The song has been subject to a literary analysis by Professor Christopher Ricks which he claims demonstrates the clearest example of John Keats’ influence on Dylan’s writing. In his book Dylan’s Visions of Sin, Ricks, a Boston University professor of humanities, draws parallels between “Not Dark Yet” and the Keats’ poem Ode to a Nightingale. Broken down line for line, “similar turns of phrase, figures of speech, [and] felicities of rhyming” can be found throughout “Not Dark Yet” and the Ode. Ricks also argues that “there is a strong affinity with Keats in the way that in the song night colours, darkens, the whole atmosphere while never being spoken of,” just as Keats used winter to color and darken the atmosphere in another poem he wrote, To Autumn. “Dylan’s refrain or burden is ‘It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.’ He bears it and bares it beautifully, with exquisite precision of voice, dry humour, and resilience, all these in the cause of fortitude at life’s going to be brought to an end by death.”
Anyway, I’m in Stockholm, Sweden for a little while. Needed a change. Writing a lot (A BOOK!). I barely have words left for this blog. Gonna see a poetry festival tomorrow. Should be fun. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. End message.