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Kris Kristofferson Photographed by Jim McGuire, 1990

A friend of mine told me that poetry and poets died away in the second half of the 20th Century. I strongly disagree. While most popular songwriter opt for catchy lyrics with little to no significant meaning there are still a vast number of poets out there. From the song lyrics of Bonnie Prince Billy to Conor Oberst to Regina Spektor to Nick Cave to PJ Harvey to Sondre Lerche to Shelton Hank Williams III: Poetry is very much alive and well.

“For my money the lyrics of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen are right up there with the great poets of all time. The difference is that their words are set to music. However, deep down to the bones of my soul, I’ve always felt a connection to the words of Kris Kristofferson. It almost seems that every song this artist has written is a poetry that speaks to me and my feelings of the world. 

“Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic foods.
He believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes.
Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends.
Reckon they’d just nail him up if He come down again.

‘Cos everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Get back, John!

Egg Head’s cousin Red Neck’s cussin’ hippies for their hair.
Others laugh at straights who laugh at freaks who laugh at squares.
Some folks hate the whites who hate the blacks who hate the clan.
Most of us hate anything that we don’t understand.

‘Cos everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.
Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty, decent folks can frown on.
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.

Help yourself, brother. 
Help yourself, Gentlemen. 
Help yourself Reverend.”

Kris Kristofferson, 1974

I do believe that Kristofferson dedicated or thanked a fellow artist, John Prine, regarding this piece/song.

Kris Kristofferson, Jesus Was A Capricorn. Photograph by Jim Marshall, 1974

Kris Kristofferson
Photographed by Jim Marshall, 1975

 

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  1. February 4, 2013

    “THE POETRY OF KRIS KRISTOFFERSON | Matty Stanfield”
    honestly got me personally simply hooked on ur site! I reallywill certainly wind up being returning considerably
    more regularly. Thank you -Dani

    • Matty Stanfield #
      February 5, 2013

      Dani, Thanks! I do not do a very good job at posting frequently, but you made my day! Take care!

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