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“I once loved a girl
her skin it was bronze
with the innocence of a lamb
she was gentle like a fawn
I courted her proudly but now she is gone
gone as the season she’s taken

Through young summer’s breeze
I stole her away
from her mother and sister
though close did they stay
each one of them suffering
from the failures of their day
with strings of guilt
they tried hard to guide us

Of the two sisters, I loved the young
with sensitive instincts
she was the creative one
the constant scapegoat
she was easily undone
by the jealousy of others around her

For her parasite sister
I had no respect
bound by her boredom
her pride to protect
countless visions of the other she’d reflect
as a crutch for her scenes and her society

Myself, for what I did
I cannot be excused
the changes I was going
through can’t even be used
for the lies that I told her
in hopes not to lose
the could-be dream-lover of my lifetime


With unknown consciousness
I possessed in my grip
a magnificent mantelpiece
though its heart being chipped
noticing not that I’d already slipped
to a sin of love’s false security

From silhouetted anger to manufactured peace
answers of emptiness, voice vacancies
till the tombstones of damage
read me no questions but, – Please
what’s wrong and what’s exactly the matter? –

And so it did happen
like it could have been foreseen
the timeless explosion of fantasy’s dream
at the peak of the night
the king and the queen
tumbled all down into pieces

– The tragic figure! – her sister did shout
– Leave her alone, God damn you, get out! –
And I in my armor, turning about
and nailing her to the ruins of her pettiness

Beneath a bare lightbulb
the plaster did pound
her sister and I
in a screaming battleground
and she in between
the victim of sound
soon shattered as a child
’neath her shadows

All is gone, all is gone
admit it, take flight
I gagged twice, doubled
tears blinding my sight
my mind it was mangled
I ran into the night
leaving all of love’s ashes behind me

The wind knocks my window
the room it is wet
the words to say I’m sorry
I haven’t found yet
I think of her often
and hope whoever she’s met
will be fully aware
of how precious she is

Ah, my friends from the prison
they ask unto me
– How good, how good does
it feel to be free? –
And I answer them most mysteriously
– Are birds free
from the chains of the skyway? -“.

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Traduzione.

“Un tempo amai una ragazza
la sua pelle era di bronzo
con l’innocenza di un agnello
era gentile come una cerbiatta
la corteggiai con orgoglio
ma adesso è andata via
andata come le stagioni
portata via

Nella brezza di una giovane estate
la portai via
alla madre e alla sorella
sebbene molto vicine esse fossero
ciascuna nella sofferenza
degli insuccessi del loro giorno
con le redini della colpa
cercarono a lungo di guidarci.

Delle due sorelle
amai la più giovane
con la sua istintiva sensibilità
era la più creativa
costantemente il capro espiatorio
fu presto distrutta
dalla gelosia delle altre
attorno a lei.

Per la sorella parassita
non avevo alcun rispetto
costretta dalla noia
a proteggere il suo orgoglio
infinite immagini dell’altra rifletteva
come sostegno per il suo mondo
e la sua società.

Io stesso, per quello che ho fatto
non posso essere scusato
i cambiamenti che attraversavo
non possono essere una scusa
per le bugie che dicevo
nella speranza di non perdere
l’amore, forse, di tutta la mia vita.

Con inconsapevole coscienza
possedevo stretto in pugno
un magnifico oggetto
sebbene il suo cuore fosse incrinato
senza rendermi conto
che ero già scivolato nella colpa
della falsa sicurezza di amore.

Da ira preesistente a pace fabbricata
risposte di vuoto, vuoti di voce
finché sul sepolcro del danno
non si lesse che una domanda
“Ti prego, cosa c’è che non va
qual è esattamente il problema?”

E così successe
come si sarebbe potuto prevedere
l’esplosione senza tempo
di un sogno della fantasia
nel cuore della notte
il re e la regina
precipitarono in pezzi.

“Tragico figuro!”, la sorella gridò
“lasciala stare, Dio possa dannarti, vattene!”
e io nella mia armatura, mi voltai
inchiodandola alle rovine della sua meschinità

Sotto una nuda lampadina
l’intonaco tremava
la sorella ed io
in una battaglia di urla
e lei nel mezzo
la vittima del frastuono
presto frantumata
come un bambino nelle ombre.

