Swept Away

A bluesman’s life and soul.
“Music gives me goose-bumps, especially when created by genuine human spirit…”

NOTE: If you would like to ‘hear’ this poem before you read it, I invite you to click on this button you see above the photorendering, and listen to my recorded “spoken word” version of this poem. I’ve mixed in a little ‘atmosphere’ to heighten the immersion.


Swept Away


memphis red
no longer is

gray now shines
from a balding head
filled with scarlet embers

still burn

a fired spirit

too deep
for coddled mortals
to fully fathom

red is real

red is legend

his tales
of pain
of injustice
the lore of the big muddy

his eyes
earthy brown
turbulent as that river

his stare
a deep current
impossible to escape

swept away

his voice
a tempered edge

honed by blues
broadleaf husky
thick as sorghum
as beale street bourbon

the cf martin
from a leathered neck

on a tattered strap
stretched and shaped
by the heft of sorrow
poured into the soundhole

marked and scarred
by years of burden

of witness

its character and patina
bear testament
to a genuine soul

cracked and seasoned hands
with suffered care
to wrap the fingerboard
in love

callused digits
yellowed by habit
depress taut strands
no longer catgut

sculpting emotions

blood and bone

true life
in sitka spruce
and spiraled steel

knowing strains rise
chords of loss
rhythmic stomp
stinging verse

of broken promise
failed love

of dirt field
cruel street
back alley

of harsh wisdom

to fill this space

to break my heart
to steal my soul

swept away

• • •

rob kistner © 2007


photo rendering above entitled: “Knowing”
rendered by: rob kistner © 2007

• • •

To hear poem read by author, you can also click below:

70 thoughts on “Swept Away”

  1. Excellent! Very Well Done!

    I am celebrating my first anniversary having moved to the West Coast from Chicago last August 18th. So many things out here I love and cherish dearly but one thing I miss and will not find out here often is the soul of the Blues. I miss stopping at a dive after work and losing own impoverished self in the music of another who lives and works the same. I have had the joy of experiencing that with all my time spent down South in New Orleans as well and cherish those memories just the same.

    Thanks for this beautiful piece!

  2. Tag

    Thank you! You are most kind.

    …and you are welcome… 😉 I enjoyed creating this piece, especially the ‘spoken word’ production.

    My wife and I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for 18 years now, and we absolutely love it!

    However, in the decade of the 80’s, I had a satellite office in Chicago for my media-room/home-theater design company. The office was manned by an associate, but I visited the ‘windy city’ frequently.

    Greg used to take me to a number of marvelous blues joints, with the most soulful ambiance and real character. Those nights (into early mornings) were the greatest!

    There was wonderful jazz in chi-town as well! One jazz place I remember, whose name I can’t recall, was up north of the city just a bit, along the Lake Michigan shore, nestled among apartments. It was at the intersection of oddly divergent streets.

    The club was not big, and sort of pie shaped — with a low ceiling. You entered at the tip of the pie. Very intimate room with really great jazz. Ahh… memories!

  3. You are an authentic talent. Listening to this poem as you read it truly helped me appreciate its authenticity, it’s concreteness, the real feel of the blues.

    I read Swept Away initially and I enjoyed it. But your reading showed me your interpretation and deepened my understanding of your words.

    Loved it!



  4. Pingback: Swept Away
  5. It was fun to read the comments and here the background of the piece as well.

    What a lovely baritone voice! It gave a much deeper dimension to the poem. The rave reviews aren’t by mistake!

  6. Granny –

    First, think you for the kind words! Second — how absolutely rockin’ cool that you own two Martins!! 😉

  7. Rob, I just loved that! I read it first, and the description of his voice grabbed me particularly. Then, listening to your reading – you make a composition on another level entirely – the background music/sounds, your own voice! Marvellous!

  8. This poem got a chills rating of ten from me. It kind of shook me up a little bit. I love the Guitar references. Only guitar players would know what a CF Martin is. I love the blues, being from the south, I think you captured the hearbeat of dirty south pain with this. I liked it very much.

  9. Henry –

    glad you liked this man…

    I enjoy the bold honesty of your work…

    I have a 1958 Martin D-28 (Brazilian Rosewood) – pristine

    • thanks for stoppin’ by…


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