This Was Dylan

Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, was twenty-two years old when he married Caitlin Macnamara, the beautiful girl who was the love of his life. As Dame Edith Sitwell has said, “Their love was most touching to see.”In her forthcoming book, Leftover Life to Kill, from which this excerpt is drawn, CAITLIN THOMAS writes of their “long-growing yearstogether, with her deep understanding of “the changing man hidden inside the poet ”

DYLAN was always about three jumps ahead of me, and had already put the argument backwards, inside out, and upside down by the time I had got it eventually standing up straight. And this trick of always demolishing, with the invaluable aid of ridicule, a perfectly adequate work or, just as soon, a masterpiece, then rebuilding it in his own freakish fashion, used to make me hopping cross, presumably because I was out of my depths. And he insisted, though I. never agreed, that women have no sense of fun—verbal fun, I think he meant — and were a spewing mass of generalizations and clicks (as our highbrow poetess in Laugharne calls cliches), only fit for the bed and the kitchen.

When I wake in the morning, when it is still dark, before even the bells or hullabaloo below has started, with the tears streaming, uncalled for, down my face, and Colm sleeping so small and reminiscent ly against me: and remember who I am and where I am, and think of Dylan — Dylan in Laugharne, Dylan in this island, and Dylan wherever I am— and pine, as keenly as a sick cow for its call just removed, for the feel of him, the smell of him, and go on daftly half waiting for him to come back, when I know he cannot . . . But it is not a bit of good for reason to tell me that; it cannot stop the wanting so badly, reasonable or not; and where can I put it, what can I do with it? It is not a chasm, it is an enormous fruit cake, of wanting. I am invaded with a stream of incessant babbling, jingly, jangling — oh, why can’t it stop for a minute? — yesterdays. And the tomorrows stretch in somnolent torpor, paying no attention to my gnawing and prodding behind the shutters.

I go to the glass, look into the pin-pointed, crisscrossed holes which contain, a thousand fathoms back, my ensnared reproachful eyes, and think, “This is not the Rock Caitlin that Dylan loved — this damp, bedraggled string of seaweed.”And he would flood me with a contempt of words. There is no fury like the weak against the weak, and he knew how to use words insultingly as well as poetically. But because of his own Welsh hypochondrias he hated to see any sign of them in others, and had no patience with any nervous ailments or manifestations in his children because they came from him, though prepared to nurse his own, or preferably be nursed if that were forthcoming, with loving care and wealth of descriptive detail.

He was never his proper self till there was something wrong with him; and if ever there was a danger of him becoming “whole, which was very remote, he would crack another of his chicken bones without delay and wander happily round in his sling, piling up plates with cucumber, pickled onions, tins of cod’s roe, boiled sweets, to push into his mouth with an unseeing hand as they came, while he went on solidly reading his trash. His passion for lies was congenital, more a practice in invention than a lie. He would tell quite unnecessary ones, which did not in any way improve his situation — such as, when he had been to one cinema, saying it was another, and making up the film that was on; and the obvious ones, that only his mother pretended not to see through, like being carted off the bus into his home, and saying he had been having coffee in a café with a friend.

The reason we got along so well in the house was because of our mutually organic — meaning the organs were functioning but not much else —natures when off parade. The home was to Dylan, more especially, a private sanctum where for once he was not compelled, by himself admittedly, to put on an act, to be amusing, to perpetuate the myth of the enfant terrible—one of the most damaging myths, and a curse to grow out of. We lived almost separate lives, though physically close, and passed each other with a detached phrase on strictly practical matters, as though we were no more than familiar landmarks in the furniture of our minds — excluding the times, more frequent at night, when the house rattled and banged and thudded and groaned with our murder of each other.

Hut these fights, which were an essential part of our everyday life and became fiercer and more deadly at each onslaught, so that you could have sworn no two people reviled each other more, and could never, under any fabulous change of circumstances, come together again, were almost worth while because, when the reconciliation did take place, according to how long we could stick it out, it was so doubly, trebly, quadruple sweet, and we could never have ventured to conceive of such a thing happening again.

