“Here’s a little song about a river I grew up on. It’s not really there anymore, the part of the river I grew up on, for a lot of reasons.”
-Introduction from a live performance on 25 Jun 1987
By the sweet Sugar River,
I have measured my life.
Through the drought,
And the flood of the millrace.
Well it’s silted and it’s stinkin’,
And it ain’t fit for drinkin’,
But it gets where it’s goin’ anyway.
Yes, it gets where it’s goin’ anyway.
As a child with my father,
I’d thrown hook, line and sinker,
From a pole that he’d made me from an oak limb.
Then I’d watch and I’d wait,
‘Til some fish stole my bait.
Naked hooked and empty handed – I’d run to him.
On the North Bank one April,
I first spied my one true love,
In her bare skin just baskin’ in the sunshine.
So I jumped in that river,
Gave her all I could give her.
She gave me the thrill of my lifetime.
All the watershed wildlife,
Heard my deepest confessions,
When the bar room floor wildlife near killed me.
The white water sang praises,
Down the rocks’ ageless faces.
The timeless choir finally stilled me.
Then the chemical criminals,
Poisoned the sweetness.
The gamefish gone on with the kingfisher.
She was born to grow wilder,
But you spoiled and defiled her.
Now we’ve death where once was a sweet river.
“Sugar River” appears on Living and Dying in the Coffee Generation.
© and ℗ 1988 Marques Bovre