inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial
voices echo, "this is what salvation must be like after a while"
but Mona Lisa 'musta had the highway blues
you can tell by the way she smiles
see the primitive wallflower freeze
when the jelly-faced women all sneeze
hear the one with the mustache say, "geez
I can't find my knees"
oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
but these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel
In the last days before my daughter was born, I was driving to art school every day, an hour each way. I tend to circle through albums obsessively, and during that intense time, it was Blonde on Blonde. Ottilie arrived the day after I graduated — and now she recognizes Dylan songs before he even starts singing. (Secret naming plan: if she'd been born on his birthday, May 24th, I would have used Johanna as a middle name.)
Johanna's a form of John, which means "god is gracious." It has a ton of sweet diminutives and variants — Polish Joasia, medieval French Johanne, Scottish Shona or Seonag, Welsh Siwan and Finnish Hannele are just a few.