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 damnedHere comes your ghost againBut that’s not unusualIt’s just that the moon is fullAnd you happened to callAnd here I sitHand on the telephoneHearing a voice I’d knownA couple of light years agoHeading straight for a fall
As I remember your eyesWere bluer than robin’s eggsMy poetry was lousy you saidWhere are you calling from?A booth in the midwest
Ten years agoI bought you some cufflinksYou brought me somethingWe both know what memories can bringThey bring diamonds and rust
Well, you burst on the sceneAlready a legendThe unwashed phenomenonThe original vagabondYou strayed into my armsAnd there you stayedTemporarily lost at seaThe Madonna was yours for freeYes, the girl on the half-shellCould keep you unharmed
Now I see you standingWith brown leaves falling all aroundAnd snow in your hairNow you’re smiling out the windowOf that crummy hotelOver Washington SquareOur breath comes out white cloudsMingles and hangs in the airSpeaking strictly for meWe both could have died then and there
Now you’re telling meYou’re not nostalgicThen give me another word for itYou who are so good with wordsAnd at keeping things vague‘Cause I need some of that vagueness nowIt’s all come back too clearlyYes, I loved you dearlyAnd if you’re offering me diamonds and rustI’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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s