As far as the waiting game was concerned, I was the millimeter of an inch more adept than Dylan, owing to more false pride and, as I sadly see now, more time to play around, so that it was he who nearly always made the first move back to normality, while I was reluctantly persuaded. And thinking back now, I see he was in a great hurry to fit in so many things, and couldn’t be bothered with the extra spadework that to most people is compulsory. And many afternoons he wanted me to go to bed with him, and I would not because of some ridiculous Upright principle that I chose to presume guided me.

lie even kept, saying he would die before me, would never reach forty, and I would be a flighty widow dancing on his grave. And I laughed, completely unmoved; for all the impression it made on me, he might as well have been talking to an elephant. And other things, to my discredit, come back to me: how he used to pursue me with the latest version of a poem in progress, and only ask me to stand still and let him read it to me; and how I would wriggle, do everything in my power to escape, block my ears (I hope without showing it), till in the end he could not but notice my surly unwillingness, and swore never to read to me again, but always did. And this behavior I find plain unforgivable, no two ways about it; and I can’t account for my reaction, because I always had faith in Dylan as a poet, and even helped over choosing alternate words and on small points of preference; and he had a touching belief in my judgment. Putting it on the kindest level, I can say I must have subconsciously felt I had something of my own worth preserving, and did not want to be influenced by Dylan’s highly disturbing stuff. On the unkindest: that I was spitefully jealous and resented, like any typical, man-swallowing woman, such a powerful rival to myself. But this I will not and do not believe, even now. And I did all I could to make him work at his own special work, and not public money-making work. And it was only with our kind of purely vegetable background, which entailed months on end of isolated, stodgy dullness and drudgery for me, that he was flattened out enough to be able to concentrate.


ONE of the most remarkable things about him, to me, was bis singular gift for adapting himself to every kind of different, basically opposed, person and place. With no visible transition he would settle down among the new set as though he had been there all his life. And with equal ease cut off the old like dead leaves, though retaining surprising loyalties to old buddies and motherly bodies overlapping and spilling with fistfuls of fat. One of our favorite kill-times in Laugharne was to sit in the window of the Browns’ and imagine these Colossi (with which Laugharne was well stocked) walking ten abreast up the street stark naked, and calculate how much money we would give to see such an impressive sight—nearly all we had.

So he was much better than me at contenting himself with the very simple, I might justly say moronic, life. Because (there is no other possible explanation) he lived in a world of his own — “out of this world,” as they so succinctly put it in America. Thus: the best part of the morning in the kitchen of this same high-class establishment, putting bets on horses, listening — yes, actually listening for once — open-mouthed to local gossip and scandal while drinking slow consecutive pints of disgustingly flat, cold-tea, bitter beer. Muzzily back to late lunch, of one of our rich fatty brews, always eaten alone, apart from the children; and I can’t blame him for that, as there is nothing worse than brawling children’s meals. Then, blown up with muck and somnolence, up to his humble shed, nesting high above the estuary, and bang into intensive scribbling, muttering, whispering, intoning, bellowing, and juggling of words till seven o’clock prompt. Then straight back to one of the alternative dumps —we had long discussions as to which was the deadliest — to spend the rest of the evening in brilliant repartee. That was a sample day with all the innards and lights taken out.

How Dylan would have loathed this style of abstract ranting, as he would have called it, of mine; but I should never have dared put it down if he was going to see it.

He had the same dislike, amounting to superstitious horror, of philosophy, psychology, analysis, criticism—all those vaguely termed ponderous tomes — but most of all, of the gentle art of discussing poetry. Not that I was likely to do that. We had a mutual agreement to keep off that touchy subject; and if well-meaning friends started an abstruse, intense interpretation of some of Dylan’s most obscure lines, which he had long ago forgotten the meaning of himself, it was not long before Dylan was on the floor wrapped up in the carpet, scratching himself, like a flea-bitten hyena, in paroxysms of acute boredom, ending, happily for him, in snoring amnesia. Not that such a delicate hint deterred the everlasting friend, who had now, by devious, unrelenting routes, introduced his own verse, and a dash of existentialism as well, while I was left politely nodding over the soup, planning all the hells I would put Dylan through for this, and wishing I had not been so well brought up never to speed the parting guest — who, it was evident, had no intention of departing.

