To Ramona

December 4, 2009 by     Print This Post Print This Post

To the greater Shambhala sangha….

& Dylan fans.

(includes practice instructions 🙂 )

SinĂ©ad Lohan’s superlative version of Bob Dylan’s “To Ramona”. Taken from Donal Lunny’s “Sult – Spirit of the Music” TV series – recorded around 1996.


11 Responses to “To Ramona”

  1. Jigme Chowang on December 4th, 2009 9:19 pm
  2. yeshetsomo on December 4th, 2009 10:20 pm

    I don’t know if at age 45 I am too old or too young or just too nerdy to say this, but say it I will…rock on.

  3. yeshe tsomo on December 4th, 2009 11:39 pm

    But seriously, thank you for this post. I was born in 1964 and I missed Dylan, for the most part. These lyrics were exactly what I needed to heart tonight, and such a beautiful voice, too. Practice instructions? For me, yes. Blessings to Shambhalians far and wide, radio-free or not.

  4. Suzanne Duarte on December 5th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Somehow I have the feeling that Mark Sz. put this up. Whoever did it, thank you. It’s a lovely rendition of a great song.

    You can hear Bob Dylan sing it at

    Personally, I like Sinéad Lohan’s tender, breathy version better.

  5. Mark Szpakowski on December 5th, 2009 4:51 pm

    Yes, I did put this up (my name is up there at the top as the author of the post). I’ve long liked the original recorded version (from Another Side of Bob Dylan), but would also highly recommend the live Newport Folk Festival version from 1964 (when yeshetsomo was born!):

    But this Sinéad Lohan version is so beautiful and heartfelt.

    To Ramona

    Ramona, come closer,
    Shut softly your watery eyes.
    The pangs of your sadness
    Shall pass as your senses will rise.
    The flowers of the city
    Though breathlike, get deathlike at times.
    And there’s no use in tryin’
    T’ deal with the dyin’,
    Though I cannot explain that in lines.

    Your cracked country lips,
    I still wish to kiss,
    As to be under the strength of your skin.
    Your magnetic movements
    Still capture the minutes I’m in.
    But it grieves my heart, love,
    To see you tryin’ to be a part of
    A world that just don’t exist.
    It’s all just a dream, babe,
    A vacuum, a scheme, babe,
    That sucks you into feelin’ like this.

    I can see that your head
    Has been twisted and fed
    By worthless foam from the mouth.
    I can tell you are torn
    Between stayin’ and returnin’
    On back to the South.
    You’ve been fooled into thinking
    That the finishin’ end is at hand.
    Yet there’s no one to beat you,
    No one t’ defeat you,
    ‘Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad.

    I’ve heard you say many times
    That you’re better ‘n no one
    And no one is better ‘n you.
    If you really believe that,
    You know you got
    Nothing to win and nothing to lose.
    From fixtures and forces and friends,
    Your sorrow does stem,
    That hype you and type you,
    Making you feel
    That you must be exactly like them.

    I’d forever talk to you,
    But soon my words,
    They would turn into a meaningless ring.
    For deep in my heart
    I know there is no help I can bring.
    Everything passes,
    Everything changes,
    Just do what you think you should do.
    And someday maybe,
    Who knows, baby,
    I’ll come and be cryin’ to you.

    Copyright ©1964; renewed 1992 Special Rider Music

  6. Edward on December 5th, 2009 6:22 pm

    Nice song.

    Speaking of Irish singers, I heard that Liam Clancy just died. Apparently Bob Dylan once said he could not “think of anybody who’s a better ballad singer than Liam.”

    If you’re in the mood for a rousing song, here’s one performed by Liam and his brothers, who are now all dead: To me this song is about making your way through the charnal grounds of life, and keeping a cheerful attitude on the way.

    Liam’s the chap with the guitar and the smile.

    The last verse is about how sometimes you just have to open a can of whoop-ass on someone, when passification, magnetization and so on haven’t worked. 🙂 Or maybe it’s just a silly song about drinking, unemployment and fighting; hard to tell…?


  7. Mark Szpakowski on December 6th, 2009 12:14 am

    Bob Dylan does a great tribute to Liam Clancy in the “No Direction Home” documentary. He quotes Liam telling him, after many pints of guiness:

    no fear, no envy, no meanness

    Here’s the segment on YouTube.

  8. Mark Hazell on December 9th, 2009 12:43 am

    A very nice rendition indeed — and I agree with Mark about Bob’s version at Newport — he really reached down and tapped into something elemental on that day.

  9. Ash on March 4th, 2010 8:00 pm

    Listening to Liam Clancy reminds me of something special that happened to me in Ireland.

    I was on retreat at Dao Sho Nu (?) near Drogheda, a property which, as in Mexico, was kindly given to us by the Reynolds (?) family, to finish my prostrations. I had great fun buying the materials and putting in a shrine in the old living room, placing thereon one of the Gold Buddha Rupas given to VCTR by HHK so that Ireland would have one of them – and hopefully still has it. I found the prostrations a little harder in the old, empty cold stone house with no land because the neighbours, the Pidgeon Family, had expropriated the land which the previous owners had not used. All we had was the narrow 5′ road leading to the main gate, the backyard – because it was surrounded by a stone wall, and nothing else.

    So I was finishing up my prostrations and it was a Sunday, see, before I had to leave, having dawdled far too often in this informal retreat and spent far too much time exploring the nightlife and Roman Catholic maidens in nearby Drogheda and not-so-far-away Dublin. I had to do about 1500 or so, more than I had ever done in one day before. Now Dixie, the caretaker, see, had made a date with me at the local pub after to celebrate and say farewell. I lumbered along, almost decided not to go since I wasn’t finished until 11 pm, but then went over anyway. Remember it’s a Sunday so I suspected they would already be closed.

    They weren’t. Waiting for me, and arranged by Dixie, was a full house of about fifty boisterous locals of all ages from five to a hundred and five; some of them, truth be told, were a might p’d off that I was so late and Dixie had made them wait. Wait for what? Not the pleasure of my company surely, but…

    to sing. And sing they did. Starting with the oldest gentleman there, who manifested as one born somewhere between 200 and 1900 AD, who gently, feebly, and lyrically started an old song in ‘the Gaelic’, and nobody accompanied him. I had the feeling this was a special night even for them for some reason. Then gradually more people came to the center of the naturally formed circle, started other songs but now everyone joined in, old and young, and kept at it until dawn. It was a magical night.

    I had chatted with Dixie about the singing and all and he had told me that since the advent of television people no longer sang in the pubs, although at the local there they tried to do it once a month on Fridays but it was fading away now. Since I was so interested, and sad to hear this, Dixie had used this as a pretext to rouse them all up, which is why they were waiting.

    But singing is in the Irish/Scottish soul and their songs echo still today in the rocks in Nova Scotia, especially on Cape Breton Island.

    Looking at the smile of the man in the group listening to Liam recite the poem at the end of the above clip instantly recalled this memorable night; and also I felt that his smile was the true smile of Shambhala, which is in all, belongs to all, and universal, although in this case: pure Irish, albeit with just perhaps the teeniest weeniest hint of the McPough clan grin flickering around the dralic corners!

    Thanks for the clip link.

  10. Stuart on March 4th, 2010 9:08 pm

    Celtic Woman – A New Journey: Live at Slane Castle, Ireland 2006

    Song: Intro and The Sky & the Dawn & the Sun
    Singers: Hayley Westenra, Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, Lisa Kelly, Mairead Nesbitt

  11. Jim Wilton on March 5th, 2010 12:18 pm

    Nice story, Ashley — and well told.