Had you simply appeared one morning in a clearing,
Battered suitcase in your hand,
Comb in your back pocket,
Singing like a god as you shoved your thumb into the ribs of the Tupelo wind,
We would have realized sooner what you really were:
An apparition that stayed longer than he needed to,
A walking miracle who rattled the Puritan soul of the nation like a
Convict endlessly running a metal thermos over the bars of his cell,
Or an Atlas lifting America over his head like a snow globe,
Shaking its wild desires from the middle earth of its landscape.
Your voice acquired a gentleness it was not predisposed to have,
And when it did there was no denying what you were for more than a decade:
The greatest singer of yours or any era,
An interstate freighter shaking its hips like an erupting volcano,
Leaving behind a body of work that will never be equaled.