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January 05, 2019

'Love is just a four letter word'


by jim richmond

“My God, it’s hot!,” he thought, whipping through the front entrance of the small San Jose commuter airport lounge in August, 1969.

Ahead, he spied a last empty plastic seat.

Settling in, sighing, he glanced at the woman inches away in the chair next to him.

She was shrouded in one of the popular straw basket hats that curve in, shading almost a full face.

Glancing up from a well thumbed paperback, she tilted slightly toward the man, and half smiled, as if agreeing, ‘Yes. I know."

The man turned to his own paper and she did not look up again. Neither said anything. Giving her privacy in the crowd.

Joan Baez. Who lived nearby.

Later, listening to her unique, soul searching rendition of a Dyan tune, reportedly her lover at the time, ‘Ah, ‘Love is Just a Four Letter Word.’Joan_Baez_Bob_Dylan.jpg

Seems like only yesterday
I left my mind behind
Down in the Gypsy Cafe
With a friend of a friend of mine

She sat with a baby heavy on her knee
Yet spoke of life most free from slavery
With eyes that showed no trace of misery
A phrase in connection first with she I heard

That love is just a four-letter word

Outside a rambling store-front window
Cats meowed to the break of day
Me, I kept my mouth shut, too
To you I had no words to say

My experience was limited and underfed
You were talking while I hid
To the one who was the father of your kid
You probably didn't think I did, but I heard
You say that love is just a four-letter word

I said goodbye unnoticed
Pushed towards things in my own games
Drifting in and out of lifetimes
Unmentionable by name
Searching for my double, looking for
Complete evaporation to the core
Though I tried and failed at finding any door
I must have thought that there was nothing more

Absurd than that love is just a four-letter word

Though I never knew just what you meant
When you were speaking to your man
I can only think in terms of me
And now I understand

After waking enough times to think I see
The Holy Kiss that's supposed to last eternity
Blow up in smoke, its destiny
Falls on strangers, travels free
Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me
And I do not really need to be
Assured that love is just a four-letter word

Strange it is to be beside you, many years the tables turned
You'd probably not believe me if told you all I've learned
And it is very very weird, indeed
To hear words like "forever" plead
So ships run through my mind I cannot cheat
It's like looking in a teacher's face complete
I can say nothing to you but repeat what I heard

That love is just a four-letter word.

Songwriters: Bob Dylan


Baez, 77, is in the middle of what she has said will be her last concert tour.

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