This very pronounced at til ude of Dylan’s against every type of flowery excursion into intellectualism made all the more surprising his extreme patience and tolerance in America when confronted with the full blast of their adulation. There is, it appears, no limit to the quantity of flattery that one person is prepared to take about themselves; and from whatever source, and however far-fetched, they show a remarkable indulgence on this, their pet topic. I am perfectly alive, from my own vain experience, to the large part, vanity plays in the least suspected lives, quite apart from our shameless llamboyancy. But Dylan always seemed to me to stand right outside this poetical junketing, this clannish backbiting, these teaspoon-tongued, littlelinger-extended, oh so too too, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Poets — if only for the reason that he had no need to swim in those shallow babbling waters. So that when he succumbed, like a mesmerized bait — only in this case a short-legged one — to the multitudinous scavenging spawn of America, 1 knew, though I was too falsely proud to let myself know, it was the end of me; and not long after, the fatal end of him.

It is easy to understand that, when the unflagging, disarming American charm met Dylan’s professional charm, it caused a. general melting fudge of a sticky, syrupy, irresist ible fluid, impossible for such as us—raw from the harsh Welsh backward blacknesses; starved of any public attention; accustomed to the half-said, half-swallowed greeting, the ever-present fear of a taint of effusion; both incapable of saying no to any invitation, in case we missed something — to extricate ourselves from intact. Because il got me, at second hand, as a thankless extension of Dylan; and even then, from that comparatively safe distance, barbed and horned as I was, it was too much for me, and I was left a soulless lump of inanimate meat. So what can Dylan have felt like, in spite of his incredible resistance and amazingly quick recovery powers? One moment he was flat out., in utter self-abandonment, coughing and heaving up his heart, down to the soles of his boots; the next, dolled up like a puppy’s supper, dapper and spruce, or as near as he could get to it. But there was always a grotesque flaw in the tailor’s dummy, which, if I mentioned, I was slaughtered; and if I did not, I was blamed for not being interested. Jocularly joking, as though that other prostrate negation, parody of a romantic poet in tubercular convulsions, had no connection in the narrow world with him. Then nervouslv twitching, and acrimoniously nagging me about 1 iny petty things, w hich neither of us took seriously but which outsiders were alarmed into thinking was at least the breaking up of our marriage. But our marriage was not a cobweb house drifting on sand, and we enjoyed the backchat if nobody else did.

So, with the last burning question, “Was he better with a hat on or off?55 (to which I always answered “On”; but that did not please him either, because be thought I meant there would be less of him to see); the momentous decision between a bow tie and a long one, with the spotted bow a. certain winner; and between two equally dirty, scrofulous pairs of trousers that had stood all night in concertina’d neatness at the foot of the bed, he was off to the Killer, poetry reading.

Dylan used to read to me m bed in our first, know-nothing, lamb-sappy clays. To be more exact, Dylan may have been a skinny, springy lambkin, but 1 was more like its buxom mother then, and distinctly recollect carrying him across streams under one arm; till the roles were reversed and he blew out and I caved in, through the pressure of family life and the advent of holy-firedestroying babies. He read interminable Dickens novels, to which he was loyally devoted; and when Dylan w as loyally devoted, no sentimental verbosities would change him, though he did bog down somewhere in Little Dorr it. He categorically refused to look at Proust, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Dostoevski, and a lot of the obvious classics, though I furiously asked him how could he know he wouldn’t like: them, without bothering to look; but there is no doubt he knew all right. He probably knew, more than anybody, what he liked and what he didn’t like, and what he wanted and what, he didn’t want — without, like most people, having to And out. Once again that fiendish element of his days being numbered comes into it: and all that, sickly, stinking stuff about. “It had to be, there was no other way”; the illogical, poets-must-die-young, ruthless reasoning that made him follow, nobly and foolishly, that exorable pattern. And it was not necessary at all, not without that baby-snatching seduction — there was no hope after that — to America.


