Twas a midsummer's evening with a cheshire-cat moon,
when there echoed 'tween the mountains the loneliest tune--
kinda bluegrass and country, kinda haunted and lost,
with a wanderin' melody kinda impishly tossed --
and it weren't from the tavern where the folks all were at
a-listen' to locals pickin', fiddlin' and that;
cuz'n I had just left there 'bout a mile on back
and was walkin' the trail to my mountain-home shack,
when all of a sudden, with a touch soft as down
came a long drawn-out note --half-fiddle, half-hound --
that slowly was workin' its way into song
half-searchin', half-knowin' where't surely belonged.
I thought perhaps somewhere some stranger had climbed
-- maybe lost, maybe tired, maybe just passin' time --
and I knew that my soul couldn't let that song be
not knowin' just what was a-settin' it free,
so I followed a path kinda off to the right
a-silently vanishin' into the night --
and maybe I'd gone a half-mile when I saw
a campfire just twinklin' and a-drawin' me on.
I stepped to the clearin', and just past the fire
I spied an old man with the strangest guitar.
He looked straight to-wards me with the deepest blue eyes
never stoppin' his strummin', but a nod brought me nigh.
And I sat on his log while he finished his tune
that filled me like a rainstorm on a dry afternoon.
I looked at his guitar --kinda small, kinda thin --
as he flipped it around, tucked it under his chin.
Then he drew out a bow, tho' I couldn't see where,
rosined it up... right out of thin air,
dragged it so slowly across strings of gold
that I thought I heard talkin', and the thought made me cold.
But I let the notes touch me, and sing through my mind,
and I "heard" the old stranger as he "spoke", soft and kind,
"Don't worry yourself as to who, what or why;
I'm here cuz you listened but I'm just passin' by.
This thing I'm a-playin' speaks from my soul --
It's a gift I was given a long time ago --
I'd said some unkindness, caused a killin' to boot,
then a lightning bolt struck me -- left me deaf, blind and mute --
but there in the darkness, a voice said to me,
'Take this, son, for it's all that you ever will need.'
So I'm up in the mountains just a-wanderin' through,
playin' and speakin' what I found to be true:
'Tis nothin' to see, if you can't see the Light --
nor to hear or to speak it, if you don't use it right;
but to fiddle and strum, well, that don't hurt at all --
maybe make someone happy or stop someone's fall,
maybe make you less lonely, maybe ease up some pain,
maybe find you some love where only hate's lain.'
But you go on to home now, I'll play til you're there,
and I thank you for stoppin' and a-lettin' me share.
Go on your own way, and on some summer's night
if you hear me you're welcome to come and stop by."
And then, as I turned, he was suddenly gone,
tho' his music stayed with me 'til I got myself home.
And still I could hear him as he chuckled and crooned
through that strange, haunted bluegrass, guitar-fiddle tune...
away in the darkness where dream-weavers spin,
awaitin' the next soul to ramble on in.