5/5 — the story behind Bob Dylan’s “Isis”

According to John Lash

In Desire, released a year later, Dylan used the hendasyllabic to wonderful effect, often alternating with ten-syllable lines: “I married Isis on the fifth day of May / But I could not hold on to her very long.” Sometimes, vocal modulation of a phoneme produces the 11 count: “But I could not hold uh-on to her very long.” (In the album notes Allen Ginsberg points this out, citing the line “Hot chili peppers in the noonday suh-un.”) In short, the preeminent American troubadour of our time both admired and applied Cavalcanti’s poetics.

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