IN CASE opinions reek of fanaticism, I should like to make clear two things: one, that had I been in Dylan’s place I should have reacted far worse — had my head not only turned but swiveling in a thousand fascinating rotating directions, my roots waving riotously overhead; whereas Dylan was, even at his worst, Dylan; and there was one part of him that nobody could get at, that was impregnable, untouchable, not of his own making, but handed down from generations of close-tied, puritanical family tradition. Handed down from his father, that most unhappy of all men I have ever met; who did all the spadework of casting off the humble beginnings, bettering himself, assiduously cultivating the arts; and finished up a miserable finicky failure, while passing on to Dylan, on a heaped-up plate, the fruits of all his years of unrewarding labor. To an outsider his step up the social ladder might not seem so impressive: the transition from farmhouse and railway men standards to schoolmaster in a semidetached suburban matchbox. But it made the leaping change from lavish rough comforts to pinched penny-pricing gentility; to the taxing position of being looked up to by the neighbors — therefore having to keep up the most trussed-in, belted, camouflaged, and gloved system of appearances, instead of being so low you had not got to bother, and could wear and say what you liked, make as much noise, and enjoy yourself, without being stigmatized. No blueblooded gentleman was a quarter as gentlemanly as Dylan’s father. And though Dylan imagined himself to be completely emancipated from his family background, there was a very strong puritanical streak in him that his friends never suspected, but of which I got the disapproving benefit.

Those who only saw his bar-leaning, on and on and on storytelling, with no detectable end, would never credit that other punctilious, pettifogging niggler for detail, making such a fuss over the correct dress for me to wear for the Carmarthen market — I mean it, right down to gloves, stockings, shoes; and he would have preferred a hat, but knew that was too much, even for him, to ask of me. His ideal dress for a woman: black from head to foot, relieved with a touch of white as a concession; a neat starched collar and impeccable cuffs; and the shoes not too high nor too low — flaps, sandals, or boots the most offensive; inconspicuous the keyword — and tidily laced, with a prim bow. The final production the direct opposite of me: a politician’s perfect secretary. And dandleable.

The other thing, in case there is any misapprehension of my attitude: the American people. To us of the frozen north, as 1 always think of our chilblained island, it is very hard at first not to suspect such a basketful of warmth, generosity, and hospitality; but whether it springs pristine from the heart or is a cultivated college art, it is equally pleasant and should be taken a.1 face value, appreciated, and responded to, not carped at as some nasty people do.

1 am a great believer in whatever you say and do often enough becoming true; on a lesser scale but the same line of thought as the Catholic religion. And the indiv iduals, when you learn to distinguish them— but that is nonsense on my part, they are easily distinguishable — have all the initial toogood-to-be-trueness; and as though that weren’t enough, they add intelligence — and I don’t mean just bright wifi’s, but an all-round, thorough, comprehensive education — and have not only read but made theses on all the books we should have, but never quite did, read. And this remarkable combination they cap with a boyish open enthusiasm and, what surely is the height of friendliness and tact, which the crustiest crank is not proof against, the genuine desire, or as near as it is possible to get to it, to hear your opinion; and a simply stupendous hearing — dripping with sympathy, listening ability. And very soon, in spite of your stubbornest self, you will imperceptibly start softening down into a cushiony pulp, airtight and hermetically corked, under the neutralizing influence.

This is known as the American breaking-in process, which has slaughtered the health and spirit of many a gallant adventurer. But where, I asked myself, is the fly, the itch, the scabies of contention that makes these people fly in all directions, on frivolous errands, and never be still — that makes them put such untiring energy, though not, I think, deep pleasure in the Latin sense, into their amusements and their zealous, touching quest for culture? Perhaps it is just that ant of dissatisfaction that crawls insidiously under the skin, that drives them on to such lengths of munificence, magnificence, grandiloquence; that glosses over poverty, gives the lie to suffering, and makes even of death a Grand Guignol travesty.

For Dylan, more than anybody, this was a poisonous atmosphere: he needed opposition; gentle but firm, constant curbing; and a steady dull, homely bed of straw to breed his fantasies in. Nobody ever needed encouragement less, and he was drowned in it. He gave to those wide-openbeaked readings the concentrated artillery of his flesh and blood and, above all, his breath. I used to come in late and hear, through the mikes, the breath-straining panting: making much too much wind for an actor, which he liked to fancy he was, but admitted he hammed unrestrainedly; booming blue thunder into the teen-agers’ delighted bras and briefs. And I thought, “Jesus, why doesn’t he pipe down? They would be just as pleased with a bacon rind of that rich tinker’s spoils, sizzling over the flames.”

Then the clustering round for autographs; the students’ apple-polished, shining faces, with creaseless wonder. I should have been grateful for a pucker of consternation on those too smooth brows.

But this negligible element was swept aside by the sea of the matriarchs, surging glorious-plumed, perfumed, jeweled; chanting, exclaiming, declaiming; indomitably avalanching to drain the reflex twitches, faint spasms, from the exhausted corpse.

