Last week Bob Dylan found the aid employed in writing every single line of all his songs since the early 60’s, and the Nobel laureate in Literature is reportedly polishing off new compositions for a celebratory tour of Sweden. Friends say when the Nobel committee left messages for Dylan about his award, he was ready to fly to Stockholm, deliver an acceptance speech, unveil new works and bask in yet more glory, but quickly became alarmed when he could not find Stimson’s Book of Middle-School Rhymes, which he’d acquired in a Minneapolis bookstore as a teenager and carried ever since. The little-known reference work, long out of print and not immediately available, is known for cross-listing monosyllabic rhymes such as “known” with “stone” and “kings” with “things,” as well as for recommending that singers adopt quaint dialects and emphasize the crap out of every rhyme while smirking in order to keep an admiring audience’s attention. The same friends passed along drafts of lyrics for the new songs Dylan intends to mutter under the shadow of his hat brim between redundant harmonica outbursts that some scientists have compared to the cries of baby songbirds learning to vocalize. Here is a fragment from a number tentatively called “Oh well, Nobel”:

One man dreams of dynamite

The other strums all through the night

On a guitar that drains him like a parasite

And after crying, explodes


One man weighs his legacy

The other thinks he must pretend to be

A truth-telling, dust-dealing prophecy

On the signpost at the crossroads


Oh well, Nobel, the shame is in the prize

When the winner bows his head and the losers realize

Oh well, Nobel, the shame is in the prize

When the saint pulls down his halo to hide his brimming eyes


The leaking of these lyrics, which may be revised after more consultations with Stimson, is intended only to add to the enjoyment of Swedish music lovers.