Tutto è perduto tutto è perduto
ammettilo fuggi lontano
io imbavagliato in lacrime di contraddizione
che mi accecavano la vista
il cervello lacerato
corsi nella notte
lasciando tutte le ceneri dell’amore
dietro di me.

Il vento picchia alla finestra
la stanza è umida
le parole per dire mi dispiace
non le ho ancora trovate
penso spesso di lei
e spero che chiunque abbia incontrato
sappia bene riconoscere
quanto sia preziosa.

Ah i miei amici dalla prigione
mi chiedono: “Com’è
com’è sentirsi liberi?”
e io rispondo loro misteriosamente
“Sono gli uccelli liberi
dalle catene del cielo?”.

(Traduzione a cura di Francesco Komd)

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Bob Dylan, Ballad in plain D – 8:16
(Bob Dylan)
Album: Another side of Bob Dylan (1964)

Brano inserito nella rassegna Somebody that I used to love. Le canzoni dedicate alle ex (o agli ex) di InfinitiTesti.

Per altri testi, traduzioni e commenti, guarda la discografia completa di Bob Dylan.

Per segnalare errori su testi o traduzioni, o semplicemente per suggerimenti, richieste d’aiuto e qualunque altra curiosità, potete scriverci all’indirizzo [email protected].

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Citazioni.

Ballad in Plain D is the tenth track of Bob Dylan‘s fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan, and—at eight minutes, eighteen seconds—the longest song on the album. The song recounts the circumstances surrounding the disintegration of Dylan’s relationship with Suze Rotolo. Dylan details the conflicts between himself, and Rotolo’s mother, Mary Rotolo, and her sister Carla Rotolo. Critic Andy Gill writes that, in this song, Dylan clumsily idealises Suze Rotolo, while “viciously characterizing Carla as a pretentious, social-climbing parasite”. The song relates how tension between Dylan and Suze Rotolo came to a head in the last week of March 1964 with a violent argument, in which Dylan and sister Carla shouted abuse at each other. “Beneath a bare lightbulb the plaster did pound / Her sister and I in a screaming battleground / And she in between, the victim of sound / Soon shattered as a child to the shadows“.
Andy Gill writes that “Ballad in Plain D” is one of Dylan’s “least satisfying” songs because it fails to amount to anything more than a “self-pitying, one-sided account of the final traumatic night of Dylan’s long-standing romance with Suze Rotolo“. Gill contrasts Dylan’s inability to handle such personal material successfully, with his ability to “wax lyrical about more abstract philosophical concerns such as the state of society and the nature of freedom”. Clinton Heylin claims that Dylan wrote a rough outline of “Ballad in Plain D” soon after the events. In May 1964, he stayed in the Greek village of Vernilya, working on songs for his next album; there he drew out the material to the lengthy ballad he recorded in June 1964. Heylin points out that. “It took thirteen cathartic verses to get all this out of his system, without Dylan ever transcending his material. “Plain D” remains an exercise in painful autobiography”.
In an interview with Victoria Balfour, Suze Rotolo sounded a forgiving note about the song: “People have asked how I felt about those songs that were bitter, like “Ballad in Plain D“, since I inspired some of those too; yet I never felt hurt by them. I understood what he was doing. It was the end of something and we both were hurt and bitter. His art was his outlet, his exorcism. It was healthy. That was the way he wrote out his life, the loving songs, the cynical songs, the political songs, they are all part of the way he saw his world and lived his life, period”.
Dylan, when asked in 1985 if he had any regrets about “Ballad In Plain D“, replied: “Oh yeah, that one! I look back and say “I must have been a real schmuck to write that. I look back at that particular one and say, of all the songs I’ve written, maybe I could have left that alone”.
The opening words of “Ballad in Plain D” — “I once loved a girl” — also provided the melody of the song. Heylin states that one of the most familiar song types in the English folk tradition is “Once I Had A Sweetheart” (also known as “The Forsaken Lover“), and that this song gave Dylan his tune. It also resembles the tune of the folk song “I Once Loved A Lass” and the penultimate verse of that song is clearly the model for Dylan’s last verse”.

(Wikipedia, voce Ballad in Plain D)

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Brano proposto da: Arturo Bandini
Direttore: Arturo Bandini ([email protected])
Responsabile Quality: Alessandro Menegaz ([email protected])
Segretaria di Redazione: Arianna Russo ([email protected])

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