Clinch River Blues

Recently, I’ve begun writing poetry. I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but that’s not the point. I used to hate poetry, because I didn’t understand it. All that changed when I had a breakthrough realization this year: Poetry is Music’s Cousin!

I have always loved music. I sang in the choir growing up, I was in a cover band (of sorts) in college that did open mic nights, and I wrote a song once with my very talented classic guitar playing friend, Tony. Music for me is a way to express emotions, life, experiences, and hope. Poetry is very similar.

In January, I went on a sermon planning retreat with two of my closest friends, Matt and Matt. We stayed at a house on the Clinch River in Andersonville, TN. I decided to take a stab at writing my first poem, as I reflected on the reality that both Blues music and being near a river put you in a mood. I wanted to capture those feelings.

Poem Background: The Powell River and Clinch River meet, eventually running into the Tennessee River. The last stanza of the poem points this out. Check out the top right of the picture below to see. Not only does Blues and the nature of rivers “swing,” but the shape (geographically) of the Tennessee River swings baby!

Also, I wrote this last stanza with the classic Blues AAB pattern in mind. Quick Lesson: a lyrical phrase is repeated, then followed up by a response phrase that contrasts or sums up the entire idea. “St. Luis Blues” Example:

I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down

I hate to see the eve-nin’ sun go down

It makes me think I’m on my last go-round

I essentially did the same thing for my poem. Even though the 3rd line is a repeat to the 1st and 2nd, it is a response in idea: Clinch is meeting Powell, Powell is seeing Clinch, then the entire Tennessee River (including Clinch and Powell as drain off rivers of the Tennessee River) swings. I hope this makes sense. Please let me know what you think of my 1st poem.

Clinch River Blues

River like the Blues

Puts me in a mood

Feeling that good ole’ ancient groove

Slow goes the small swirls

Faint twists, surface twirls

All roll down mighty fine like pearls

Roll left, now swing right

Thump bass, drums in flight

Steady guitar all through the night

Keep on rolling River Clinch; get to your meetin’

Keep on rolling River Powell; what’s that you seein’

Keep on rolling Tennessee; you’ve got me swingin’

Za bop a do zay way de bop, yeah…






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