Thursday, May 5, 2022

Forever Words by Johnny Cash

Forever Words: The Unknown Poems by Johnny Cash

Forever Words: The Unknown Poems is a collection of Johnny Cash's poems and writings that was published posthumously in 2016. It's a remarkable look at Johnny Cash's artistry and writing process. One of my favorite things about the book is that selected lyrics and poems were presented in his own handwriting.

In his forward to the book, John Carter Cash describes his father's intellectual curiosity and love of reading and writing. Paul Muldoon's introduction describes the rationale behind publishing Johnny Cash's words after his death to "broaden and deepen our perception of Johnny Cash and his legacy." I've been thinking a lot about the quote Muldoon shared from T.S. Eliot's "Tradition and Individual Talent" that, "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone."

A few of my favorite poems in the volume include "Chinky Pink Hill" (which I discuss here), "Does Anybody Out There Love Me?," "If You Love Me," "My Song, " "I'll Still Love You," and "You Never Knew My Mind."

"Forever" had a profoundly beautiful closing:

The songs I sang
Will still be sung

Johnny Cash's poem "Don't Make a Movie About Me" gave me a laugh with its opening lines:

If anybody made a movie out of my life
I wouldn't like it, but I'd watch it twice

I wonder if Johnny Cash would have watched "Walk the Line" twice.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Forever Words. It's a great read for any fan of The Man in Black.

Purchase and read Forever Words and listen to the accompanying CD:

Forever Words: The Unknown Poems by Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music by Johnny Cash


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