"When the Work's All Done" - Tony Morris


 
Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson
(1923-2012)
 

"When the Work’s All Done" - Tony Morris
            ~for Doc Watson
Nothing fit together like your fingers on the strings
all wrapped around a voice that rode the rails
of harmony just easy as you please,
high-lonesome tales of murdered mothers,
and midnight’s stormy deep where a solitary
watch you’d keep but there were always others,
like Katie making whiskey, or Johnny making lies
as Frankie shot the man she loved and went away
for life, and if the matter suited, you’d fly
away, dear Lord, on the prayers of sisters,
brothers shouting hallelujah to the skies,
said hallelujah to the skies, and mister,
let me tell you, if the red clay hills were redder
with the blood of miner’s lives, his dark-tongued
songs of coal-black death put a name to all that died, 
in the dreams of miner’s daughters, in the prayers
of miner’s wives, strife and sorrow ever after,
till that glad day, by and by, when they’ll fly away
and join them in that home way up on high,
or if the devil did his work too well and played
a trick or two, he’d fiddle on a tune so sly  
and well ol’ Satan’s hosts would swoon,
right through the night till morning running
up and down the neck as the blue  moon
of Kentucky rose and set down in the west,
on the banks of the Ohio, over good ol’ Rocky Top
where Shady Grove that pretty girl he’d ever love the best
stood at the door, bare feet on the floor, shoes and stockings
in her hands, and he knew right then he’d marry
that gal, give up his barlow knife, and then he’d dance
and tarry until the day he died, fiddle, and singtil the day he died, playing with their curly-haired
baby in that cabin on a hill, said he’d take a chance
with a wife and a son so at the ending of his days
when the work’s all done he’d go down in the valley
to pray, Lord, down in the valley to pray.
 
Tony Morris, from Savannah, is tonight's featured reader at Word of Mouth. Sign-up for open mic starts at 7 pm and readings begin at 8 pm upstairs at The Globe, corner of Clayton and Lumpkin Streets.

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