To the best, most patient, understanding wife, my position was not an easy one; but to me, stiff with rancor, my own teeming passions fermenting angrily inside me, it was a hanging execution of myall-important pride. I deliberately antagonized; said, almost inaudible, the thing that hurt in the place that hurt — as though I was a rip-roaring delinquent, starved of love and light ; when, as far as I can remember, what we suffered from most was too much freedom, running wild, and the consequent inability to discipline ourselves or join, with any aptitude, a regulated social group. Whether I was loved or not never occurred to me; children do not know that they need love, and only later feel the lack of it. And I am one of the renegades who think grownups need it more: that the older they get and the less love they get, the more they need it, the more they are willing to sell their nothing for it.

I did not for a second resent Dylan’s success, except that it took him away from me; I wanted him to have everything that was good for him, made him happy. But an essential condition of his happiness must be me: I had to he the thing that made him happiest. So when he started faking notice of other women — they had never bothered him before seriously — I cannot pretend I was serenely sweet-tongued. In America (hey hunted singly, in pairs, and more often in packs; and as soon as one pack was downed and wiped out, from those limitless wide open spaces came fresh hordes, massing numberless, in the tracks of the old. They had never heard of that out-of-date claptrap that a. woman should at least make a dissimulation of waiting for the man to make the first move. They conducted iheir courting with the ferocity and tenacity of caged amazons, and nothing Jess than the evaporation of their prey would make them let go.

These thieves of my love, which I was so presumptuously sure was mine only, I bitterly, jealously resented, with all the primitive catfish instincts that I didn’t even know were there, and the vile, sinking, retching lurch that jealousy engenders.

Dylan felt as badly as me in this respect, at the inconceivability to him of me even distantly contemplating anybody else; and he reacted more abominably than me; no cruelty or physical mutilation was too much for such an unpardonable crime. It seems extraordinary to me now that we did not kill each other outright; we certainly got dangerously near to il on those bloodthirsty vengeances.


So Now we must be dragged — though not much dragging was needed with Dylan and me — to the inevitable party after the reading. I do not know what I expected or wanted from a parly, but ever since I was a child I thought, and still cannot rid myself of the idea, that the gates of some exotic scintillating world would open, diametrically disconnected with my own. So when they turned out to be more stolidly plebeian, humdrumly goldenhearted, in spite of the gallons of frozen fire water that were being consistently poured down, than any stability, security, continuity I had ever known, I had a sense of astonished anticlimax. I was always waiting for something stupendous to happen, to change the whole course of my life: at the back of my mind this stupendous happening was me rising to my feet and electrifying the company with a masterpiece of inspired dance, the like of which had never been seen before. But before I could get myself into the state of not caring what I did, of being bold enough to let myself go, without stint or concern for the ill-fitting dignity of my wifely position or the repercussing hereafter, I had to wolf down so many fast drinks that by the time I was ready to take the floor I could only turn in blind circles with my skirt over my head. Not very edifying,

When Dylan was the lion, he sat as though to the manner born and as though he had never sat otherwise; couched immovably in the guest-of-honor chair, with his disciples, mostly female, squatting at his feet, agoggedly eager—anyone who has seen a spaniel waiting the call of the gun will know what I mean—to devour his next words, which came stumbling, haltingly, one on top of the other, in a broken, stuttering rush. While I, pinioned as far away as possible, was being politely sought out by kind, pitying, neither one thing nor tin; other, friends and asked all about my children, their ages and sexes, etc.—to which I answered in surly monosyllables. I wanled so much to be gracious, and could put on a first-class Queen Mother act on demand; that was the silly contradiction of it; but not with Dylan, not with him monopolizing every ear in the room.

He had the same dislike of me receiving any attention or limelight —not that this happened so frequently. Was this due entirely to a husband and wife relationship, or were we worse than most ?

livery now and then, through the indistinguishable waves of gush, came a clear-cut human being, as dear and familiar as a moth-eaten aunt, who had lain too long at the bottom of a trunk in the attic. No words were needed, the “ understanding" was immediate and mutual; we instinctively held together: a tiny oddly assorted oasis in a city of planes and blocks and sinister skyscrapers harboring millions of hiding lives, each with its separate fascinating drama to be unraveled. And these misfit friends of mine — yes, really mine its well — were not stereotyped or made to measure: they were the artists, the pariah dogs, and, though I hate to have to say it, the much maligned bohemians. But the bohemians in America are not, by a very long well-creased leg, the same as that original romantic Parisian article, starving in a garret, in an atmosphere reeking in equal proportions of beards, misunderstood genius, and plain filth.

