The Old Man and the Song
Written by Don Hughes, Aug 2018
The old man sat down on his stool,
And pulled the worn leather strap about his back;
He pulled his guitar close, his best friend and his tool,
Its neck slightly bent, it face gently faded to black.
His voice was gravely now, worn out like his strings,
And no longer loud, but soft and warm like his song;
Life makes great music, with the struggles if brings,
And lyrics are made from choices we make, right and wrong.
I listened intensely to the songs he sang,
And watched as he continued to play;
As he strummed and picked, the old guitar rang,
Some chords dark, others as bright as day.
As the music continued, and he struggled with age,
One great song would stop, and quickly another one would start;
I realized after a while, why he was still performing on that stage,
It was the love of the song, and the beat of the performance was the beat of his heart.
We tend to live as long as we have passion for something,
And once that dies or is taken, we too pass away;
The old man was a lot like me, and as long as I can play and sing,
I’ll keep this old ticker beating for just one more day.
This poem came to me the night after I went to a small-venue concert at the Minneapolis Zoo to watch Jerry Jeff Walker perform. The evening was beautiful, and because of his age he made many mistakes during the performance: forgetting lyrics, missing chords, etc. But his fans didn’t care. His music, like so many others, touch people’s lives and bring back memories and feelings long forgotten. In a world that has littler tolerance for error or mistakes, it is precisely those things that make up our reality and who we are. I’ve made plenty of both in my life, but many right choices too. It is my hope I always find passion.