Monday, 22 August 2016

'Parting is such sweet sorrow'

No, I'm not going anywhere. I've just been thinking about the parting cup. That is the last cup we share with friends for one reason or another. This is one of my favourite songs, written by Bob Dylan a long time ago. Do read it slowly and take in the words. It always brings a tear to my eye.

Restless Farewell – Bob Dylan

Oh all the money that in my whole life I did spend
Be it mine right or wrongfully

I let it slip gladly past the hands of my friends
To tie up the time most forcefully
But the bottles are done
We’ve killed each one
And the table’s full and overflowed
And the corner signSays it’s closing time
So I’ll bid farewell and be down the road

Oh ev’ry girl that ever I’ve touched
I did not do it harmfully
And ev’ry girl that ever I’ve hurt
I did not do it knowin’ly
But to remain as friends
And make amends
You need the time and stay behind
And since my feet are now fast
And point away from the past
I’ll bid farewell and be down the line

Oh ev’ry foe that ever I faced
The cause was there before we came
And ev’ry cause that ever I fought
I fought it full without regret or shame
But the dark does die
As the curtain is drawn and somebody’s eyes
Must meet the dawn
And if I see the day
I’d only have to stay
So I’ll bid farewell in the night and be gone

Oh, ev’ry thought that’s strung a knot in my mind
I might go insane if it couldn’t be sprung
But it’s not to stand naked under unknowin’ eyes
It’s for myself and my friends my stories are sung
But the time ain’t tall, yet on time you depend
And no word is possessed by no special friend
And though the line is cut
It ain’t quite the end
I’ll just bid farewell till we meet again

Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time
To disgrace, distract, and bother me
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face
And the dust of rumors covers me
But if the arrow is straight
And the point is slick
It can pierce through dust no matter how thick
So I’ll make my stand
And remain as I am
And bid farewell and not give a damn

It is adapted from an old Scottish traditional song called 'The Parting Glass' which was sung at the end of a gathering of friends before Robbie Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne. The song is also popular in Ireland and amongst Irish communities.

Here is Sinaed O'Connor's beautiful version:

As we get older, we can't help but wonder if this or that will be the last time we ever do that thing or see that person. Life creeps up on us and suddenly there is more sand in the bottle of the hourglass than there is at the top! This isn't necessarily a bad thing because we have stored up so many memories over the years and we are able to dip into them whenever we feel like it! They come to us unexpectedly sometimes and give us pleasure in the remembering.

So what do you do to remember? Do you just sit and think or maybe look through old photo albums? Perhaps meeting up with an old friend who has shared the same memories as you opens the channels of memory. I do all of that and more. Music, smells, all those things bring back those lovely times of the past, which are all the better in the looking back!


  1. I just finished an interesting book on memory, short- and long-term recollections and how important it is to have that ability. I never take it for granted. And yes, there is much more behind me than ahead, and it's okay. :-)

  2. I spent Sunday looking through photos of my family in England, all those memories, grandmother, great-grandmother, and even great, great grandmother. I see myself in their faces and build, generation after generation, I could almost hear their voices.....

    1. Yes Jo and how we long to hear those voices again.

  3. My best friend arrives for a visit a month from today, and I have no doub this will open up long forgotten memories, we have been friends 38 yrs! I am now 50 so also probably with less years ahead then behind!

    1. Wow that is exciting! And you will enjoy her visit so much Britgal. Time will fall away as the memories flood over you.

  4. Bob Dylan's words are such pure poetry. I got to see him play once in a small venue. Yes, the last cup will one day be shared, even as it was in the Last Supper.

    1. Ooh Terra, I am so envious. I would love to have seen Bob in a small venue. I have seen him three times, twice in London and once in Birmingham (England).

  5. Those lyrics... I appreciate reading them, he was a poet with a melody in his soul.
    I am feeling orientated, need little more than a song, a scent, the slant of the light through a window, and memories awaken to retell a moment that's gone on by, but forever lives in my mind.

    1. And some memories are so strong, you can almost touch them!

  6. DJan, I think our memories come back in brighter colours as we age and that is definitely something to treasure.

  7. I just wanted to tell you that every single comment I've made on your other blog bounce back to me. I sure hope this gets through to you. Very frustrating! :-(

  8. Thank you for the lyrics -- I've always liked that Dylan song and hadn't been aware of its origin. I'm thankful indeed for memories -- the good ones shine so brightly. And at 73 I realize that I could drop dead the next minute or live many more years. It adds a certain piquancy to every day.

  9. Thank you Djan and Vicki. Both comments received, but something odd and annoying is going on!


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