Sunday, October 31, 2010


I think the true Poets Laureate of our country are songwriters, especially those categorized as COUNTRY songwriters. This one is by one of my favorites, who also produced such legendary masterpieces as For the Good Times and Help Me Make It Through the Night; and who of us hasn’t sung along lustily to those familiar lyrics, ‘Freedom’s just another word for Nothin’ left to lose . . .”
This one is called Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down---written by Kris Kristofferson, and first recorded by Johnny Cash---an instant and long-time hit.

Those songs were penned about sad times, and Kris KNOWS those times---those rough-grit Saturday nights between Hell and Salvation, with the tug downhill the stronger and the Sunday waking a blast of Hades---whether he lived through them or not. Look at him---listen to him---look at the wisdom in those deep-set, wise eyes---he MUST have lived that life, and must know whereof he speaks. And after having been a Rhodes Scholar with impressive degrees to his credit, an Army Ranger and helicopter pilot, and having a Golden Globe and other awards from the ninety-something movies he’s been in---out of all that, just this one song would have been enough.

This is not your usual Sunday song---it mentions church and family and home and children playing, and even the homey scent of fried chicken, but it’s a song mostly of the outsiders, the not-of-the-folds, the disenfranchised, disillusioned, dismissed, disowned.

It’s about the Sundays of those who are not OF the flocks flocking through those beautiful doors---but the ones who awaken bleary-eyed and unfocused and hungover and drained, with the hopeful sun blasting another day beneath their eyelids. They know It’s Just Another Day, but there’s a bleaker AIR to things, somehow, usually by dint of the Grinding Lonesomes after a night of Can’t Remembers, and somehow, somewhere in there, perhaps there is a recollection of a better time, of a bright-washed face and combed-down hair and a joyful dash into Sunday School, then home to a good Sunday Dinner.

They are the ones whom Outreach and Go Ye Therefore and Love thy Neighbor were coined for, the ones who NEED the bringing in, the ones who want to be brought, and the ones who’d have to be dragged scratching and scrabbling from the lonely bleak path they’re on.

The song tells of heartache and longings, and wishes for more, as the Sit-alone on Saturday night becomes the far more bereft Sunday Morning. I’ve known these people, the left-out and the leftovers and the left-behinds---they’re of us and with us, and There, But For The Grace of God . . .
Y’all know how I am about words, and these are some of the finest I’ve ever heard or read.

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down. The singer and the writer. Singing.


Southern Lady said...

When I saw in your previous post that you were going to write about your favorite singer and songwriter, somehow I just KNEW it would be Kris Kristofferson. He is, indeed, a master of words, whose songs speak straight from the depths of his heart and soul ... told only as someone who has lived them could tell. God blessed Kris with an abundance of talent, and I'm so glad he shared his legacy with the world.

Patsy said...

The comments after the video are some testimonials.
Life in the raw.

Beverly said...

I love, have loved and will always love Kris Kristofferson. How could anyone not love him?

My heart is sighing as I listen.♥

Maggie Norman said...

Thanks dear one for this beautiful post. I sat here and read it and thought about folks like that in the song and just sat and wept for awhile. You write so beautifully that I could see the pictures in my head as I read. And I remembered once again that these left-outs, left-overs, and left-behinds are Christ to us---the ones of whom He spoke when He said---"Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these..."

I keep forgetting this and needed the reminder.

I love you as high as the highest mountain

Linda J. said...

We have been major fans of Kris Kristofferson for many years!!

Kim Shook said...

Rachel - your words here are as good as the best country songs and the best sermons ever preached. I'm in awe.

Jeanne said...

Rachel, this song has long been a fave of mine. It sure makes one think of those poor souls who are lost. We pray for those people to bring themselves back to humanity. We do need to try and be a beacon of light for them to follow. A very good post to inspire others when ever we can, especially if they are in need of a helping hand and encouragement.

Hugs, Jeanne

Tonja said...

I have always had a great affinity for Kris, and Willie, and Johnny, and Roy Orbison.
It always seemed to me, and still does, that these men saw and lived in a whole different world thatn I. Add in Tammy Wynette, Loretta, June Carter, Patsy, and the wealth of words and feelings are immeasurable. I think for the words to really ring true to someone else, thay have to be written by a soul who knows them...who has truly lived them, and suffered through them.
Words...aren't they wonderful things?

sparrowgrass said...

Yada, yada, yada, all this deep philosophy, and nobody mentions that Kris is HAWT? Mmm, mmm, mmm, he is a good looker, that Kris.

racheld said...

Sparrow, you just WON'T DO!!! (Or maybe you might---I'm afraid to know). You can always be counted on to make me giggle.

And for all the rest of you nice normal people---Thank you for commenting---I'm so glad it said something to all of you. Music is just poetry with wings of its own, and sometimes you just have to dance with it.

I, for one, think music preceded language, anyway.

That song---oh, that song.