Get Your Premium Membership

A Poem For Sam Cooke

Listen to poem:
December 14, 1965 "Mr. Samuel Cooke. Sam Cooke?? You been in that casket for three days.. You a long way from Chicago, son?" And Sam said, "What happened Where am I?" "This is the Judgement room. In about ten minutes God himself Will walk right through that Door. And you Mr. Cooke better hope He gives you points for your Gospel years." And Sam tried to hold back his tears "A lot of Legends came through here Holiday, Smith, Jelly Roll Morton Fats Waller, ..... Charlie Parker Sat right there. I've seen a thousand caskets But the musical funerals are the hardest." The Angel said, "Johnny Ace died by the gun The Kid was just twenty-five. What is it with music, young people and dyin?" And Sam started cryin A second Angel paused, "I’ll never forget Buddy Holly. That kid was special- He could sure push a tune." An Angel rushed in "We gotta get Sam dressed God will be here soon." And Sam noticed a white piano Sitting right by the wall And for a moment he forgot it all. And he felt a torch in his soul And that Angel said, "Oh no in here we Can't LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL..” "That there Mr. Cooke is God’s Piano Last person to use it was Dinah Washington. And she didn't get shot in a hotel With her pants off. And the answer to yo next question Can you play God’s piano is "'umm No'" And Sam’s head dropped low." "Okay maybe for five minutes.. But play something clean slow. And Sam played NEARER TO THEE And it was as sad like a Eulogy It was sad like a eulogy. And Sam Cooke sat on that Piano Remembering The First Baptist church In Chicago Heights as his tears glittered under those lights. And he played like God was comin' IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT. Then an older Angel Walked up from behind "Can you play that Cupid song? I don’t think God would mind." And before he could say, “Cupid Draw back you bow.." Another Angel interrupted "You know we cant do that no more.." Before he could belt out "Please hear my cry.." Half of the angels were on the floor Then he stopped and couldn't Play no more. And they said, Whats wrong Sam? And Sam wanted to explain What happened on that final night. An Angel stopped him, "Sayin’ This is heaven Sam. It’s alright." And one Angel joked You was just a BAD BOY HAVIN' A PARTY." And then Sam asked "My son Vincent?? Unable to keep his sorrow in. They said, "Yeah he made it in." Down to his final two minutes Sam asked if he could sing TWISTIN' THE NIGHT AWAY. They could see in his eyes how Bad he wanted to play Umm God don’t like that song…. But perhaps we can Turn our heads away Sam punched that piano Like Ali punched Liston. He punched that Piano Just like Ali hit Liston And those Angels just listened. And he sang about a NEW YORK WAY And Sam’s final minutes Started to fade away They said, "You opened the door For Aretha You gave us Taylor and Womack. You got the whole world cryin, son ..But no one gets to go back." And they let Sam look down to earth Down to his funeral Below And he let the tears go He looked a hundred million miles Down to the earth To that little town in Mississippi Where he was given birth. And they took him back to 1950 When he was with the Souls stirrers Singing, HOW FAR AM I FROM CANAAN? And Sam hit that piano once again And he saw 200,000 People in Chicago crying. He saw Aretha holding back tears And they tried to ease his fears And they said, "Don't worry bout Papa Ray He got another thirty years." And Sam lowered his head Revealing his Chagrin.. And all those Angels jumped to attention When God walked in And Sam bowed at the floor And those Angels got so quiet You could have heard a feather Fall to the floor. And God said, "Sam Have a seat. I looked over your entire life. You were something as a kid In that church. But the end Sam Troubles me.." And Sam looked at God With sad refrain Wanting so badly to explain. "I watched you singing at the Copa And you moved my soul. I gave you everything, Sam. You were so much better than Cole. I liked the song you wrote About the River And the Little Tent." Sam became solemn As he tried to repent. "This is not how It was supposed to end, Sam." And God opened a book Turned it to page one Page five and then ten. "Man you got a lot of sins. Are you worthy to Enter In? Sam bowed to the feet of God Trying to make amends. When God show him the final page His hopes grew dim. God said, Get off your knees, Sam And touch thee my hem. The Angels Gave him his Blue Spiral notebook And welcomed him in. And God said, Sam It's not going to be that easy. Before I send you on I have a request One final test: Can you play that song BRING IT ON HOME? BRING IT ON HOME, Sam. Written By Michael Ellis

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

Post Comments

Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.

Please Login to post a comment

Date: 5/29/2021 11:52:00 AM
Michael, 'A Poem For Sam Cooke' one whose time was overdue. Another 'day the music died', now allowed one last bow. 'He looked a hundred million miles ~ Down to the earth'... "It's been too hard living ~ But I'm afraid to die ~ 'Cause I don't know what's up there ~ Beyond the sky ~~ It's been a long A long time coming ~ But I know a change gonna come ~ Oh, yes it will." -Sam Cooke
Login to Reply
Date: 5/21/2021 5:46:00 AM
This poem is such a special tribute to his memory. I loved his voice, his music and his talent as a song writer. Your poem is so impressive I am Faving it. It is brilliantly written Michael! His early death was such a loss. Thank you for sharing this epic poem. Blessings xxoo
Login to Reply
Date: 5/1/2021 11:41:00 PM
A disheartening disclosure, albeit, I enjoyed your audio for that was great entertainment--nicely done. I admired Sam's harmonious voice since my fledgling youth, and being as such--during my non-googling years--I knew very little of the man, nonetheless, this regrettable revelation will not deter my latter half from the love of his songs. I am blessed to have shared in your wondrous accomplishments, Michael, Aloha!
Login to Reply
Date: 5/1/2021 7:35:00 AM
This is not a poem -- its an epic!! Know of of Sam Cooke's songs of course -- who doesn't?! Knew he had a bit of a "bad-boy" reputation...did not realize it is actually far worse than what I had heard...or so it would seem. Will have to enlighten myself a little more about this fascinating individual. Cheers! :) john
Login to Reply