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Long-hidden Bob Dylan poem goes up for sale

Bob Dylan's senior high school yearbook photo.

In the summer of 1957, Bob Dylan wrote a poem called "Little Buddy" that was published in the Herzl Camp newspaper.

For years, a copy of the poem has been wrapped in plastic and hidden within the letter Z (for Zimmerman) of an encyclopedia belonging to the former Herzl Herald editor Lisa Heilicher.

On June 23, the poem is being offered for sale in a Christie's auction, where it is expected to sell for up to $15,000 -- money that Heilicher plans to donate to the camp in Webster, Wis., that is in the midst of an $8 million capital campaign.

"Don't ask me why I kept it," Heilicher said in a phone interview from her home in Golden Valley, Minn. "I don't know. I just thought it was weird."

"Little Buddy," written on plain white paper by Bobby Zimmerman, as Dylan was known then, is about a kid mourning the loss of a dog.

Below is the poem written by a teenage Bob Dylan for a summer camp newspaper in 1957. Christie's auction house is putting it up for sale in June.

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

"It's a very early example of his brilliance," Christie's pop culture specialist Simeon Lipman told the Associated Press. "It comes from the mind of a teenager [with] some very interesting thoughts kind of percolating in his brain."

Heilicher said she remembers young Zimmerman skipping camp activities to play the piano in the auditorium. In the late 1950s, during a youth convention weekend in Minneapolis, she said he came to her home for an open house.

Her father, the late Amos Heilicher -- who was at one time one of the most powerful people in the record industry -- wouldn't let Dylan into the house because he was barefoot.

People have asked why Heilicher didn't just sell the poem and keep the money.

"I don't need the money," she said. "That's just a thing I wouldn't do. My plan all along was to give it to a charity."

This isn't part of a larger Dylan collection belonging to Heilicher. The 67-year-old doesn't own any of Dylan's albums, and she has never seen him perform live.

"I think his songs are depressing," Heilicher said. "His voice reminds me of when we got laryngitis at camp."

Dylan and Lisa Heilicher both ended up at freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota -- and she doesn't remember if she saw him again after that.

After finding an auction house, Heilicher passed the poem off to the camp, which is a 120-acre spread on Devils Lake about two hours south of Duluth.

Dylan's nieces and nephews, who work at the camp, told the musician of the auction plans. Herzl Camp director Holly Guncheon told the Associated Press that Dylan said to "Do what you want with it."