Diamonds and Rust

A cold Saturday night and I’m watching a Bob Dylan and Joan Baez documentary on YouTube. Tomorrow I take the train up to Lille for a week’s vacation. It’s “les vacances scolaires” (school break) up north and I’ll be spending time with my favorite ten-year-old.

Joan was hopelessly in love with Bob. They were a couple in the early days, but it didn’t last. He moved on, but they did remain friends and in later years continued to sing together.

The song. Written in 1974, Joan Baez is singing to her former lover Bob Dylan, fondly reminiscing about their 1960s affair. Lyrics below. It’s a truly beautiful song, tinged with melancholy. 

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.
Songwriter: Joan Baez

5 thoughts on “Diamonds and Rust

  1. Terrific song which after listening led me on a short nostalgic trip to listening to a few of Gordon Lightfoot’s songs especially “If you could read my mind”.

    • Oh, I know those nostalgic trips, I take many of them.

      Have you seen Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue on Netflix? (Bob Dylan tour of 1975). There’s a wonderful scene filmed in Gordon Lightfoot’s house in Toronto where Joni Mitchell is singing her new song, Coyote, while Dylan accompanies her on the guitar. Priceless.

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