t know the answer, but how many times can a man turn his head,
pretending he just doesn’t see?

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