by Steve Joos
A tribute to Johnny Cash as the personification of country music.
|Country music died last night, its face a craggy shell,
with straggled white hair and weathered eyes,
the look of the old man on the mountain.
The old man's voice was strong and deep,
a sincere bass under slicked back, coal-black hair
which seemed older than its years.
Clothed in a somber suit, it sang with deep emotion,
of moaning trains and prison yards, of lonely urban Sundays
and warm country churches and cold, trembling chemical slaves.
Of fighting mad rebel lads, asking "what is truth?"
Of boys named Sue, redeemed by the Blood
and a good woman's love.
A butterfly in mid-July for whom he walked the line
a poor boy from Arkansas over a ring of fire.
Known by its alias, Country music died last night
and to the reaper was polite.
When its time came, it turned and said
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."