poem tells a story within its words, even if it is not directly stated. Nearly every word and phrase in a poem, and even its punctuation has a meaning and a message that the author is trying to send across to the reading or listening audience. Not always is it easy to immediately understand what the poet is trying to say, but within the words and punctuation, over time and with analysis, interpretation is possible. Poetry is a group of so many words that a poet carefully chooses to show certain meaning. The song ” Every Grain of Sand” that is written by Bob Dylan deserves to be called poetry because of his careful use of tone, symbolism, allusion, simile and enjambments.
Tone is an important part of poetry. It sets the mood of the piece and gives the audience a sense of what is going on and how the narrator feels. In ” Every Grain of Sand” the tone is one of sadness and depression. There is a certain desperate tone in the poem, as the narrator looks for help in “the hour of their deepest need.” This is evident in the first and second lines of the first stanza when it is written “In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need / When pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed.” The “time of confession” sets a solemn tone, for when a person is confessing it is usually a quiet, personal, and regretful time. This sad emotion that the tone sets is further emphasized when the author uses words and phrases like “sorrow of Night,” “violence”, “chill”, “bitter”, “loneliness” and “broken mirror of innocence.” These all set a mood of sadness, anger, bitterness, hatred and darkness that the narrator feels in his hour of need, as they carry the burden, or the “chains,” of their past mistakes. Although most of the poem keeps with a sad tone, the tone shifts slightly. Line fifteen says ” Then onward on my journey I come to understand…” This line shows that he is slowly on his way, realizing things he perhaps did not at first.
Symbolism is another important poetic device that is used throughout this poem. One’s entire understanding of the poem relies upon their understanding of the symbols applied. Bob Dylan uses symbolism on numerous occasions throughout his song ” Every Grain of Sand”. In the line ” When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed,”(1. 2) Dylan uses the flooding of the newborn seed to represent how the tears and sadness are drowning out the hope of a new start or of finding peace. The “dyin’ voice within me ” (1. 3) represents this drowning hope that this person still has for a better life, even though there remains a feeling of despair, as it is said in line four. Dylan continues using nature in his symbolism in stanza 3, lines 9 and 10, ” Oh the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear, / Like Criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.” The flowers of indulgence represent the temptations in life – drawing people to their beauty, while the weeds of yesteryear choking the breath of conscience and good cheer represent the numbing effects of over indulgence. Things that once seemed to make life great have been used so much that, after a while, they are no longer fulfilling, leaving emptiness in a person. Even as the narrator realizes this, temptation still draws them in. “I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame. / And every time I pass that way I always hear my name” (4.13-14) shows this. The doorway represents an opportunity or a choice to follow a path that leads to an “angry flame,” which can represent evil and hell. The voices calling are the inner temptation that we all have for things that give us immediate satisfaction.
Throughout the poem, Dylan uses symbols to represent God or a higher power. He refers to the sun as it “beat down upon the steps of time to light the way to ease the pain of idleness