Caught by the River

I Like Beer

Will Burns | 1st September 2021

A poem by Will Burns.

‘I Like Beer’
(i.m Tom T. Hall)

is the apparent no-brainer drifting
in once again from the bar next door
where the music plays a little louder.
It doesn’t take news like today’s
for the landlord to insist
on whole days listening to the man
they called ‘The Storyteller’.
The old dogs in the sports bar nod
their agreement. Hum their respects.
Country music from another country—
three chords, truth with a capital ‘T’.
Tom Hall added a middle initial to stand out,
married a bluegrass singer
who was born in the West Midlands
and who’d followed her own pan-Atlantic Appalachian path,
wound up in Nashville
playing Canasta with Mother Maybelle
and answering the phone to Bob Dylan.
There was the Grand Ole Opry in 1971.
Country Music Hall of Fame 2008.
Most said too late.
Everyone in the bar has got their own tunes.
‘Homecoming’, ‘That’s How I Got to Memphis’, ‘Harper Valley (PTA)’.
And of course ‘We’re Lonely’.