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So much so long: a bluegrass song

So much of us was made

So very long ago,

So much that comes to aid

And much that brings us woe.

No feeling has consoled

Or filled the heart with fear

That can’t be just as old

As our first fallen tear

Or lifted voice of praise—

We’ve brought so much so far:

Our old surviving ways

Still make us what we are.


Your family tree’s a leaf,

One leaf and hard to find

Upon that great motif,

The tree of humankind.

You say you’re only Maori

Or only Cree or Gaul?

I say you tell a story

Too short if not too tall.

There’s only so much shade

One family leaf can throw.

Our canopy was made

So very long ago.


Beauty, truth and wisdom,

They bring us nothing new

Laotze wouldn’t welcome,

The timeless overdue.

When Ovid told a tale

Or Homer sang a line

And knew us without fail

They now can seem divine,

But all their art portrayed

Is all we’ve come to show:

The heart was fully made

So very long ago.

We rotate and revolve,

We echo and we rhyme,

And mirror an old resolve

In our new place in time:

To gratify the best

And modulate the worst;

However far the quest

Will take us from the first,

Our debts are never paid,

We never cease to owe:

So much of us was made

So very long ago.


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