Bob Dylan has indicated his literary sensibilities many times before: many lines in some of his most famous hits reference works of famous poets like T.S. Eliot and others. This reading of Eliot by Dylan shows those sensibilities. He opens by saying that this poem is a commemoration for Lincoln--which only shows that he understands the lilac reference to be a reference to Walt Whitman, whose “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” directly commemorates Lincoln.
Quite a guy, indeed! Enjoy the reading. And, to compare to the author's voice, check out the video of T.S. Eliot reading it in the second slide!