Dylan and I fell between the two extremes; and though we both had a great loathing for poverty and squalor and did all we could — which was mostly talk — to get out of it and achieve that ideal state of bourgeois respectability and armchair comfort we both craved — or to be exact, Dylan did; to me there was nothing between the barn and the Salon — we never quite, though we got pretty near, achieved it. It was the same with money: we spent hours planning all the sensible, civilized things we would do with it, eking it out on moderate enjoyment like proper people; vowing and swearing before our Holy Maker never again to indulge in those racketing wastes that wrought such havoc in us and in which a good half of our lives was spent. But the valuable quality of moderation was totally lacking in both of us; in one it was bad enough, but in both it was fatal. So when the eventual lump came — as far back as I can remember, we were living in hopes of a usually mythical lump coming to solve all our troubles, past and future — the feel of a couple of crinklers was so foreign and so intoxicating to us that an immediate celebration and a riot of spending on all the things we had wanted so long — and a lot more we had not, but just could not resist — was one of those things that the best people simply had to do, and it never seriously occurred to us not to, in spite of the messes we got ourselves into. So the back debts went on pressing, only harder, getting steadily more voracious; and the future was laden with threats and wangling tortures — all the belittling intricacies of money worries. However, no more about dirty money: it is only important when you have none; and though it may not be everything, it goes a very long way towards blocking up the winter draft of age.


I CAN’T leave out that dim intermission of time which was neither life nor death, when Dylan was lighting for his life — or, to be more accurate, his life was being fought for; he was never that keen on life, and ready from the start to relinquish it — and I was fighting to the death to achieve death. I rumbled and quaked and erupted on the surface; yet my Caitlin volcano, snarling deep down, would not break, was too savage to crack. It was impossible to believe all those glaring, garish things that happened to me. From the mortuary I never got to, but said I must — it was one of the exceptional occasions when my nerve failed me — to the presentable deathhouse where the corpses are dressed up, made up, and pumped up, with some kind of chemical to color and preserve them. There I did get, but he was not there either; less there than anywhere. I looked and looked, and touched, but it was no good; he would not come to me. And however much I stare, however doggedly, into the idiotic mug of death, still I am unable, mentally incapable, of relating the dead thing, the broken body refusing to divulge why or where the occupant has gone, to the thing that was alive. There is no touchable link between the two.

The same endearing, childish hair; the heavy hulk-shaped head; the small, delicate, elongated, utterly useless hands that I used to call fins or mitts (there was a definite connection with the fish family). Perhaps they were the nearest, and hardest to understand, to bear; so placidly inactive. And all the innocence was back; he was unborn again: and the barnacled accumulations through the years of good and evil, and corruption, and salvation — the manure that makes a character — had gone. Entirely gone.

Dylan and dying, Dylan and dying, they don’t go together; or is it that they were bound to go together? He said so often enough, but I did not heed him. I was as foolish as women are supposed to be, the traditional woman, paid no attention, took him for granted, was only concerned with howto express mv own aggressive, demanding, frustrated, vile, jealous self. And look what he has done to me! How brutally cruelly am I punished; surely out of proportion to my misdoing. Let this be a lesson to all rebellious wives; but poor comfort to me.

If I waited a million years, I could not forget Dylan. He will not come blundering down the path again—all misshapen, bulgy lumpy shapes; his loaded head rolling with old unforgettable poems and growing miracles of tomorrow singing, stilled, out of them; his pockets sagging with bottles and goodies — and bang at the door impatiently and shout, “Cait, come down quick and let me in.”

He said he loved me—that I was the only woman for him; and whatever the evidence to the contrary, I believed him, and still do; and I am grateful for that important bit of faith. There is, happily, no limit to the faith of human nature in believing what it wants to believe. But the sudden removal of such a love, such a special love, on such an immortal scale, and the only one, was bound to cause a dropping out of the bottom of my all-inDylan world.