I always felt he sang with such authority,
as if his way was how the song should be,
and let the writer of it know, in no uncertain terms,
that they could use it too, once in a while.
Like John the Baptist, unlike Isaac’s Moses,
I always heard him from the wilderness,
imagining he dined on honeyed locusts
and came in from the desert with his song.
He could employ a rumble or a whisper,
cacaphony or simple silent prayer
in service to a song’s deep, inner meaning;
he sang no song that did not have it there.
At Woodstock, he seemed like a great prophet;
I wonder, just how many lives were changed.
He taught that music could indeed work wonders,
and heal wounds better than it could destroy.
23 APR 2013
for Richard Pierce “Richie” Havens (1941-2013)