Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday's Poetry: "Rocky Mountain High"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

As I was driving across southern Missouri this past weekend I came across a soft rock station on the radio that was enjoyable without distracting from the critical business of watching the road.  I hadn't been on that station very long when it played the late John Denver's classic ode to Colorado - and to an America that he understood and loved, "Rocky Mountain High."  The beautiful words took me back to a less-complicated and happier time.

Folk singer and song writer Woody Guthrie captured the essence of his idealized America in broad strokes with panoramic endeavors like "This Land is Your Land" and "Roll On, Columbia." Decades later John Denver also wrote and sang his vision of America, only Denver took it in smaller bites - state by state.  Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" paid homage to the scenic poverty of West Virginia, and his "Wild Montana Skies" ripped open the soul of the American West in much the same manner as "Rocky Mountain High" had done.  John Denver was a poet's poet, using the briefest of glimpses into the natural world to evoke vivid landscapes where we would all like to frolic and sit around the campfire laughing late into the night.

Legalized marijuana sales topped one billion dollars in Colorado in 2016.  To recognize that milestone of capitalism, I thought this would be a good time to revisit "Rocky Mountain High."  Somewhere John Denver is kicked back into a cloud bank and smiling.

Rocky Mountain High
By John Denver

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care
It keeps changing fast and it don't last for long

But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high

Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high

It's Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody's high
Rocky mountain high, Colorado, rocky mountain high
Rocky mountain high, Colorado, rocky mountain high!

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!

1 comment:

Marianne Love said...

You tapped into a couple of my all-time favorites. Loved just about everything John Denver ever sang.