“So I signed up to ride
I drew a bull called Original Sin
Heard he’d killed a couple of men
Figured this was somethin’ I could win
‘Cause the devil’s on my side
I was havin’ myself one hell of a ride
When I, I ended up disqualified
‘Cause that danged old bull just up and died
Before they blew the whistle”
——Delbert McClinton & Gary Nicholson, “Lone Star Blues”
“Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry”
—-Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
“Although I’m free to roam
My body has tricked me again”
—-Sean Rowe, Bring Back the Night
“Sailin’ on a midnight boat,
There were no questions asked,
Water’s so green and the air was so clean
That he stuck right to his task, Havana daydreamin’, . . .”
——Jimmy Buffett, Havana Daydreamin’
Now deep in the heart of a lonely kid
Who suffered so much for what he did,
They gave this ploughboy his fortune and fame,
Since that day he ain’t been the same.
See the man with the stage fright
Just standing up there to give it all his might.
And he got caught in the spotlight,
But when we get to the end
He wants to start all over again.
—– Robbie Robertson, Stage Fright
“When I woke up this morning, things were lookin’ bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had”
—— John Prine, Illegal Smile
The lord’s minister entered the space and the occupant, a lone figure yellow with light; gray with mood; read without pages.
“You are “ronin”? He asked.
Stiffly, “Your sword is required.”
“Does your master not have many sharp loyal blades? I am “ronin”, with no lord.
“You are sought.”
“My question begs.”
“The need is specific. Loyalty alone will not suffice.”
“How did you find me? ”
“You are known, but not cast out, nor yet in a far land.”
Solemnly, “You will continue to roam.”
“Ah, condemned to the dungeon of freedom!”
“We are all condemned to one space or another.”
“The task has my blade. Your lord has my thanks.”
The yellow and the gray loitered.
“But down here under heaven
There never was a chart
To guide our way across
This crooked highway of the heart
And if it’s only all about
The journey in the end
On that road I’m glad I came to know
My old friend.”
—–Emmylou Harris, “The Road”
He was a man of little wealth, but great taste, infinite jest, a mind and wit of Toledo steel, with a beautiful sense of the darkest irony; a master of the classical allusion. The sort of man whose tide of personality invited you to surf the big waves of life’s winter storms or sent you clamoring up the beach to remain a shy observer; erudite with a restless curiosity not uncommon to those who live on the crests of the storm tide. He lived in many forms, in many eras, but always as himself. He was my colleague, a chum, a friend. And yes, he had sympathy for the devil.
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose site of the shore for a very long time.”
—Andre Gide, 1926