Country Roads

When I think of America, the US that is,
I think of John Denver and Country Roads.
And just to show how out of touch I am
when I think of that song I am warmed.
I know about Vietnam and that gash of a wall,
the hollowing of our midlands
and desolate homeless camps
but those beautiful for spacious skies
are wedded in me to the hope of my father,
the courage of my mother
and I don’t give up.
God knows we need improvement
but there is a spirit to this country
that inspired the world
and what that was wasn’t buildings
or the stock exchange, iPhones
or fancy footwear, more like
Walt Whitman and Jackie Robinson,
music that dwells in minor chords
about Parchman Farm
and God Bless whatever we are
pure in the sound of John Denver.
Or maybe Woody Guthrie singing Do-Re-Mi,
Bob Dylan in his gravely elder rasp,
Joni Mitchell, stardust on the way to Woodstock
or Ella singing with Louis about April in Paris.
We’re a giant rainbow of lost dreams,
ravaged farmlands, unbroken people
and a spirit that won’t quit.
Country roads, take me home,
to that place where I belong.
Sing it John, in all your youthful innocence.
Sing it for us all.






















Reading of “Country Roads” with music by John Denver


10 Responses to “Country Roads”

  1. David Barnes says:

    What a wonderful surprise to wake up on a Saturday morning with this song for us all. Thank you Don. Where I live, country roads lead off in every direction, and we are always home on country roads and within these sounds, with a vibrancy all round

  2. Brenda Jenkins says:

    I too am warmed by the spirit in this song, and it lives in me just as strong as when I strummed the chords on my guitar and sang as a young teen. I have warm tears for the unbroken people, and the spirit deep in us that will see this through, come what may. I join you on that sunlit road.

  3. Yet another “Top 10 Hit!”
    You’re on a roll, Brother!!

  4. thea says:

    Country roads, country boats… Thanks, Don.

  5. David Waskom says:

    Don, when you sent me the early draft of this earlier in the week, I didn’t spend much time with it given my busyness at the time. Reading this to myself didn’t have near the impact as it did listening to John Denver’s voice in the background while hearing you speak the words. It definitely triggered something cellular in me and my love for this country and what it offers in so many ways. Plus the country roads give me access to all of those things that I love about the country. Thanks for your words.

  6. Pat Fitzsimmons says:

    Don, I too continue to carry the spirit of our country in my heart. During the recent chaotic political uproar, I often thought of the Statue of Liberty and felt that torch of freedom, compassion, and open armed welcome to those who would join us in this pioneering quest. John Denver expresses an engaging passion for this land, as did Woody and Bob………and I also concurrently carry the shame of our thievery…………….

  7. Chris Dalengas says:

    I really enjoyed this, Don! Thanks my friend!

  8. Veronica Lim says:

    Great image and love this John Denver song to accompany the words of this poem, Don. I enjoyed recognizing almost all of your specific references. Yes, we are a giant rainbow, with all its imperfections, spanning this remarkable country of ours. Our spirit may be bent, but not broken. The rainbow is still intact. And everywhere are country roads invitiing us home!

  9. Linda Barnes says:

    So enjoyed that poem. America is still alive and breathing. Thank you for showing us again.

  10. Jack Lavelle says:

    Damn, Donny. This is unlike your other poems. It’s not so “poetic,” is it? This is a roundabout way of saying I like it. It is “of the moment.” More.

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