Handwritten Poem By Teenage Bob Dylan Up For Auction

May 19, 2009 5:55 PM ET

A two-page poem written by "Bobby Zimmerman," or Bob Dylan as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame calls him, has been unearthed and is now up for auction at Christie's. Handwritten by a teenage Dylan in the mid-1950s, "Little Buddy" was penned for The Herzl Herald, the official newspaper of Northwestern Wisconsin's Herzl Camp, where young Zimmerman was a camper.

(Check out our full report on Rock's Rarest Artifacts for more odd memorabilia on the auction block.)

It's startling that even as a young teenager, Dylan could write such effective prose, as Zimmerman's blue pen tells a sad tale about a beloved family dog that gets beat to death for being too friendly with a drunken stranger. Dylan's protagonist waits for the doctor arrive to save his ailing dog, but unfortunately he comes too late. It's all very depressing, but it's funny to note that even young Dylan wasn't immune to the dreaded grammatical pitfall of "your" versus "you're," writing "Your too late sir my doggy's dead." (Maybe it was an artistic choice?) Evidently, it wasn't Dylan's choice at all: despite Christie's claim that the poem is a Dylan original, the poem is indeed "Little Buddy" by Hank Snow, a song that appeared on a compilation of his work dating from 1936-1947. Christie's has issued a statement (read it below.)

"Additional information has come to our attention about the handwritten poem submitted by Bob Dylan to his camp newspaper, written when he was 16, entitled 'Little Buddy.' The words are in fact a revised version of lyrics of a Hank Snow song," the statement reads. "This still remains among the earliest known handwritten lyrics of Bob Dylan and Christie's is pleased to offer them in our Pop Culture auction on June 23."

The handwritten poem is currently on the block until June 23rd, with an estimated price in the $10,000-$15,000 range. You could place a bid on the poem now, or read the entirety of "Little Buddy" here:


Little Buddy


Broken hearted and so sad
Big blue eyes all covered with tears
Was a picture of sorrow to see

Kneeling close to the side
Of his pal and only pride
A little lad, these words he told me

He was such a lovely doggy
And to me he was such fun
But today as we played by the way

A drunken man got mad at him
Because he barked in joy
He beat him and he's dying here today

Will you call the doctor please
And tell him if he comes right now
He'll save my precious doggy here he lay

Then he left the fluffy head
But his little dog was dead
Just a shiver and he slowly passed away

He didn't know his dog had died
So I told him as he cried
Come with me son we'll get that doctor right away

But when I returned
He had his little pal upon his knee
And the teardrops, they were blinding his big blue eyes

Your too late sir my doggy's dead
And no one can save him now
But I'll meet my precious buddy up in the sky

By a tiny narrow grave
Where the willows sadly wave
Are the words so clear you're sure to find

Little Buddy Rest In Peace
God Will Watch You Thru The Years
Cause I Told You In My Dreams That You Were Mine

Bobby Zimmerman

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