The composition in stanzas of questions and answers is an imitation of Lord Randall, a medieval ballad published by Walter Scott in 1803. Dylan's theme is apocalyptic, providing at every line a short and sharp image of a major disaster viewed through the eyes of a boy.
The poem appears as pessimistic. The first draft is yet ended with a vivid call to action: "It's a hard rain must fall". It also included a line that was too terrible to be used in the later official version: "I heard the sounds of some people who cried they were human".
The typed document was used by Dylan to improve his text and it includes many autograph reworks. It is estimated £ 150K for sale by Sotheby's in London on September 29, lot 71.
The missile crisis in Cuba is triggered while Dylan is still working on his poem and composing its music, with the slightly modified title A hard rain's a gonna fall. The message of the poet reaches a great claiming and humanist strength. The final draft before recording was sold for $ 485K including premium by Sotheby's on June 24, 2014. At the same auction, the manuscript for Like a rolling stone was sold for $ 2,05M including premium.
Dylan has never clearly confirmed nor denied the direct influence of international political events in his poem. The ancient and recent history including slavery in the United States, Holocaust in Europe and the bomb on Hiroshima were indeed enough to support his desperate vision.
Dylan was a prophet of the derision of that American dream which had failed to oppose injustice. In graphic arts, Warhol comes on the foreground in the same year and blurs the meaning of Marilyn.