. . . and the fourth part of the day is already gone.

That's a line from the new Dylan album, Together Through Life, due out on the 28th of this month.

The song, “I Feel A Change Coming On”, has been seen by some commentators as reflecting the dawn of the Obama era, and that might be part of it — but I think it's mostly about the possibility of change in old age.

There was a time, back in the Sixties, when young folks might say, with some truth, that older folks couldn't really get what Dylan was singing about.  Today, older folks might say that young folks can't really get what Dylan is singing about now — that you need some serious mileage on your odometer to feel the depth of the ragged wisdom roiling around in his new work.

I mean, could any young person fully comprehend what these lines from the same song mean:

Well now what's the use in dreaming?
You got better things to do.
Dreams never did work for me anyway,
Even when they did come true.

I don't think so.

                                                                                                                                    Image©Bruce Davidson

The photo by Bruce Davidson on the cover of the new album has some relationship to this idea.  The kids making out in the back seat of the car have no idea where they're going — they aren't looking out to see.  They don't know yet, to paraphrase another song on the album, that beyond their embrace lies nothing.