Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge



“I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of small children…”

Dylan wrote A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall when he was 21 years old. It was 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis was at its height. The world was on the brink of nuclear war. He later said that every line in the song was intended to be the first line of a song he wanted to compose one day. “But when I wrote it,” he explained “I thought I wouldn’t have enough time alive to write all those songs, so I put all I could into this one.”

For me, the song is inextricably associated with a world event of comparable magnitude that occurred when I was the same age Dylan was in 1962.

It was the evening of September 11th, 2001. As the initial shock of what had happened that day began to abate, thoughts were turning to what would happen next. Events were still very much in flux, but it was already pretty obvious that whatever would happen after the dust settled in New York, it wasn’t going be pretty.

I remember going for a drink in a pub that evening with some friends. It was Slattery’s on Capel Street as I recall. In the corner, Sky News was showing night vision pictures of the skyline over Kabul. The Northern Alliance were shelling Taliban positions. No one was quite sure what was going on exactly, but I remember people – punters, barstaff, everyone – staring at the television screen in grim silence. And this ominous refrain playing over and over in my head…

“And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard… It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall…”

April 17th, 2009.

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