Thursday, 22 January 2015

Diamonds and rust

As I walked towards the town, Diamonds and Rust descended upon me.  In other words,  Joan Baez's song, Diamonds and Rust began to play in the radio of my mind.  I have long loved that song.  Since becoming a Joan Baez fan, many years ago, this song was one that I most connected with. 

She wrote the song in response to her break up with Bob Dylan.  From what I understand, she was questioned by the press rather frequently about the relationship ending.  I believe that she partly wrote Diamonds and Rust in response to the constant questions and, no doubt, to exercise the demons of her loss.

There is a line in the song, that refers to the blueness of Dylan's eyes and his opinion of Baez's poetry.  "As I remember your eyes were bluer than robin's eggs.  My poetry was lousy, you said...............".  These lines resonant with me right now.  It's funny how life evolves because when I first heard Diamonds and Rust, I could not imagine life beyond that point.  The story of my life now, is so very different to the story then.  

I recall that I went to watch Joan Baez with my then boyfriend.  Although, by the time the concert happened, we had actually broken up.  We went to watch it together anyway because we wanted to. It was an emotional concert, because of the brilliance of Joan, the majesty of her support, Sinead Lohan and because my newly classified ex-boyfriend and I still had feelings for each other. The complexities of life, meant we could no longer be a couple.  That said, we held hands during the concert.  We also kissed in the car, post-concert.  It was, in fact, the long kiss goodbye.  And I knew this.  It wasn't a kiss of re-connection and reconciliation.  It was our last kiss, for quite some time.  I remember that I was entirely heartbroken.  It was many months before our relationship rekindled. 

Today I thought of this man and smiled.  I loved him once, many moons ago.  I thought of someone else too, someone whose eyes are bluer than robin's eggs. So blue, they are almost Elven, yet he aligns himself with dwarves. My smile for him was tinged with sadness because this loss is still very near.

Joan re-recorded Diamonds and Rust for her Ring them Bells album.  The new version is much the same as the original except when Dylan metaphorically offers Joan diamonds and rust, she says she'll take the diamonds.  It's a comedic nod to the way time heals most emotional wounds.  And perhaps a reference to her emotional strength.  In the original she says, "if you're offering me diamonds and rust, I've already paid" because then the pain was still near. At least that's my interpretation of her words.

Despite my sadness today, Diamonds and Rust serves to remind me that romantic relationships are not all plain sailing.  There are ups and downs.  There is both diamonds and rust.  When romantic relationships end, the protagonists will be left with good and bad memories.  Thankfully the rust recedes and we emerge anew. Sometime relationships reconvene and sometimes they don't.  Either way, they add to the story of your life.


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