April 7, 2011 by Sez
Well, that’s one quarter of them done!
OK, so on BBC Radio 4 yesterday I heard both about the detention of dissident artist Ai Weiwei being detained by the Chinese police signifying a crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent in that country, and about Bob Dylan’s plans to play a concert there.
I couldn’t quite manage a found sestina, but I did come up with this. Mentally add in the ‘blowin’ in the wind’ chorus between each stanza if you like.
How many roads must a man walk down
Before they call him a man?
Yes and how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
Listen Bob, don’t you think that you’re gonna be banned
From singing those things that are down
On oppression and war? Do you think that’ll fly
With that old Chinese government man?
Cause he’ll pick through your lyrics like small grains of sand
And anything you want to say’ll
Be strictly forbidden. Tickets are on sale
Right now in Beijing. Do your band
Know that you have crossed over that line in the sand
And agreed that you should tone it down
And remove anything about freedom of man
for a state who’ll let cannonballs fly
Against their own people? Is that gonna fly
With your fans? Are your morals for sale?
Bob, tell me, oh where is that angry young man
Who stood up when dissent it was banned?
What made you agree to give up and back down
While a government laughs and kicks sand
In the face of its people? I heard of this and
The idea of it just doesn’t fly.
Cause if Dylan sells out, the whole world’s going down
The pan and our souls are for sale.
I’d have thought you’d say no and be proud to be banned.
But no. You’re in the pay of the man.
But practically: what will you sing to them, man?
Cause a white dove asleep in the sand
Is about all that’ll get through, the rest will be banned.
Will you write something new on the fly.
Which conforms to what China would want you to say?
Look, Bob. Look at the road you’ve walked down!
You and your band are playing for the man.
It gets me down to think that you’d all fly
There, grimace, and put freedom’s soul on sale.